How the COVID lockdown has affected our emotional, hormonal and weight issues
IFM Radio talk with Zulaikha and Sue 22 July 2010
We are all getting used to the new corona pandemic-orientated lifestyle, as the months go by under lockdown. Some of us are back at work – others have lost their loved ones, careers, businesses and incomes. It has been an emotional rollercoaster all round, but according to Sue, a new mindset called “coviditis” has developed.
Q: What do you mean by “coviditis”?
Coviditis is what we call an attitude that people have when they try to blame their shortcomings, especially not doing their normal duties on the covid situation. People are so used to not having their normal supplies or being unable to do things or go to certain places that a degree of laziness has crept in. The closure of gyms especially, becomes the excuse for not being fit and not burning enough calories. The temptation to shut down, watch more TV and eat more junk food is overwhelming. But covid is to blame, as is not working as hard because of justified as well as imagined reasons – all because of the pandemic. We don’t have hairderssers, beauty parlors and so on. So we can be scruffy – because of covid. We can shut out everybody and be rude – because of covid!
Q: Sitting around does tempt one to eat more. What can we do about the weight gain?
It has become too convenient to just sit at home with nothing to do and one gets used to it. Apathy sets in and one is less inclined to budge because it becomes too much effort. No more freedom of movement, especially in the earlier days when we had a more severe lockdown resulted in doing less exercise. The frustration and the boredom led to more eating and snacking – unfortunately for some of us. Others enjoyed having the free time to do more cooking and baking and the results speak for themselves. More cookies and cake and more and when one is bored and depressed, more people look for comfort food.
Q: You mentioned emotional problems. How do these affect our hormones?
Our emotions affect our hormones and also our immune system. When we feel angry, frustrated, anxious and depressed we release a lot of stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine. These hormones not only depress the immune system, they make us store fat as a result of stimulating our flight or fight response. They raise our blood sugar level, for instance to help us flee from the perceived threat but we don’t run away. We sit and fret and fume. Eating sweet food for comfort means we disable the immune system. Sugar usurps our vitamin C receptors. Depression and anxiety make us seek out the sweet stuff for comfort and once you start eating sweet food, the release of insulin – another hormone, is increased. Over time the excess insulin causes a drop in blood sugar and leads to shakiness and hypoglycaemia. Another excuse to load up on sugar – unfortunately. When we fail to burn all this fuel, it leads to chronic weight gain. Lockdown obesity is a big problem!
Q: Do calorie restricted diets help or hinder weight loss?
When your food is your comfort, restricting it causes further stress, more emphasis on deprivation and a greater obsession for trying to cheat on not only covid restrictions, but your food intake. The eat as much as you like diet is not the answer either, unless you exercise a lot and burn up all the calories. Eating the wrong food causes more inflammation and that in turn, makes one swell up and feel bloated.
Q: What is the most sensible diet to follow?
It is best to start with a selection of what I call safe zone food that really suits you, as an individual. That means eating for your blood type. Any diet is fine, but leave out the items that do not suit your blood type because regardless of the amount of kilojoules, the contain antigens that disrupt your digestion and can cause inflammation. Inflammation causes chronic weight gain, regardless of the portion size or the amount of exercise you do. It is not fair, to see somebody thrive on brown bread and stay slim when it makes you feel fat and sluggish. We provide free blood type lists and slimming information on our website. Use the SEARCH box at www.naturefresh.co.za and take advantage of years and years of well researched material.
Q: If weight gain is caused by hormonal problems, especially thyroid imbalances that slow down metabolism or PCOS that cause insulin resistance – do we need to first address the hormones?
Yes, otherwise all your hard word and discipline will be of no benefit. Once you stop the diet, you will revert – especially if you do not stick to the blood type diet. If you keep eating the food that inhibits your thyroid function, the metabolism will not speed up. For some blood types, eating a lot of cabbage every day blocks iodine because for them, it is goitrogenic. But not for everybody. Eating too much beef and potatoes makes blood type A feel sluggish. There are good supplements on the market to assist thyroid function and there are plenty of fat burners. Best of all is Coleus Forskholii, as recommended by Doctor Oz as it helps the thyroid and speeds up the metabolism. There are many product on the market, so look out for ones that best suit your needs.
Q: If unhappiness is the cause of our weight issues, what can we do?
Feeling sad and heavy and depressed is no joke and one may feel trapped inside a huge, dysfunctional body. It is not easy to overcome such inertia. Where help is needed, one can choose from the many Bach flower remedies that deal specifically with all kinds of mental issues. From feeling tired, anxious or unmotivated to being angry or suffering from a locked in feeling – they can help you. They are available from health shops or online. Homeopathy also has many of these remedies to help you over the gap. But if you have the desire, the motivation can come from asking for help – even a family member who can accompany you and offer support.
Resources for help with emotional / anxiety problems. Online support groups and counselling:
Help with gluten free and blood type related weight issues:
http://naturefresh.co.za/blood-type-lists/ for free blood type lists
http://naturefresh.co.za/category/blood-group-diet/ blood type guidelines and articles
http://naturefresh.co.za/gluten-blood-type/ how gluten affects your blood type
http://naturefresh.co.za/gluten-free-challenge/ go gluten free for 1 month – try it under lockdown!
http://naturefresh.co.za/products/nf-045-megaslim-50-capsules/ Megaslim (correcting hormones)
Help with hormonal issues: PMS, menopause (male and female), PCOS, testosterone, etc
http://naturefresh.co.za/female-hormones/ female hormone problems
http://naturefresh.co.za/google-cse/?q=hormones list of articles for more help
http://naturefresh.co.za/hormone-supplements/ hormone balancing tinctures for PMS and menopause
http://naturefresh.co.za/male-menopause-andropause/ male menopause
http://naturefresh.co.za/megamax-full-research/ testosterone imbalances in men and women