5 Tips for Staying Healthy During Isolation
Apr 30, 2020
Now more than ever it’s important to eat well and look after ourselves. As a dietitian, I feel like it's my mission to help you through this crazy time with practical, easy to understand and implement advice, no matter where you are! In the best way I know how – nutrition!
In a world of uncertainty, sometimes it can help to focus on something. Why not use this time wisely to learn and implement some of the foundations of healthy eating?!
So here are My Top 5 Tips for Staying Healthy During Isolation to celebrate the launch of my new online course! Watch the replay from the LIVE recording or read through the summary below 👇👇🏼
1. Eat Well
- A lot of people are stressed about gaining weight at the moment, coming out of this in a bad place and undoing all of their hard work building fitness from the start of the season. But now is not the time to crash diet. Or put too much pressure on ourselves for that matter! It's not the time to put yourself into a severe calorie deficit as this can weaken our immune system.
- My advice - your goals for body composition and weight management at the moment should be maintenance. Try and aim to maintain right now, rather than gaining or losing and focus on eating really well. Be kind to yourself. Now is not the time to be stressing about leaning up, the number on the scales or restricting intake. Instead, use this time wisely to upskill and educate yourself on some of the foundations of nutrition.
- We know there is no one single food, nutrient or supplement that will help you fight off colds, flu’s, infections and COVID-19. Beware of anyone spruiking miracle potions and pills to ‘boost’ your immune system. We certainly don’t want to be deficient in anything but there’s no need to take a supplement to ‘boost’ your immune system. In fact, you shouldn’t want to ‘boost’ your immune system!
- Important nutrients for immunity include vitamins A, C, E and B6 and minerals zinc, iron and magnesium. To ensure we’re getting all of these nutrients from our diet, we should be focusing on eating a wide variety of foods. In particular, focus on getting 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day. This can be difficult to begin with if you’re not used to it, but with a bit of education and some strategies to get you there, it can be easy. Only 6% of Aussies eat the recommended serves of fruit and veggies! That’s just insane and I’m hoping to change that, one veggie at a time!
- As part of the Stay Healthy During Isolation Course, I walk you through exactly what a serve of fruit and vegetables is and show you exactly how to hit this target every day. I also cover how to build a healthy plate so that you can focus on eating for health and maximum nutrient density to support your immune system. If you focus on just one thing right now, it should be eating more fruit and vegetables!
- We also know that people are snacking more currently. There’s a fair bit of proscrati-snacking happening as we take a break from the computer screen to check out what’s in the fridge or cupboard. This has caused an increase in what’s affectionately termed ‘snackcidents’. I want to give you the tools to make healthy snack choices with my formula for how to build a healthy snack in a way that's going to help support your immunity. In the course, I also show you some specific recipes to make healthy snacks yourself at home. For example, our Savoury Muffins. Get the recipe FREE HERE.
2. Exercise Regularly!
- Regular exercise is great for our immune system! But with gyms and pools etc closed and motivation (for some) at an all-time low, people are finding it harder to stick to a regular routine.
- A word of warning – be careful with the type of training you’re doing at the moment. We know that moderate-intensity exercise increases our resistance to infection (lowers your risk of getting sick). But excessive periods of intensified or prolonged training sessions (longer than ~90mins-2hrs) lowers your resistance to infection (increases your chance of getting sick).
- If you are doing longer/harder sessions – nutrition to support these are key to ensure you’re not depressing your immunity.
- As part of the Stay Healthy During Isolation course, I talk you through exactly what type of exercise is good at the moment and how to best support training with specific nutrition strategies to ensure our immune system is as robust as ever.
3. Keep Your Gut Microbes Happy
- We know that 70% of our immune cells reside in the gut. They provide a protective barrier to block the bad guys from entering. They also assist with digesting and breaking down food so we’re maximising the nutrition we extract from it. If the gut isn’t working properly/efficiently, we may not absorb as much nutrition out of food as we possibly could and also increase the risk of letting the bad guys in. A double-edged sword…
- In the Stay Healthy During Isolation Course, I talk you through the best foods to be included in your diet to keep your gut microbes happy and support your immune system. To ensure you're getting the best bang for your buck out of your nutrition.
- We also know that alcohol negatively affects our immune system by reducing the number and abundance of microbes in the gut. In a time where 70% of Australian’s are drinking more than usual, it’s important to have some tools in your belt to manage alcohol intake in the current climate. I’m not saying you can’t ever drink again, but I’ve included a whole module in the Stay Healthy During Isolation course to provide you with some balanced strategies and guidelines for managing to drink right now so you’re not negatively affecting your immune system.
4. Find Routine & Structure
- In a time of massive uncertainty, maintaining some form of structure and routine is key to keeping us from spinning out. Particularly important if you’ve recently had some big changes in your life.
My number 1 strategy to give you some structure: Write out a weekly plan
- This maps out what you need to do and what you want to achieve in your week. In it you should include things like:
- Awake and sleep times – keep these consistent and as close to normal as possible
- Work commitments and meetings
- Time for exercise
- Time for meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking to look after your future self. If you’re not a meal planner, meal plan! I’ve taken care of this task and even done it for you!
- Set times to check emails and responding to others so it doesn’t absorb the entire day
- Set times for GSD (getting sh!t done) – best scheduled in the morning when your brain is fresh and working at its best
- Self-care time
- Laundry/cleaning time
- Etc etc.
- It’s your week so fill it out with what’s going to work for you and your household. It doesn’t have to be perfect first go. It’s a work in progress which you can adapt over time when you figure out what works/what doesn’t work.
- Once you’ve got your weekly plan, I’d then encourage you to write out a daily to-do list. Do this the night before so you don’t waste valuable GSD time in the morning procrasti-planning.
- Finally, create anchors or cues to switch on and switch off for the day. We talk about this in more detail in The Power of Structure & Routine video if you want further information. This will help you get in the zone for maximum productivity and also ensure work doesn’t invade home life.
5. Get Better Sleep
- Lack of sleep depresses our immune system. Making us more susceptible to getting sick and also increases the likelihood of making poor food choices. One study found that less than 6hrs of sleep quadrupled the risk of catching a cold!
- Trying to function on less sleep is not something you should be proud of. In the Stay Healthy During Isolation Course, I show you how much sleep you need and give you specific strategies to help you get better quality sleep so that your immune system is as supported as possible.
Get INSTANT ACCESS to our Stay Healthy During Isolation Course here! Each module walks you through essential skills to stay healthy in the current climate, but they're also skills you can take with you forever.
Instead of finishing Netflix, why not use this time wisely to learn and implement some of the foundations of healthy eating?!
One module drops in each week to give you structure (see what I did there) to complete a new topic per week. Implement, practice and instil new habits and skills.
Tags: Coffee & Questions, Staying Healthy During Isolation, Brisbane Dietitian, Brisbane Sports Dietitian, Dietitian Brisbane, Sports Dietitian, Sports Dietitian Australia, Sports Dietitian Brisbane, nutrition, sleep, routine, structure, exercise, eat well