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Working off the Covid-19 (pounds)
June 19, 2020

Working off the Covid-19 (pounds)

Charlotte Hodges, MD

During this pandemic and the stay-at-home orders, it's common to have gained a few pounds. Dr. Charlotte Hodges, a bariatric surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery in Plano, offers these tips for those wanting to lose a few pounds.

- Create routines that are helpful.  Keep your routine-get up, shower, get dressed-regular grooming. Don’t stay in your jammies all day. The stay-at-home orders have disrupted daily routines and habits.  So, it’s time to create some routines that are healthy.  If you tend to graze before dinner, for example, take a walk instead.  Also, watching television with all the food commercials can make you hungry.  Turn off the TV and read a book.

- Manage your stress and develop skills to deal with emotional hunger.  We often over eat when we are under stress and food can be a comfort.  Listen to what your body is telling you and pay attention to hunger and fullness levels.  Practice mindful eating – a technique using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.  This involves eating slowly and without distraction as well as engaging your senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, etc.

- Exercise.  Exercising first thing in the morning has many benefits and can help you lose weight.  By exercising in the morning, you will have fewer distractions, more energy and will be more alert.  Also, exercise helps to regulate appetite by reducing ghrelin, the hunger hormone.

- Limit social media.  Studies suggest that spending a large amount of time on social media is linked with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.   Try and spend more time with friends in person (if you can) and focus on the things that make you grateful and happy.

- Take a break. Take a 10 minute break every 45 minutes if you’re on a computer.

- Keep a food log.  This will help prevent you from mindlessly eating.