We’ve all heard that the worst fear is fear itself, especially with COVID-19, it’s the fear of the unknown. This is made worse as we try to keep up to date with changing guidelines.
Wear masks. Don’t wear masks. Now wearing masks is mandatory in Melbourne.
We’ve named this blog post The COVID Seatbelt Plan to give you and your family an extra layer of protection – just like a seatbelt does.
Protection has 2 sides: 1. Infection Control and 2. Health Defence
Strategy 1: Infection Control
We should all be doing ALL the things recommended by authorities to avoid getting infected and infecting others.
Infection control includes:
- Self-isolating if you have any symptoms, or come into contact with anyone who has any symptoms. Call your doctor or local hospital.
- Hand-washing frequently when you are out and about, or in the workplace. Did you know that hand washing is superior to gels as hand-washing washes the virus off your hands. Use soap and water and do it for as long as it takes to sing ‘happy birthday’. But where you can’t wash your hands, use a hand sanitiser gel. Keep some hand gel in the car.
- Face-covering (as advised) when outside the home and specifically if you are in any area where transmission is possible (eg inside enclosed places, public transport, lifts etc) is something to consider. The Victorian government has now mandated face covering in the metropolitan and high-risk areas. This is despite the fact that the federal dept of health saying it is not generally recommended (as at 21 July 2020) https://www.health.gov.au/news/should-i-wear-a-face-mask-in-public In France, face masks are now compulsory in all enclosed public spaces, including shops where previously owners were able to decide themselves whether customers should wear coverings or not. Although there’s been ongoing debate about the protection masks offer the wearer, (eg giving a false sense of security, or poor fitting) there’s no doubt that wearing a face covering offers increased protection to everyone around you. It may be possible that one can have the virus, be infectious and not know it. We need to change our outlook on face-covering and think “Thank you for protecting me.” to everyone who covers their face. Until and unless it is mandated by law we respect each person’s decision on mask wearing. Want to make a mask? Click HERE.
- Face-touching is a habit many of us have. Try to be self-aware of this habit whether you are wearing a mask or not. Digital watches are now adding alerts to warn you. If you wear a mask, wash your hands before touching or adjusting a mask.
- Social distancing. Avoid handshakes, hugs and kisses. Think a thumbs up, wave, smile, elbow-bump or toe tap. We offer our weight loss coaching via Zoom as a choice. We’re more likely to let our COVID guard down around those we love most, our family and friends. Read more HERE.
- Avoid unnecessary travel. Stay in contact with local health advice on travel.
- Properly protect and isolate the elderly, but in smart ways that maintain some connection with their families.
The available COVID-19 mortality statistics tell us who is at greatest risk by age and sex (two things we can do nothing about). Males aged between 70 to 89 make up the majority of the COVID-19 deaths (122 in Australia at 20th July). The next biggest risk factor is whether you have a co-morbidity (health risk) and that’s where Strategy 2 can help.
Strategy 2: Health Defence – The COVID Seatbelt Plan
This means doing the things that make you less vulnerable (more resilient) should you get infected.
It’s like wearing a seatbelt – these strategies don’t stop you having an accident, but make it less likely that you and your family will suffer or be hurt in an accident. These days, you are crazy not to wear a seatbelt.
Co-morbidities (pre-diabetes, diabetes, high-blood pressure, heart disease etc) seem to increase vulnerability to a worse outcome including higher mortality rate from any virus (including the flu). You can moderate these risks with targeted, healthy lifestyle changes at any age. Sometimes people have these conditions and don’t know as they could be asymptomatic.
Is being overweight or obese a risk? Maybe or maybe not!
Although some studies have ‘associated’ increased risk from carrying excess weight (especially around the waist), it may not be the excess weight that increases the risk, but the condition that is associated with extra weight – insulin resistance. Even relatively slim people can have insulin resistance. It’s also called pre-diabetes as it can lead to diabetes.
Insulin resistance is closely correlated with having a waistline that’s over 50% of your height. Divide your height by 2. Now measure your waist. If your waist is greater than half your height, you may have insulin resistance.
Although insulin resistance is not measured or detected in standard blood tests, it can be deducted from your blood tests. Divide your triglycerides by your HDL. If you score 1.5 or higher, it is highly likely you have undiagnosed insulin resistance (more likely if over 2.0). Warning! You can be slim and have insulin resistance.
You can have normal blood sugar but have chronically high insulin. Insulin Resistance is not a glucose disease. It is an insulin disease.
As insulin resistance is mainly caused by food choices over many years (not your genes), the most effective solution is to correct your food choices, specifically your carbohydrate load. The fact is that your current body may not be able to get away with the food choices you got away with when you were 20 years younger.
Associated with insulin resistance is leptin resistance, and this too may be a risk factor.
Update – New Paper – 6th August 2020
“While most clinicians are aware of the concept of insulin resistance, it is never measured in routine clinical practice and is at most an abstract, intangible and academic consideration.”
Source: paper in Frontiers in Public Health. Coronavirus and Obesity: Could Insulin Resistance Mediate the Severity of Covid-19 Infection?
“…if an association between insulin resistance and COVID-19 severity was established, the next step would be to determine whether strategies to enhance insulin sensitivity acutely (such as carbohydrate restriction) could improve prognosis.” To see paper click HERE.
Here’s the good news!
You may be able to reduce your risks within weeks with some specific healthy lifestyle modifications. The Seatbelt Plan has four steps:
- Get some daily sunshine. This can help maintain optimal vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D has been noticed amongst people suffering COVID-19. If you can’t get out in the sunshine regularly consider Vitamin D3 supplementation or ask your doctor about it.
- Reduce your carbohydrate load. Avoid or significantly reduce processed foods, especially processed carbohydrates and vegetable (seed) oils. You may not know that even some ‘healthy foods’ can trigger elevated blood sugar and elevated insulin levels in many people. We are all different when it comes to how our bodies respond to different foods.
- Prioritise protein in all meals and snacks. Protein-based (very low or no carb) snacks like shakes can be helpful in your weight loss journey. Carb-based snacks can be problematic as they will increase insulin demand and hence the typical ‘anti-snacking’ advice. There have even been some reports of panic buying of quality protein sources (eg meat, fish and eggs) in stores.
- Re-build the insulin sensitivity of your muscles with specific exercise. There are specific exercise routines that can be done at any age. These are mainly strength-based to strengthen your skeletal (load-bearing) muscles. They are your body’s sugar sinks and help stabilise your blood sugar.
Need advice? Healthy Inspirations provides lifestyle programming to help members learn about their body’s individual carbohydrate tolerance in order to effortlessly achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The team also provide in-centre and online exercise programming that helps build strength, tone and fitness.
Whether you live near a centre or not, give your nearest centre a call to ask for program details. You can register for a free info session by clicking the button at the top of the page at https://healthyinspirations.com.au. These info sessions can be arrange in the centre or via Zoom video communications to your computer.
And… make sure you stay disciplined with Strategy 1. If you have any health questions, or feel unwell, please call your doctor or local hospital straight away. Get tested. Do not wait.