Most of us, including me, have gained more weight than we wanted at various times in our lives. I found that running and some diet attention usually allowed me to lose those few (less than ten most times) pounds to pass my annual flight physical with the Navy.
I also noticed that my lack of exercise and increased weight increased my blood pressure. If I exercised a bit my blood pressure was normal. If I kept my weight below my flight limits, my blood pressure was normal.
Twenty-five years ago, I read several books on the Atkins Diet. I decided to try it and found it super-easy to lose weight and keep it off. Within four months, I was nearly twenty pounds lower than my flying days allowed. I thought this was the easiest thing in the world to do.
Six years later, I retired from the military and entered civilian life again. The stress of getting a new job and other things allowed me the opportunity to get off the Atkins protocol and gain some weight, and then gain some more weight.
A year later, I had my first bone density test. I thought I would have no problems having lifted weights for hours/week and run many miles weekly. Regardless, I was told that I had osteopenia. I was beginning to have bone density issues.
A couple of years later, I learned that the right choice of food on the Atkins Diet would have kept my body in an alkaline environment. However, the food choices I made while on Atkins kept me in acidosis. The acidic environment of my body caused by food choices was responsible for my osteopenia. Acidosis was never mentioned in any of the Atkins books that I read before starting this diet.
I could not understand why I had osteopenia based on all I knew at that time. Most of us do not know what it takes to be healthy (mentally, physically, and emotionally). It is not taught, per se. Most of us do not know how to control weight as we age – again, we are not taught these things.
There are dozens of factors that cause fat to go into a fat cell and equally as many that cause fat to come out of a fat cell. There are dozens of causes for the body to burn fat and a nearly equal amount that stop the body from burning fat. When we are overweight, it seems nearly impossible to lose weight and inches. It gets worse as we grow older.
I have struggled with weight control (usually no more than 20-25 pounds above my desired weight) more than a few times over the decades. Even knowing the ins and outs of fat burning and fat transfer, the ability to take charge and do something is not always as successful as I expected.
A few pounds each year adds up and before we know it we have a real weight problem. Obesity creeps up on many of us. It remains with us for years, if not decades. Obesity complicates many things in our health. Many times, it makes a situation worse. With COVID-19, it could make the difference between developing a cough and being hooked up to a ventilator.
Most people survive a COVID-19 cough. Many people do not survive being ventilated because of COVID-19. The virus, SARS-CoV-2, sometimes causes a cytokine storm. A cytokine is a general definition for several molecules (immune system proteins) secreted by the immune system to fight invading substances in our bodies – a normal response of the immune system.
The right number of cytokines is needed for proper immunity protection. Sometimes the body releases too many cytokines and our bodies cannot handle it. Some symptoms of too many cytokines (a cytokine storm) are high fever, inflammation, redness, swelling, severe fatigue, nausea, and more. A cytokine storm can be life-threatening or lead to multiple organ failure.
COVID-19 can cause cytokine storms in some people. The cytokine storm causes the body’s organs and tissues to be attacked as if they were an invading army of viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites rather than protecting the body from those aggressors.
The medical experts are not certain of cytokine storm causes. Some researchers speculate that it might be driven by our own immune systems. Cytokine storms appear in other diseases or maladies unrelated to COVID-19. With the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the lungs lose the ability to extract oxygen from the air and the patient must be put on a ventilator.
Obesity seems to be a common thread for many ventilated patients. Obesity complicates the patient’s health with high blood pressure, diabetes, and other cardiovascular issues are present. The SARS-CoV-2 virus does not treat all health issues the same.
Three months ago, a couple was admitted to a hospital with COVID-19. The wife was being treated for cancer and on chemotherapy. The husband was in good health. The wife left the hospital four days before he did. Things are not always obvious when looking at a person, overweight or not.
Weight control is a lifetime focus. Our bodies change over time and we must adapt to those changes. Weight loss when you need to lose weight reminds me of a line in the 1966 Lovin’ Spoonful’s song, Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind – “It’s not often easy and not often kind.”
People who are stressed resort many times to eating comfort food. The COVID-19 pandemic is stressing many people – financially, socially, emotionally, etc. Realize that it is not the stressor that affects our bodies, but what we accept. Recognize the stressful situation for what it is – stress that you do not need. LET IT GO!!! Do not accept it.
Avoid people (if you can), media, and situations that add stress to your life. Cortisol is a stress hormone. It loves to store fat. We have four times the number of fat receptors for stress around our abdomens. That is one reason why we see excess fat accumulating around our middles.
If stress is causing your fat gain, then stress relief and management must be part of the equation to solve that weight gain. Total calories, the right type of calories, exercise, toxin removal, and more are also part of the weight control formula.
COVID-19 is a cruel disease. Each one of us must protect ourselves like our lives were on the line – because they are! Those extra pounds might be a disadvantage when the challenge of entering a hospital with COVID-19 creeps into your life.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com