‘Does this food love me?’: Expert advice to improve health while at home

July 10, 2020 | How to make it more likely you'll meet exercise goals (Dr. Michele Arthurs)

For many, coronavirus-related quarantine has resulted in lower activity levels and higher food consumption, but a Maryland doctor says making even little changes can help improve your health.

“If there’s very little activity that’s currently part of your daily routine, that’s OK — get ready to go! And start with something that’s modest, even if it’s just walking slowly 10 minutes a day,” said Dr. Michele Arthurs, a Kaiser Permanente family medicine doctor with an expertise in obesity medicine.

“Even 10 minutes a day, 15 minutes a day can lower blood sugar, lower blood pressure, help with sleep, help with things like anxiety,” Arthurs said. “Any exercise is better than no exercise.”

She advised increasing week-by-week the length of time you’re exercising and the intensity level, “Start low, go slow and then build to the fitness level that you can.”

As for food, Arthurs said now is a good time to take stock of what’s in the pantry and reflect on diet and snacking habits. Take everything out, examine the product’s expiration date and decide whether it needs to be in your home.

“Does this food love me? Is this something that I should be eating?” Arthurs said these are the questions you should ask yourself when sorting through your pantry.

She recommended educating yourself about how to accurately read food labels to better understand what you’re consuming. “You are what you eat,” Arthurs said.

Setting small goals that are measurable and attainable can give you something to look forward to, even if it’s just losing a few pounds or changing blood pressure by a few points.

“To make those goals that are actualized can, in a way, feel like a reward and can be validated soon,” Arthurs said.

A team or partner can help you stay on track.

You can get help and find more information on weight management along with tips and support for exercise and staying active on Kaiser Permanente’s website.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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