How To Not Get Fat During The Coronavirus Lockdown

The events that took place in 2020 remind the concept of a science fiction movie.

A deadly virus escaped from a town in China, infecting hundreds of thousands and causing a pandemic with people falling dead everywhere.

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All businesses, big or small, closed their doors to the public and most people were obligated to stay at home for prolonged periods to protect themselves and their families from the deadly covid-19.

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One very common theme during long stay-at-home periods like the quarantine is weight gain and binge eating.

And during the covid-19 pandemic, this phenomenon was more pronounced than ever.

Many people fearing that supermarkets would shut down took extreme precautionary measures stocking up their kitchen and basement with countless unhealthy and highly-processed foods.

That, in conjunction with all the media fear-mongering and global economic uncertainty, made it really tough for most individuals to stay focused and disciplined when it comes to diet.

The last thing someone interested in weight-loss should do is to stockpile his/her kitchen (or basement) with tons of ultra-processed, nutrient-void junk.

Having a constant seductive afterthought that delicious snacks are hiding somewhere in the house can make your weight maintenance quest extremely difficult.

Thankfully, no matter how many quarantines are ahead of us, there are some simple yet powerful tips you can implement that can help you maintain or even lose weight:

1. Prolonged Daily Fasting

time restriced eating

The fat-burning benefits of fasting are amazing and well-established.

It may be a practice that’s gone viral the last couple of years in the Western culture, but in reality, fasting has always been a major component of all religions worldwide, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Jainism, and Hinduism.

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Fasting has also always been a major part of our lifestyle during evolution and a very natural thing to our species.

Our ancestors evolved being opportunistic eaters, having the resilience and ability to thrive in situations of food scarcity [15].

The famous 16/8 intermittent fasting routine is the most prevalent today and consists of an 8-hour eating window with fasting for the rest 16 hours of the day. 

Intermittent fasting comes with numerous benefits including: 

  • Weight and body fat loss [16
  • Lowered blood insulin levels [12]
  • Improved glucose tolerance [14
  • Immune system upregulation [13
  • Reduced pain associated with musculoskeletal disorders [8] 
  • Prevention of cancer cell formation [9]
  • Improved brain health, mental clarity, and concentration [3]
  • Cellular waste removal
  • Stem cell regeneration [5
  • Reduced leptin levels [10
  • Muscle Sparing [2]
  • Increased growth hormone production [4]
  • Improved gut microbiome [7]

Following an intermittent fasting system will naturally aid you in weight-loss.

Firstly, because you’ll end up consuming fewer calories, due to a shorter eating window.

Secondly, due to increased amounts of circulating noradrenaline in your blood.

Noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that also functions as a hormone, breaking down body fat so it can be used as an energy source. 

This results in an increased metabolic rate, which ultimately leads to increased fat burning.

Fasting also stimulates the production and utilization of ketones (by-products of fat metabolism) as a fuel source.

It achieves that by mobilizing and employing your already existing body fat.

If you can, you may take it a step further and eat only once per day.
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An even more effective and radical approach would be to go O.MA.D (one meal a day), which results to an even wider fasting window of 22-23 hours.

By going O.M.A.D, you will: 

  • Save a lot of money (about 400$ / month)
  • Time (less preparation, cooking, cleaning, etc) 
  •  Your digestion will improve as you will offer your digestive organs a long-awaiting break (pancreas, liver, gallbladder, stomach, small and large intestine) 
  • Get massive autophagy benefits (recycling of old, damaged protein particles into new tissue)
  • You will be less hungry (you may think that by eating less you’ll be starving all the time, but it’s the quite opposite) [6] 
  • Many microorganisms inside your body, such as yeast, candida, viruses, bad bacteria, will be reduced in number or die (which will supercharge your immune system) 
  • Your skin will get smoother and younger-looking (due to autophagy)
  • Your physical energy will increase 
  • Your anxiety and/or depression will cease (they are often the result of blood sugar imbalances) 
  • Your cognitive function (memory, focus, concentration) will improve 
  • Any inflammatory condition you may have like bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, etc, will stop bothering you 
  • Your high blood pressure will decrease 
  • Your arteries will get cleaner and healthier
  • You will become more insulin sensitive
  • Your undiagnosed hypoglycemia will improve or get fixed
  • Fat will be taken off your liver if you have NAFLD (non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease), 
  • Fat-burning will be maximized
  • You will get more disciplined 
  • You will spare your muscle mass (due to increased growth hormone secretion)
  • Your BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate) will increase  
  • You will feel euphoric with enhanced mental clarity 

If someone came to you with a pill claiming all the aforementioned benefits, would you take it?

Most likely, yes

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You would actually pay quite a lot of money for it. 

But as you’ve noticed, it’s completely free.

So why not give it a try?

All you need is some discipline and determination.

2. Go Ketogenic and Limit Your Carb Intake

The implementation of a ketogenic diet, which is a diet high in fats, moderate in protein and low on carbs, has well-known anti-inflammatory and fat loss benefits [1].

That happens for two main reasons: 

1) Keto diets lower blood sugar and insulin levels, stimulating fat loss and reducing inflammation [11].

Insulin, a fat-storing, anabolic hormone, is secreted more strongly after carbohydrate intake, and less after fat or protein ingestion.

Low levels of insulin = less weight gain.

2) Ketosis, the metabolic state someone enters after prolonged abstinence from carbohydrates is characterized by elevated ketone bodies in the blood.

This metabolic state naturally reduces cravings by decreasing a hunger hormone called ghrelin, keeping you satiated for longer periods of time.

A ketogenic diet is the only known diet offering these benefits, and if ketone levels fall under 1.0 it can actually be considered a fasting-mimicking diet.

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That means that even though you technically “eat”, your body thinks it’s in a fasting state, and thus initiates chemical processes that get rid of toxins, upregulate the immune system and increase lifespan.

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It’s not coincidental that in the “Blue-Zones”, a.k.a. areas where people live the longest, fasting among other things is a daily practice.

Fasting makes your cells more resilient to stress of any kind.

However, there is also another reason you should limit your carb intake and it has to do with the fuel your body uses during periods of abstinence from anaerobic activities.

Since all gyms are closed, most people do not engage in any type of anaerobic exercise, like weight-training.

Anaerobic exercise uses primarily glycogen (carbs) as an energy source, which means that since you don’t lift any weights during this period, your carb intake has no reason to exceed 30-50 gr. per day. 

Some other benefits of the Ketogenic diet also include increased energy levels, enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis (creation of new mitochondria- the power plants of cells), improved cognition, mood-stabilizing benefits, and cardioprotective effects.

Especially if your metabolic type does well with high-fat diets, this style of eating may benefit you greatly, not only in terms of your physical appearance, but your longevity, health and well-being. 

keto food

Simply ditch the bread, pasta, and rice, and begin to enjoy some yummy, keto-friendly foods (the majority of them are nutritional powerhouses anyway): Eggs avocado, fatty fish, seafood, olives, olive oil, berries, hard-cheeses, cottage cheese, butter and cream, various meats and poultry, dark chocolate, cacao powder, nuts and seeds, nut butter, coconut meat and oil, and plain yogurt.

Don’t forget to add in some low-carb, antioxidant and mineral-rich veggies, like lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, red and white cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and bell peppers of various colors.

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With regards to beverages, you may still enjoy your unsweetened coffee or tea, with added heavy cream or grass-fed butter.

3. Stop Eating Out of Boredom

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Many people being house-locked for so long begin to feel bored, unstimulated, and uninspired.

In an attempt to alleviate those feelings, they start stuffing their mouths with all kinds of unhealthy stuff.

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Foods that are snacky and easily accessible (i.e. popcorn, chips, candy) are the main culprits, since it’s super easy to eat a handful and then repeat for multiple rounds.

This type of behavior mainly occurs as a stress alleviating mechanism rather than genuine hunger itself.

A good way to stop this immediately upon rising is by finding something constructive and interesting to spend time on.

That could be: learning a musical instrument, painting, playing chess, or reading a book, whatever you find interesting and can keep your mind busy.

4. Stay Hydrated

It’s very typical for people to misinterpret bodily signals, leading to awful dietary and lifestyle choices.

The most common example is the hunger-thirst misconception.

Many people misunderstand their body’s state of dehydration to that of being hungry, and end up stuffing their mouths in an attempt to satisfy their thirst, when the best solution would be to drink rather than eat.

A good example is a strong desire for salty snacks like cheese, salty nuts/seeds or potato chips, which is a good indicator that someone is sodium deficient.

Generally, hydration can come from 3 things: 1) Water 2) Minerals 3) Fat.

The hunger-thirst confusion stems from the fact that the majority of people are severely dehydrated, as well as mineral deficient.

Magnesium, potassium, iodine, zinc, and chromium deficiencies are the most common.

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Our cells desperately ask for water and minerals, but due to our brain’s misinterpretation we end up receiving inaccurate hunger signals that lead us to binge eating episodes.

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Drinking 500-600 ml. of mineral water or an electrolyte-rich drink- like cucumber juice, celery juice or coconut water, is the best solution for countering these types of food cravings. 

We don’t recommend drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even commercial electrolyte solutions, as they are made with artificial chemicals, flavors and colors.

These substances have been shown to be carcinogenic, metabolically-damaging and deleterious to our gut microbiome.

We like and use Kinderlyte which is a natural alternative to Pedialyte.

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Kinderlyte offers naturally-derived, chemical-free electrolyte blends for kids and adults with amazing taste that leverage the co-transport property of sodium and glucose (i.e., dextrose), allowing the body to absorb electrolytes earlier in the digestive system (duodenum).

Most electrolyte supplements contain complex sugars or carbohydrates that need to be further broken down by the body before being absorbed, delaying the rehydration process and feeding pathogenic flora when dysbiosis is present.

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If you prefer powders and not pre-made electrolyte drinks you may check out Keto K1000.

It’s one of the richest in potassium electrolyte powders on the market, has no additives and tastes amazing (especially the Raspberry Lemon).

Ketogenic diets are notorious for disrupting the body’s electrolyte balance, so it’s essential to ensure adequate intakes to prevent keto flu and feeling groggy.

Electrolytes are needed for cellular energy production (ATP), muscle contractions, and nerve transmission.

When you are electrolyte deficient nothing in your body works right, and you feel fatigued and irritable.

PRO TIP: When you do extended water-fasts to lose weight, add some Keto K1000 to your water. It won’t break your fast, but will improve your energy and mood and help you go for longer, maximizing weight-loss, autophagy and detoxification.

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About George Kelly

George Kelly M.Sc. is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that specializes in autoimmune conditions. He is the CEO and lead author of Metabolic Body.


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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Metabolic Body nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.