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Losing your “COVID-19”

Airmen with the 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, receive dinner in Crow Agency, Mont., Aug. 1, 2017. Force Support Squadron services specialists provided meal support to the unit members while they built veterans’ homes for the Innovative Readiness Training program. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Lealan Buehrer)

Airmen with the 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, receive dinner in Crow Agency, Mont., Aug. 1, 2017. Force Support Squadron services specialists provided meal support to the unit members while they built veterans’ homes for the Innovative Readiness Training program. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Lealan Buehrer)

PEORIA, Ill. --

Between the global pandemic shutting down gyms and the Air Force halting fitness assessments, a lot of you reading this are going to have to drop your “COVID-19”. During my activation from March through May 2020, I gained about 15 pounds. The worst part was, I was trying to drop five pounds of winter/holiday weight before that. When I got home, my clothes didn’t fit, and I felt miserable. Fourteen days of quarantine was not enough time to undo the damage to my waist line from the previous 70 days. One year later, I’m down 17 pounds. How? Let’s talk basics:

Diet. I stopped eating fast food, restaurant food and sweets. If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t buy into fads or famines. Eat real food. If it’s something you could raise or grow yourself, it is real food. If you can only get it in a box, a bag or a can…avoid it.

Sugar. “Added sugar” is bad for you. It makes you fat because your body stores excess sugar as fat. Read labels and avoid any “added sugar”. For a detailed look at what sugar does to your body read Zero Sugar Diet by David Zinczenko. (Preview: Fruits, grains, nuts and other “sugar” containing foods are OK. Honey, juice, and, of course, table sugar, are not.)

Alcohol. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, stop drinking. Stop for at least two weeks. Then moderate. Women can drink one 6-ounce glass of red wine and men up to two per day and stay healthy. But if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to avoid it.

Exercise. Get outside! Sunlight has Vitamin D (a natural immune booster) and cardio is how you drop pounds. If it’s been a while, start with brisk walking and plenty of stretching and water. Work your way up to your 1.5 mile PT run by adding in progressively longer segments of jogging.

Like I said, these are just the basics. There are many other topics that I could cover, like smoking, sleep habits, medications, metabolism and your genetics. But if you start with the basics, you’ll see results.