Getting rid of Lockdown pounds  

"Just sitting here widening. You?"

Piling on the pounds has been one unwanted side effect of lockdown, highlighted in this cartoon from the New Yorker.

The media is full of stark warnings on dangers of obesity,  and, never one to miss a PR opportunity, Bojo has jumped on the bandwagon. Then, the American  Cancer Society (ASCO) jsays being overweight raises risk of contracting cancer, heart disesse and Type 2 diabetes.

However, making simple changes can lower our risk


How can people lose weight?

Talking to sucessful dieters, “Reading labels”, says my friend Jayne.  Skipping around, two stone lighter, she says she did it by reading the labels on food and drink before she popped them in her supermarket trolley.  “I never realised how many ‘hidden’ calories there are in ready-meals – and as for my favourite fizzy drinks….”

Next time you reach for a ‘Best’, ‘Finest’ Gourmet’ or whatever Ready-Meal, have a look at what’s on the label.  A) it will probably surprise you who much it contains of ‘fillers’ such as potato, etc.  And sugar is one of the ‘flavour-enhancers’ added to many savoury ready-meals. To make it more difficult to check, Sugar can also be described as honey, dextrose, fructose, lactose, caramel, glucose,etc.  And ‘No added sugar’ can mean one of the ingredients.has such a high sugar content no more is needed.

Talking to successful dieters, it seems rhose who cook from scratch at home are more succesful;  they know what goes into a dish, so  can avoid sugary add-ons.  So walk past the ready-meals, and aim for fruit and veg.  Have a look at the fish and meat counters, as many now have easy-to-cook ready-prepared portions of popular meals – and they are less likely to contain sugar, etc.


ASCO has updated its guideline on diet and physical activity for cancer prevention, which has sensible advice that is easy to follow. Staying at a healthy weightstaying active throughout lifefollowing a healthy eating pattern, and avoiding or limiting alcohol may greatly reduce a person’s lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer.

The BMJ (British Medical Journal) concluded that “it is now clear that the food industry shares the blame not only for the obesity pandemic but also for the severity of covid-19 disease and its devastating consequences.” They state that “food industries around the world must immediately stop promoting, and governments must force reformulation of, unhealthy foods and drinks.”

It remains to be seen if powerful TV advertising lobbies manage to retain junk food ads, or will these vanish like those for smoking? And, after lockdown will we still work from home, with a chance of eating a healthy meal at lunch instead of a fattening wrap or sandwich?

Incidentally, although full-fat milk has more fat than skimmed, the European Journal of Nutrition highlighted that fat does not necessarily make you fat, not even dairy fat.   Apparently  people who eat full-fat dairy tend to be leaner than those who opt for low-fat versions. Talking to a top nutritinist, she told me this is because full-fat fills you up so you don’t feel hungry, and products that are ‘low fat’ often include sugar to compensate for ‘lost’ taste..

Other tips offered by succesful dieters are: –

1. Create a Master Shopping List

2. Take cans and Sugary Beverages Off the List

3. Don’t Skip the Middle Aisles

Where you find foods like almonds, beans, whole grains and other foods that will fuel you without providing empty calories.”

And if you’re on the hunt for a middle-aisle must-have that’s surprisingly filling (and tastes great), V8 Original contains two servings of veggies in every 8-ounce glass, with only 45 calories and no added sugar. Talk about a power snack

4. Spend Time in the fruit and veg.Section

And don’t forget Frozen and canned fruits and veggies are also good

5. Pay Attention to Labels

6. Diet and physical activity recommendations – Don’t forget physical activity (exercise), eating less (or no) processed meat, and avoiding alcohol or drinking less all helps with weight loss.

  • Get to and stay at a healthy body weight throughout life. If you’re overweight or obese, losing even a few pounds can lower your risk for some types of cancer.
  • Adults should get 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or a combination. Getting 300 minutes or even more will give you the most health benefits.
  • Children and teens should get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day.
  • Spend less time sitting or lying down. This includes time looking at your phone, tablet, computer, or TV.
  • Eat a colourful variety of vegetables and fruits, and plenty of whole grains and brown rice.
  • Avoid or limit eating red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, deli meats, and hot dogs.
  • Avoid or limit sugar-sweetened beverages, highly processed foods, and refined grain products.
  • It is best not to drink alcohol. But if you do, women should have no more than 1 drink per day and men should have no more than 2. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

According to Laura Makaroff, DO, American Cancer Society senior vice president, Prevention and Early Detection, the guideline is based on current science that shows that how you eat, rather than specific foods or nutrients, is important in reducing the risk of cancer and boosting overall health.

Avoid Yo-Yo Dieting

Asking around, everyone will tell you the diet they are on at the moment is THE one – strange, they seldom return to it.  The most successful friends who have lost weight, and kept the loss, have followed a ‘sensible eating’ plan.  Even if you only lose 1lb a week – think.  By the start of the cold season (possibly another Covid-19 spike?) you will have lost ONE STONE. 


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