Obesity during COVID-19:
Obesity could make the coronavirus infection more severe among the individuals, a new study in the medical journal The Lancet says. “[I]n populations with a high prevalence of obesity, coronavirus would affect younger populations more than previously reported,” it stated. Common comorbidities--conditions which increases the risk in patients with coronavirus--have been hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes but as the pandemic hit the United States in late March 2020, Johns Hopkins Hospital started admitting younger patients to the intensive care units or ICUs, many of whom were also obese.
Obesity impairs the immune responses to viral infections such as the coronavirus and encourages other comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes, and adversely affects cardiovascular function and your chances of catching coronavirus increases. The study even suggested that public messaging needs to reach the younger adults, the severity of coronavirus symptoms required for coronavirus testing should be reduced for obese individuals, and the at-risk obese population should be put under greater vigilance to reduce the spread of the coronavirus infection. Hence, weight gain during lockdown due to the coronavirus, is not a healthy sign.
The goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight and give a solution to the question, how to lose weight. This improvises your overall health condition and lowers your risk of developing complications that are related to obesity. You may need to work with a team of health professionals, including a dietitian, a behavioural counsellor or an obesity specialist, so that they can help you understand better and make changes in your eating and in your activity habits.
The initial treatment goal is usually a modest weight loss of 5% to 10% of your total weight. That means that if you weigh 200 pounds or 91 kg approximately, and have obesity by BMI standards, you would need to lose only about 10 to 20 pounds which is 4.5 to 9 kg for your health to begin to improve. However, the more weight you lose, the greater would be the benefits.
All weight-loss programs require changes in your eating habits and increase in physical activity. The treatment methods that are appropriate for you depend on your obesity severity, your overall health and your willingness to participate in the weight-loss plan.
Many people are worried about weight gain during lockdown due to coronavirus and are looking for ways on how to lose weight. You become more prone to catching the coronavirus if you are obese, because the higher the weight, the less powerful would be your immunity. Below are some tips and ways on how to lose weight.
1. Dietary changes:
Practicing healthier eating habits and reducing calories are necessary to overcoming obesity. Although you may lose weight quickly at the beginning, steady weight loss over the long term is considered the safest way to lose weight and certainly the best way to keep it off permanently. Avoid unrealistic and drastic diet changes, such as crash diets, because they're unlikely to help you keep excess weight off for the long term and help you avoid weight gain during lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Decide to participate in a weight-loss program for at least six months and in the maintenance phase of a program for at least one year to boost your odds of weight-loss success.
There is no single best weight-loss diet. Choose one which includes healthy foods which you feel would work for you. Some dietary changes to treat obesity include:
- Making healthier choices: To make your overall diet healthier and beneficial to you, eat more plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain carbohydrates. Also emphasize lean sources of protein like beans, lentils, soy and lean meats. If you like fish, try to include fish at least twice a week. Limit added sugar and salt. Eat small amounts of fats, and make sure that they come from heart-healthy sources, such as canola, olive, and nut oils.
- Cutting down calories: The key to weight loss is reducing your calories in-take. Your step should be to review your typical eating and drinking habits to see how many calories you generally consume and where you can cut off. You and your doctor can together decide how many calories you need to take in one day to lose your weight, but a suggested amount is 1,200 to 1,500 calories for women and 1,500 to 1,800 for men.
- Meal replacements: These plans suggest that you should replace one or two meals with their products, such as low-calorie shakes or meal bars, and eat healthy snacks and a healthy, balanced third meal which is low in fat and low in calories as well. In the short run, this type of diet could help you lose weight. Keep in mind that these diets are not likely to teach you how to change your overall lifestyle, so you may have to keep this up if you want to keep your weight low.
- Restricting certain foods: Certain diets limit the number of a particular food group, such as high-carbohydrate or full-fat foods. Consult your doctor which diet plans have been found effective and which might be beneficial for you. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is a sure way to consume more calories than you intended, and limiting these drinks or even eliminating them altogether is a good place to start cutting off calories.
2. Exercise and activity:
Increased physical activity or exercise is a necessary part in the treatment of obesity and losing weight. People who are mostly able to maintain their weight loss for more than one year get regular exercise, even if it simply walking.
To boost your activity level:
- Go out and exercise: People with obesity need to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity to prevent further increase in the weight or to maintain the loss of a modest amount of weight. To attain more significant weight loss, you may need to exercise for 300 minutes or even more a week. You probably would need to gradually increase the time you devote towards exercising as your endurance and fitness improves. Exercising would even keep you safe from catching coronavirus.
- Keep moving and keep going: Although regular aerobic exercise is the most efficient and an effective way to burn calories, shed excess weight and maintain your fitness, any extra movement helps burn down your calories. Making simple and small changes throughout your day can add up to bigger benefits. Park your car farther from store entrances, rev up your household chores, do gardening, get up and move around periodically, and wear a pedometer to track the number of steps that you take in a day. A nice recommended goal is to try to reach 10,000 steps every single day. Gradually increase the number of steps you take to reach that goal.
3. Behaviour changes:
A behaviour modification program could even help you make certain lifestyle changes and lose weight and keep it off. The steps that you are supposed to take involve examining your current habits to find out what factors, stresses, situations or problems may have contributed to your obesity and increase in weight. Everyone is different and they have different obstacles to managing weight, such as a lack of time to exercise or even things like late-night eating. Tailor your behaviour changes accordingly to lose your weight.
4. Prescription weight-loss medication:
Losing weight requires regular exercise and a healthy diet. But in certain situations, and circumstances, prescribed medicines for weight-loss medication might help.
Keep in mind, though, that weight-loss medication is meant to be used along with a healthy diet, exercise and behaviour changes, and strictly not without them. The main purpose of weight-loss medicines, even known as anti-obesity medications, is to assist you to stick to a low-calorie diet by stopping the hunger and lack of fullness signals that appear while you are trying to lose weight.
Your doctor or dietician may recommend you weight-loss medications if other diet and exercise programs haven't worked on you and you meet one of these criteria:
- Your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or greater than that
- Your Body Mass Index is greater than 27, and you also have medical complications of obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or sleep apnoea
Before selecting a medication for you, your doctor would consider your health history, as well as the possible side effects of the medication. Certain weight-loss medications are not permitted to be used by women who are pregnant or by people who take certain medications or have any chronic health conditions.
Some of the anti-obesity medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include:
- Phentermine and topiramate (Qsymia)
- Orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
- Liraglutide (Saxenda, Victoza)
- Bupropion and naltrexone (Contrave)
You would need close medical monitoring while taking a prescription of weight-loss medication. Also, remember that a weight-loss medication might not work for everyone, and the effects may wane over time. When you stop taking a weight-loss medication, you might regain much or all of the weight that you already lost.