The COVID-19 Shuffle: Eat, Drink, Move!

Woman stretching outdoors.

Being stuck in your house without a normal schedule or daily structure can throw off healthy habits. Staying on track will help your mood, energy level, and resilience to the COVID-19 virus. During July support group with the MUSC Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program, our Bariatric Nurse Coordinator, Beth Fogle, discussed this topic with pre and post op patients. Below are the common themes that were highlighted:

Eat

  • Take stock of what is in your refrigerator, freezer, cupboard, and pantry.
    • If you don’t see many lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts, put them on a shopping list
    • If you see a lot of chips, cookies, and other foods we might deem as “junk food”, eliminate them by giving them away to family/friends or donate them to shelters
    • TIP: Ultra-processed foods may lead to cravings and typically are an empty source of calories
  • With extra time on your hands, invest this time into meal planning.
    • Use the internet to discover new recipes
    • Involve your kids in healthy meal planning and preparation
    • Schedule meals and snacks – this will help to prevent grazing
  • Practice portion control.
    • Measuring portion sizes can help to ensure you aren’t overeating
  • Understand that stress causes levels of cortisol, a hormone that can stimulate appetite, to rise.
    • Keep healthy snacking options around
  • Practice mindful eating techniques and recognize your fullness cues.
    • Eat at the dinner table rather than in front of a TV
    • Slow down when eating and enjoy your food

Drink

  • Adequate water intake promotes a healthy metabolism to burn fat and improve insulin sensitivity as well as decreases hunger and food consumption.
    • Drink at least 64 ounces of fluid daily
    • Drink sugar-free beverages
  • Carry a water bottle with you so you can sip wherever you go.
    • Remind yourself to drink even if you don’t feel thirsty
    • Set a timer on your phone
  • Track how much you drink, especially if you think you may not be drinking 64 ounces.
  • Avoid alcohol as this can lead to dehydration.
  • Common signs of dehydration:
    • Feeling thirsty
    • Dark, concentrated urine
    • Headaches or rapid heart rate
    • Feeling nauseous or dizzy
    • Feeling tired or irritable

Move

  • By staying active, your mind is not idle, so there’s less opportunity for boredom and it reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and mindless eating.
    • Don’t overthink exercise
    • Try something new, like Yoga or Meditation
  • If working from home, make sure you get out of your chair or sofa at least once an hour.
  • Walk your dog or play with your kids/grandkids.
  • Go virtual with your exercise routine.
    • Check with your local gym for virtual routines that can be performed at home
    • Check out YouTube exercise videos
    • Stream workouts online
  • Clean your house! This can help you to burn energy and keep your mind busy.
  • Take control of your sleep habits.
    • Poor sleep habits can have a negative impact on food habits, disrupts the hormones that control feelings of hunger and satiety, and reduces motivation for physical activity
    • There are apps to help with this, such as “Sleep Cycle”

In short, taking control of your eating, drinking and moving habits not only aids with your physical health, but it will also help to improve your emotional and mental health. Staying healthy physically and mentally can also boost your immunity, which is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep shuffling and stay healthy!

About Author: Beth Fogle, MHA, RN, CBN

Beth has been a nurse for over 30 years. Beth’s experiences range from ER, OR, Clinical Sourcing, Bariatric Program Manager, Legal Nurse Consultant and Bariatric Nurse Coordinator, which is her current role with the MUSC Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program.