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home : columns : dear harriette October 26, 2020

7/18/2020 2:12:00 PM
Reader embarrassed by quarantine weight gain

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just had a telehealth call with my primary care physician, and he grilled me about how I have been taking care of myself during this period of quarantine. I didn't want to admit that I have gained 10 to 15 pounds. I am embarrassed that I haven't been more disciplined. I was already supposed to be losing weight, but instead I gained. He cautioned me that I have to lose weight because obesity is one of the factors that can make one more susceptible to complications from COVID-19. I know he's right, but I didn't appreciate hearing that from him. It's almost time to go back out into the world. Now he has me scared all over again about getting sick and dying. It's not like I can reverse this weight gain with a blink. What should I do? -- Target

DEAR TARGET: Your doctor was right to caution you about your health during this time. Sadly, the risk of getting ill has not yet passed. You should be extremely cautious based on what the medical community recommends.

That doesn't mean you have to stop in your tracks, though. What you need to do is move your body. The easiest thing you can do is walk for 45 minutes to an hour each day. Put on a face covering, grab a bottle of water and walk in your neighborhood. If you are up for it, you can turn on an exercise video and do an at-home workout.

Beyond that, it's time to change your diet. Cut out the sugar and fat. Choose to eat lean meats and plenty of vegetables. Drink lots of water and fewer (or no) sweet drinks, including alcohol. Track your weight. You can come down significantly if you are vigilant about what you eat and how you move.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom has planned a lovely baby shower for me in a couple of weeks. Now she is worried that it may not be safe enough for people to come to our home. The plan was for people to be in the backyard as socially distant as they can be, but since there is a surge happening, she is worried that she may expose me and the baby to the virus inadvertently. She wants to change it to a drive-by party where people honk horns and drop off gifts. That makes me sad. We have been holed up for so long, and I want to be with people. What do you think? -- Baby Shower

DEAR BABY SHOWER: Your mother is right to be overly cautious. Medical professionals do not know yet what the status of the virus's spread will be in the coming weeks. We do know that there is a surge happening in many parts of the country. You may want to host a hybrid event. Invite most guests to participate in the outdoor drive-by so that you get to see your loved ones and they can see you and your blossoming belly.

Later, you can host a much smaller barbecue -- still outdoors -- where you can practice social distancing. You will need to stay at least 6 feet away from everyone at all times. But in this way, you can talk to guests and interact with them a bit more. Everyone should wear facial coverings except when they are eating or drinking, and plentiful hand sanitizer should be made available.

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