Right now your health is probably very high on your list of priorities.
And this makes sense. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to have serious complications from a coronavirus infection. (see below)
While patients who reported no comorbid conditions had a case fatality rate of 0.9%, patients with comorbid conditions had much higher rates—10.5% for those with cardiovascular disease, 7.3% for diabetes, 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease, 6.0% for hypertension, and 5.6% for cancer. Case fatality rate was also very high for cases categorized as critical at 49.0%.— China CDC Weekly http://weekly.chinacdc.cn/en/article/id/e53946e2-c6c4-41e9-9a9b-fea8db1a8f51
These findings may really, really motivate you to improve your health and even to lose some weight.
But is it safe to lose weight?
Is it safe to change your diet?
The answer is, “it depends”.
It depends on how you are doing it.
Healthy weight loss is just fine.
An easy way to think about what constitutes unhealthy weight loss is to keep in mind that anything that increases inflammation or stress on your body is probably best avoided right now.
The best approach is a balanced, sustainable, nutrient-rich diet that does not make you nervous.
What does that mean exactly?
How do you continue to lose weight eating this way?
Below are 4 major tips for losing weight and boosting health in a safe way.
#1: Eat mostly whole foods
One of the benefits of “lockdown” is that most people are eating out and doing take-out a lot less.
This is a good thing!
All of my private clients are currently losing weight more easily right now. Partially because they are not eating out.
The food we make from home, from scratch, and from whole-food ingredients is the healthiest food we can eat.
If you can avoid all processed foods, or at least mostly eat whole foods, you will be way ahead of the game. Your body will create and utilize energy more efficiently and therefore, weight loss will happen more naturally, with less effort. And it will be totally safe!
#2 Focus on “adding” rather than taking away
Part of eating in a “healthy” way is for the “diet” to NOT stress your body.
It’s one thing to do a super strict, extreme diet in normal times (not that I approve of that) but it is another ball game if you are also trying to maintain healthy immune function and avoid an infection.
It has been shown pretty clearly that stress reduces immune function. (1,2)
If you are stressing your body by extreme limitations such as a very low-calorie diet or avoiding a bunch of food groups, you may be compromising your immune function.
So go easy on yourself. Think about adding in nutrient-dense foods like high-quality meat, fish, and eggs, tons of veggies, and moderate amounts of fruit, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
You can also add a bunch of SIRT foods to your repertoire in order to increase anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Plus they help you burn fat and build muscle!! Click here to read more about SIRT Foods.
Focus on eating the nutritious, whole-food foods first. If after that you need a little treat, go for it.
These are stressful times. You don’t need to add to the mix by beating yourself up for not eating perfectly.
Just avoid extreme dieting, please!
If you want to read more about how to balance out fear with love and to reduce your stress, read this blog post.
#3 Move your body!
Most people have more free time now.
If that’s you, take advantage of it and keep moving.
If possible, take 2 walks a day; one in the morning (this helps with sleep too) and one in the evening.
On top of that, check out some online videos for exercise, dancing, yoga, and the like.
It’s okay to slow down and take some time to care of YOU. This is your chance!
#4 Practice being present
During these times, we all feel the stress!
This is THE time to start a meditation practice, to pray more, to slow down, to smell the roses, and to really just appreciate all that you DO have.
Believe it or not, but this will help you lose weight AND boost your immune function. (1,2)
I do recommend also going on a “news diet”, which means consuming news in a very limited and strategic way, just like you do with a regular diet.
There is no need to obsess about the news. All it does is make us feel helpless.
If you need to get the facts, get them quickly and be done. The more time you spend reading things that make you feel angry, resentful, and fearful, the worse you’ll feel.
Rather spend your time walking, hanging out with friends and family (virtually if need be), being creative, cleaning your house, and just sitting around doing nothing.
The truest path to health is not paved with fad or extreme diets or working out like crazy and running around all day.
The truest path to health IS paved with self-love, self-care, movement, good sleep, and nourishing foods that are appealing and delicious. This is in some ways easier to do now that we are home. Take advantage of it and give your health a big boost!
- Stress Weakens the Immune System, American Psychological Association
- Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry