Never was there a better reason to become healthy. Why people should eat a healthy diet is obvious, but the message is a little tired, particularly when there are pills to fix the symptoms of many lifestyle-related conditions. Covid 19 adds a more compelling reason to becoming healthy.
A growing body of evidence has identified obesity as a risk factor for more severe COVID-19 illness and death. The public health message is “Stay home, stay safe, and get vaccinated”. Instead, we should say “Stay home, stay safe, get vaccinated, and become healthy”.
During the lockdown, 35% of Australians have gained weight and 21% are drinking more alcohol than they once did. * Prior to Covid, 60% of men and 66% of women already had a waist circumference that indicated a high risk of metabolic complications.
Dr Georgia Rigas, Chair of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Specific Interests Obesity Manager, says there is a growing body to evidence to suggest that people who are obese who acquire COVID 19: –
- Exhibit greater viral shedding
- Are at increased risk of requiring hospital admission over the age of 60
- Have worse health outcomes, i.e., increased morbidity (requiring assisted ventilation, etc) and increased mortality.
In addition, people with the highest body mass index (BMI) are more often seen in critical cases and non-survivors.
How to become healthy
Becoming healthy takes some effort and practice but the rewards are tenfold and while it may be easy to focus on one thing, and for example “to quit sugar” for overall improved physical and mental health, you need to address the big picture.
The Lighten Up Program is helpful because it introduces you week by week to healthy eating challenges which, when combined, provide the blueprint to healthy eating, while you lose weight.
Lighten Up also equips you with the tools you need to stay on track through the highs and lows of day-to-day life. Ultimately you are being steered towards achieving the checklist below, without having to think too much about it.
BECOMING HEALTHY CHECKLIST
• Eat more vegetables
• Reduce your intake of sugar and cut out ALL soft drinks, even diet soft drinks.
• Shut the kitchen in between meals (for everything other than water) and don’t snack.
• Limit your consumption of caffeinated drinks to a maximum of 2 drinks a day.
• Swap white grains for whole grains.
• Include protein such as low-fat dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, lean red meat with most meals & keep your portion sizes from 150g to 200g.
• Include small amounts of good fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds with each meal.
• Introduce legumes and pulses to your weekly diet.
• Aim to have 4 – 5 alcohol-free nights a week and on the nights you do drink alcohol, restrict your intake to < 400 ml wine or 4 standard drinks.
• Clock 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week and include 2 – 3 weight-bearing exercises into the mix.
• Try to get a good night’s sleep by waking early and going to bed by 10.00 pm.
• Switch off electronic stimuli such as social media 1 – 2 hours before going to bed.
• Practise some form of stress-relieving techniques to manage stress and anxiety.
• Remind yourself daily why you want to become healthy.
The list is not exhaustive but it’s a very good start and if you can achieve it most of the time you are well on the way to becoming healthy.
Good health is good insurance against the effects of Covid and I invite you to protect yourself. Click on the link below for more information or contact Judy directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries. Discounts are available with group participation.