BY Dr. Sanjiva Wijesinha

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t abated as yet, it is time to start thinking about other health problems (i.e. other than the coronavirus) that can affect us.

I’m particularly concerned about some of the health effects of the pandemic after being ‘confined to barracks’ as a result of being unable to take part in the usual activities that help us burn the calories we accumulate through the food we consume.

And since we had nothing much to do except stay at home, eat and sleep, many of us were inclined to eat more than we usually do. Some friends who weren’t able to see us during the lockdowns now greet us with the undiplomatic but common Sri Lankan greeting: ‘What men, you have put on weight since I last saw you, no?’

The problem is that people have been set free by inactivity to practise what’s often termed as the ‘see food diet.’

Unlike a seafood diet – which is actually quite healthy with nutritious seafood and vegetables – a see food diet can be summed up by the simple philosophy: ‘I see food, I want to eat it! ’

Instead of following the example of our president who continues to maintain the appearance of a fit army officer, we try to emulate his overfed ministers – many of whom have expanded their waistlines in the aftermath of assuming power!

So what can we do to get back to a healthy weight… and lose the extra kilos we put on during the lockdowns?

The simplest technique is to learn how to do a ‘bypass.’

Of course, the bypass I’m referring to doesn’t involve major chest surgery or grafting blood vessels to bypass the diseased and damaged arteries in your heart. Having said that, if you continue to put on weight and give your heart more work than it was designed for, you will without a doubt develop high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

So what I’m advising you to do is bypass the food that you see in front of you!

If you see food, you should pass by it – meaning, walk past and resist the temptation to indulge. Simply because you have a couple of bottles of beer or spirits in your house and have nothing to do doesn’t mean you should have a drink or two with all the extra calories that they contain.

When you sit down to a meal, serve yourself half the quantity of food that you’d usually take. And if you are still a little hungry after eating, drink water or a similar liquid to temporarily fill the space in your stomach.

Getting up from the table and walking away even if you’re a little hungry is a good thing; it won’t harm you – and if you keep up the good work, you’ll soon notice your clothes starting to feel a little loose.

Remember that putting on extra weight is very easy but shedding it isn’t as simple. So keep the bypass in mind the next time you see food… and don’t put everything you see in your mouth!