Consider your snacking habits during COVID-19By Veita Bland, M.D. / July 10, 2020
As we all struggle to get used to dealing with the effects of COVID-19, we are reminded that some of the things that we do to “Stay Safe” are not just for ourselves but they are also for the people who share our workplace, homes and for casual acquaintances whose path we may cross just once in this lifetime. A one time meeting with warm greetings and wonderful conversation can, in some cases, result in a lifespan shortened or changed by COVID-19.
Many may acquire the virus and have no idea there is a problem. While others who are young and thought to be healthy may acquire the virus and become very ill and even dying. What is very evident is that we are now seeing the average age of people hospitalized with this illness fall. It is now in the 30’s.
It seems that the older individuals, the ones most vulnerable are staying home, practicing social distancing and keeping young people away. Older individuals and people who know their health profiles make them susceptible to contracting COVID-19 have heard the call and have heeded it. However, younger people have not.
As I have said before, this virus does not play by the rules. We are seeing young people, seemingly healthy, contract COVID-19 and develop severe lung injury. The exact sequela of this COVID-19 in these patients will be years in the making as their health will be affected for quite some time.
So, I am more than encouraged to see that North Carolinians have been mandated to wear masks in public. Remember, wearing a mask is not a political statement but rather a statement of respect for yourself and others.
Another problem that I am seeing and I warned about earlier is weight gain. I am observing COVID 5 to 15 pounds in patients. Certainly, we understand that when you are stuck at home working, keeping kids and not able to go out as one would like, snacking becomes a regular occurrence and a treat. It helps one get through the day and calms the anxiety about the future.
I have observed that health conditions often attributed to weight gain, such as hypertension and diabetes, also make you more susceptible to COVID-19.
Patients should reconsider the types of snacks they consume. It is important to eat more fruits and drink low calorie drinks. Please consider increasing your exercise to compensate for the snack consumption, but remember, you cannot out exercise a bad diet. Consider meditation, talking to friends, playing games to deal with the anxiety of it all and decreasing the snacks.
This time of stress and staying home will hopefully end in the next year or so but the damage to your body from weight gain may still be there haunting you. Take care of yourself. Admit and deal with the stress. Get adequate sleep. Eat a healthy diet and decrease the carbohydrates. They are your real enemy.
Wear your mask proudly. Dress them up to show some personality. As the words to the song say, “Respect yourself”.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.