Posted on 08 Apr 2020 Views 3717 Comments 55
#Coronavirus – the most commonly talked about subject in our daily conversations and in the media. It’s affected all of our lives in different ways – whether you’re a keyworker and continuing to faithfully serve the community, self-isolating due to illness or being vulnerable, or working from home while homeschooling your kids.
We are all trying to do our best not to catch the virus or to pass it on to our friends, family and neighbours. But what role does your food intake play in this? You may, like several of our customers, have been asking yourself if you should continue on your Slim & Save programme during this time. This article aims to provide you with some science into how viruses and immunity work and provide you with the reassurance you need, along with some tips to help during the lockdown.
To answer this question, it’s important to understand a little about the science of viruses. We’ll use the example of the common cold (a rhinovirus). When the cold virus enters our body, it travels to the lining of the nose and binds to the outside of the nose’s cells. Once attached to these cells, the virus injects its genetic instructions into your cells starting off a process of replication, where new viruses are created and released to go and attack other cells. Because you are exposed to the cold virus several times a year, you have built up some degree of immunity - your body’s ‘antibodies’ quickly recognise the presence of the virus (because it has ‘seen’ this virus before) and your body starts ‘attacking’ the virus. Your immune system quickly kicks into action, and you get better quickly.
However, COVID-19 (a Coronavirus) is a brand new form of virus. This means it is the first time your body will have ‘seen’ the virus. You have no ‘pre-existing’ defences (or antibodies), so your body doesn’t immediately recognise it as a dangerous intruder. A good analogy is to think about your body like an old medieval walled town. Coronavirus is an attacker in disguise, so the guards keep the gates open because they don’t see anything as suspicious and do not immediately recognise the danger.
With this in mind, whilst immunity is a great thing when it comes to fighting viruses we are exposed to regularly, like the common cold and seasonal flu, even the best natural immunity is not going to help you if Coronavirus enters your body.
This means that there should be NO CONCERNS about you continuing with your Slim & Save plan during this unsettling time. Following your plan will not reduce your immunity or increase your chance of catching it. Also, don’t forget that your Slim & Save programme provides you with all the vitamins and minerals your body requires to continue working well and fight off usual infections.
In fact, staying on plan could potentially have other benefits you may not have considered…
Losing weight may actually increase your natural immunity – whilst this won’t impact your risk of catching the Coronavirus (as we’ve already discussed), continuing to lose weight may reduce your chances of catching other illnesses in the future, like those caused by the common cold.
Coming off-plan and going back to ‘normal eating’ during this current lockdown is likely to increase your calorie intake substantially and cause you to gain weight quickly. Most of us tend to find we gain weight during the holidays or when we are home for prolonged periods of time. During the lockdown, you may find there are more snacks around than usual (after all the kids are always asking for snacks!) or that every day is a weekend and find yourself having a few glasses of wine on a weekday. Or, you may find that you start comfort eating due to being anxious about the current state of affairs – not to mention the government’s restrictions on getting out and about and keeping up your step count. Staying on plan essentially forces you to stick to your routine and keep losing weight.
Stick to your usual routine/schedule – it’s really important to stay in as similar a routine as possible during this time - try to get up and go to bed at similar times, and eat your meals/products at a similar time. Keep up your exercise routine – while the current lockdown restraints may mean we can only go out for exercise once a day, and you may be doing a lot less ‘moving around’ whilst you’re staying at home. Keep motivated and connected – make use of technology to keep in touch with friends and family and help keep you motivated and supported. Make use of Slim & Save’s Facebook page and support avenues to help keep you on track.
We hear it every-day and may take it for granted, but, as a nation, we will beat the Coronavirus. It will pass, and life will get back to normal. You will be grateful you stayed on plan!
Written by Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDip, Slim & Save Dietitian.
Are you staying on plan whilst on lockdown? How are you keeping yourself motivated and out of the treat cupboard? Leave your comments below to be in with a chance to win a £50 of Slim & Save Points to spend in our store. Winning comment will be chosen on Tuesday 14th of April at 4 pm.
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Based on the Slim & Save customers who are using the Weight Tracker Application. (Data auto-updated at 5am each day).