A special thank you to the author of this guest post, Dr. Ara Suppiah, a Florida ER Physician & Chief Wellness Officer. He has some great tips if you are feeling overwhelmed coming out of quarantine and stay home orders.
If you’ve been cooped up in quarantine mode eating comfort foods and binge watching TV for these last months, chances are your body could use some TLC about now. Losing weight and getting back in shape can seem overwhelming coming out of quarantine and stay at home orders. But the reason why people give up is because they focus on how far they have to go instead of how far they have come.
In my book, “Lose Weight & Feel Great Forever, an insider’s prescription to turbocharge your life now,” I provide a self-assessment quiz to help set your personal health GPS on a path toward wellness. The questions cover everything from diet, sleep habits and stress levels to relationships, exercise habits and whether you suffer from such things as allergies, gastrointestinal problems or anxiety.
Once you assess your starting point, my prescription is simple: Eat well, move daily, hydrate often, sleep lots, love your body. Repeat.
There’s no need to be embarrassed by where you are now. I recall being at my own GPS starting point. I thought of all the days I spent sitting in front of the TV with pizza, chicken wings and wine. Or the days when I was so busy in the ER, I literally went 14 hours without eating and then wolfed down my favorite Chinese takeout. But I was not informed.
Coming out of quarantine with the right diet
Our bodies crave food to fill a nutritional void. If you consume foods that don’t have much in the way of nutrients, chances are good you’ll be hitting the drive-through or vending machine for an unhealthy snack. Choosing superfoods to incorporate into your diet can help you improve your health coming out of quarantine.
Staple superfoods to consider including your diet:
Avocados. Avocados contain vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E, glutathione, monounsaturated fat and beta-sitosterol, which all help in maintaining a healthy heart and lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Malaysian palm oil. We want healthy fats such as butter, palm oil and olive oil. Palm oil is cholesterol-neutral and is nature’s richest source of vitamin E tocotrienols, which help in maintaining brain and liver health. Malaysian palm oil is certified as sustainably produced. It can be found in specialty grocery stores and online.
Berries. Berries are high in fiber, which is great for your digestive system and regulating blood sugar. Check out this recipe for an amazing strawberry vegan smoothie!
Broccoli. Full of fiber, low GI, important nutrients and tasty as well, broccoli is a wonderful food.
Eggs. Recent data show that egg consumers who reported eating four or more eggs per week actually had significantly lower average cholesterol levels than those who reported eating zero to one egg per week.
Get moving in the morning, before your brain figures out what you’re doing!
I’m reminded on every ER shift how obesity leads to atrophy and declining health. Folks, as recent history has taught us, tomorrow is uncertain. Be grateful for what you have today and make the decision to move. That’s it. No fancy plans, no amazing secrets.
One of the greatest ironies of medical school is that medical students spend years learning how to prescribe drugs, but never learn how to prescribe exercise. Exercise, which has been proven to be the best and most economical medicine of all, is simply not in the medical books.
Twenty minutes at the start of each day should be enough. Yes, you have a dozen tasks you need to do, but my best advice is to take 20 minutes for yourself first. Do this and you will be a better parent, spouse and employee. You set up your day to win. And you’ll lead by example. You owe that to yourself and your family.
I’ll admit, for years, I took pride in functioning “perfectly well” on four hours of sleep. It was a right of passage as part of my critical care, emergency medicine and surgical training. You had to prove you could function through significant sleep deprivation. Why? I have no idea.
The effects of long-term sleep deprivation are severe
Without enough sleep, the body’s immune system misfires, signs of aging appear rapidly and your body breaks down prematurely. You soon develop lines and wrinkles. Chronic sleep deprivation also increases your body fat.
I list several recommendations in my book including avoiding coffee, eating and exercise within three hours before bed; keeping the room temperature cool; and keeping your phone, tablet or other electronic device out of the bedroom.
Small changes + time = huge results
The body achieves what the mind believes. Start today and never look back. Expect to fail sometimes but never give up.
Now, it feels as if the world has hit the ‘restart’ button. As you emerge from your stay-at-home routines, You cannot change your past but you can shape your future. Consciously focusing on a healthy body is the first step in your new life.
For healthy recipes using sustainable ingredients to help fuel your health journey, visit www.PalmOilHealth.org.
About the author: Dr. Ara Suppiah
A lifelong athlete, Dr. Ara Suppiah knows what it takes for an athlete to achieve his or her potential and thrives on creating optimal health in each of his patients. Born in Malaysia, he was awarded a merit based scholarship to study Medicine at Liverpool University in the United Kingdom. 20 years later, having practiced medicine all around the world, he has a reputation for getting quick results and communicating in a simple manner that resonates with patients from all walks of life.
During his career, Dr. Ara has been a physician on the European Tour, multiple European Ryder Cup Teams and most recently on the PGA Tour establishing himself as a pioneer in the fast developing field of Golf Medicine & Wellness. Currently, Dr. Ara is a highly sought after personal physician on the PGA and LPGA Tour, treating an A list roster that includes Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker, Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan and Anna Nordqvist. He also maintains his position as a practicing ER Physician & Chief Wellness Officer as a Florida Emergency Physician. Just in case that wasn’t enough he has also recently become a faculty member at the University of Central Florida Medical School in the heart of the newly constructed Lake Nona medical city. This varied practice ensures his knowledge remains at the forefront in his field.
In March 2014, Dr. Ara was appointed as the first Medical Analyst on the Golf Channel in order to share his inside knowledge on various player injuries and how they can be avoided and remedied so viewers at home can take the same advice into account in their day to day routines. Previously he has been featured in the BBC series Trauma. Relentlessly passionate about maximizing health and athletic performance, Dr. Ara’s first book, “Lose Weight and Feel Great now: The Insider’s Prescription to Turbocharging your Life!” was released in November 2013.
I hope you loved this article and found some helpful tips as you navigate these times coming out of quarantine and stay at home orders! We are all at different points mentally with this pandemic. Some of you, like me, may not be comfortable stepping out of your homes. While others must return to the office or feel comfortable venturing out with masks and safety precautions. Whatever your personal situation is, I hope these words from an expert help you plan and move forward.