With everything going on in the world today, I’ve been having a really hard time sitting down and putting out some fresh relative content. It seems like with every day that passes things are getting crazier, and the world is slipping further and further into darkness. Amidst all of this I’ve been trying to figure out why anyone would be interested in reading another “Keto” article on how to do this better or how to do that better. Our lives have literally been flipped upside down in recent days, so it’s been hard for me to shift my mind away from all the events of recent days. That was however till I sat down today and really began to think about it. Now more than ever people should be doing everything they can to help bolster their immune systems and do everything they can to make healthy choices. For many this simply means following the government ordered social distancing, and being extremely germ and transmission conscious, but what can we do to take this a step further? With social distancing and self-quarantining quickly becoming the social norm, people are widely facing a new problem… the mental and physical effects of self-imposed isolation. Think about this for a second. There is a very real reason prisons use “solitary confinement” on rowdy and unruly prisoners. It’s because the mental effects of this isolation are very real and are not pleasant. Now most of the country is in a self-imposed isolation, and we are going to start seeing the mental and physical effects of this. Things like elevated depression and accelerated weight gain are going to be in overdrive. This thought got me thinking long and hard about what steps a person (including myself) should be taking to not only strengthen my immune system to the max, but also to fight the hidden demons of self-quarantine and social distancing.
Corona and Keto
As many of you know, the majority of my articles are focused through the lens of the Keto Diet, so I decided to do some reading and see what sort of impact “if any” the keto diet could have on the Coronavirus. As many of you can guess what I found was not overly shocking. While there are some distinct advantages to the keto diet, it has absolutely zero effect on the actual virus itself… and why would it. This fact did not shock me, but honestly, I pretty much already knew that before doing my research. What I did read only confirmed what I suspected the actual advantages would be. Numerous studies have shown the health benefits of the keto diet on things like diabetes and heart disease. While this means some pretty great news for the many elderly who commonly suffer from these types of health problems, the Keto Diet has also been shown to improve, and strengthen your immune system. Furthermore a recent study by Professors Akiko Iwasaki and Vishwa Deep Dixit of the Yale School of Medicine’s department of immunobiology actually show that the Keto Diet could potentially help fight deadly influenza viruses with it’s anti-inflammatory benefits. While I would agree that much further testing is still needed, this study brings light to some interesting possibilities given our current global state.
Self-Isolation and Exercise
While the importance of taking steps to strengthen your immune system cannot be understated, the simple fact is that self-quarantining, and social distancing are absolutely unavoidable steps needed to reduce and eventually stop the uncontrollable transmission of this global pandemic. Just because you have a good strong immune system and you might be one of the fortunate people who’s bodies are able to fight this thing off with little to no effects does not mean you should be going outside and living life like its just another day. Every day we are discovering more and more about this virus. Learning things like how long the virus can live on certain surfaces and in the air shows why its so easy to spread it from one person to another. However self-quarantine come along with its own set of personal challenges you will need to be ready to face, especially from a physical and emotional health standpoint. Many people (myself included) find it too easy to simply fall into unhealthy sedentary lifestyles during this time. Things like binge watching Netflix, or spending hours scrolling social media almost seem to be the default self-quarantining setting. We are social creatures, so naturally we want to feel like we are still socially connected to people, we get that feeling from our favorite T.V. shows and movies, as well as social media, and things like YouTube. The problem is, while we are sitting there trying to fill a hole in our lives, we are literally not moving for hours, sometimes entire days. We fall into a depressed state which only compounds itself by making us feel like we do not want to get up and do anything and so on. It turns into a vicious circle. Add in things like uncontrolled comfort eating, and you are headed for a ton of disastrous health implications. I personally have struggled with depression more than once in my life. If you go back and read my very first article Introductions Are In Order I talk in length about a number of life changing injuries I’ve had to overcome, and the mental toll I went through along the way. However, one thing has always rung true, and that is no matter how low I was feeling, forcing myself to get up and be physically active always went a long way to fighting those low feelings of depression. Countless articles like this one explain the science studies have shown in relation to the effects of exercise on depression. See my recently published article Coronavirus Quarantine Exercise Routine for some simple and effective exercises you can do from home to help fight off that cabin fever, and keep yourself in virus fighting shape.
Self-Quarantine Portion Control
I touched on it a little bit in the previous section, but I feel this is important enough to earn itself its own section. Overeating during times of boredom and self-isolation is arguably the leading cause of severe weight gain during situations like this. As I mentioned before, feelings of depression and loneliness are bound to be flying around right now. We are social creatures, so when we are forced to be alone for long periods of time like this many of us tend to feel an emptiness inside. This is where we subconsciously begin “comfort eating”. I’m sure you’ve heard this term before. Maybe you were going through a breakup, or you were not feeling good, and you just began eating. If you notice, you don’t even feel hungry, even times you will feel so full its painful but you will keep eating anyways. Why is that? That is our subconscious response to replace something that is missing in our lives, in this case social interaction. Exercise goes a long way to help fight some of the eating urges, but the reality is, you cannot be exercising all the time. Eventually you will find yourself in a situation where you will need to fill the time some other way. While yes, some T.V. or video game time is completely fine, these activities do absolutely nothing to keep your mind occupied enough to help fight off that overeating bug. This is where having a good, constructive hobby becomes vitally important. Filling your time with an activity that engages your mind is in my opinion the most effective, long term strategy to help keep you from subconsciously overeating. Taking this time to learn something, or let yourself be creative, and explore an artistic side of yourself is a great idea. Perhaps online classes in something you’ve always found interesting, but never had the time. I’ve personally found Udemy to be an amazing and relatively cheap resource for all kinds of interesting self-improving courses. Whether you decide to take some online investing courses or do something more creative like painting, or drawing, or even writing, the outcome will ultimately be the same. You will find yourself filling your time with a healthy, creative, (hopefully) enjoyable pass time. All the while keeping your mind active and engaged which keeps you from subconsciously trying to fill a void in your life with food or some other unhealthy substance or activity.
We as a society have been forced to deal with an ever-evolving situation. Almost everywhere you look you see ways this epidemic has impacted lives the world over. Even if you do not know anyone who has gotten sick, you’ve undoubtably felt the ramifications this virus has caused. We are likely to continue to feel the economic ripple effects of this pandemic for the foreseeable future. That’s the unfortunate reality for now. All we can do at this point is do our best to stop the spread of the virus, and help those people effected. It is our responsibilities to take care of ourselves in the best possible way as to not cause further strain on our healthcare systems as they fight their way through this situation. The best way we can help do that is by making healthy choices and helping one another as best we can from a distance. It is my sincere hope that with our continued efforts in this manor we will soon see the end of this thing, and find a little more normalcy return to our lives. Till then I hope you find some of these tips helpful.
As always please leave me your thoughts in the comment section and let me know your thoughts.
Don’t forget to check out my brand new book The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Men and let me help you get a jump start on your keto journey!
About the Author
J.P. Wells has spent the last 13 years of his life learning about and pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle. After sustaining a lifechanging injury during his time serving in the United States Military, he dedicated his time to learning, and researching ways to heal and re-build his body to get back to the active lifestyle he grew up loving.
On his blog J.P. Wells Fitness, J.P. Wells shares his knowledge, and passions he has come to learn from the fitness industry, and fitness culture. He understands that health and fitness is not just a one-time choice, but a lifestyle. Success in your goals is not made up of large single decisions, but rather a series of small choices made well throughout every day.