Coronavirus Chronicles — There’s Nothing to Do!

When regular schedules are not followed and customary activities are put aside, it’s a lot like traveling or being on vacation. Somehow, we fool ourselves into believing that the normal rules do not apply. In the realm of internal rationalization, many people are able to tell themselves half-joking lies, for instance, that road food and vacation meals don’t really contain calories like regular food, eaten sitting down at home.

For IndiaToday.in, journalist Ridhi Kale interviewed personal trainer Aashu Kumar Jaivir, who reminds us that part of the problem with working at home, including going to school at home, is that the mind slips into vacation mode.

But adaptability is the primary human survival trait, and that is very true here. Most people do not have “normal” lives these days, and the sooner we adapt to that unfortunate reality, the better off we are. More importantly, the better off our kids are.

Two things to try

Jaivir names two very basic fixes: get up in the morning, and drink a lot of water. Sleep is necessary and wonderful, but there is such a thing as too much of it. It is, conversely, difficult to take in too much water. Most people don’t drink enough. Being stuck at home with a convenient restroom is an ideal circumstance for optimal hydration. People who never really gave it a lot of thought can experiment with drinking a sufficient amount of water, discover the benefits, and maybe even let the hydration habit continue, if life ever returns to what we fondly think of as normal.

In the exercise department, Jaivir recommends short, intense workouts:

His advice: perform 20 minutes of plyometrics (jumps) and calisthenics (resistance training with your own body weight) every day.

Another medical professional, Dr. Sameer Kalani, points out that serotonin levels in the body are imbalanced by depression and anxiety. Next thing you know, you’re fat. Obviously, anything that can reduce anxiety and depression is helpful.

Stop right there, reader! Don’t let that sentence just slide on by!

We all know that word “anything” turns the whole proposition into a lie. Millions of people turn to food as a cure for depression. Millions of people convince themselves that their anxiety will be alleviated by a nice bowl of Day-Glo orange-coated macaroni and a pint of ice cream. But the relief lasts only as long as it takes to eat the stuff. Dr. Kalani points out a related and very insidious phenomenon:

During the lockdown, everyone’s focus has shifted to the kitchen, to create delicious grub after watching video after video of tempting foods being prepared.

Because of the all-pervasive effects of the pandemic, far too many people find themselves with extra time on their hands. The impulse to explore new areas of knowledge and learn new skills is very admirable. But maybe it should not be kitchen-related. Lots of people are getting into cooking, and not the most optimal kind. This is not the time to create the ultimate chocolate cheesecake. If only more interest could be pushed in the direction of preparing veggies.

Better yet, pull that old acoustic guitar out of the closet and watch some basic instruction videos instead. Learning to play a musical instrument can occupy the mind, satisfy the soul, and most of all, keep the hands busy. So can needlepoint and cross-stitch.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and maybe even teaching a child how to play poker is better than letting him stew in boredom. Childhood Obesity News has published several posts with suggestions for time-consuming activities. If ever there was a time to encourage a child’s slightest interest in anything besides food, it is now.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The lockdown fab to flab phenomenon,” IndiaToday.in, 08/23/20
Image by star5212/CC BY-SA 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:

Presentations

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources