Getting Sick and Losing Weight

This is a train of thought from my own little mind today, there is no medical basis or research that I have pursued to support it whatsoever.  It has to do with dieting during cold and flu season.

It’s a common joke people make. “I lost 6 pounds since I had the flu. Yay! I need to get sick more often!”  I have made that comment myself, and maybe AFTERWARD there is some truth to my words, but I know that DURING the illness, especially the miserable sick feeling that accompanies the never ending vomiting, my mind set is more like, “Please make it stop! I’ll absorb 20 pounds straight to my ass if you will just please for the love of God make. it. stop.”

I don’t think I have ever heard the topic flip flopped though. I have heard people say they feel like they get sick more often when dieting, but not so much, “Dieting gave me the flu.”  No, that doesn’t even make sense, right? Or does it?

First of all, “Diet” is a weird word. It has a bad connotation.  A lot of times people don’t want to admit they are on a diet. You may want your kids to be more active and trim some fat but you don’t want it to be said that you put them on a “diet”.  But diet really just means whatever it is that you eat.  A diet can consist of salad and cottage cheese or it could consist of pizza and beer. It does not necessarily go hand in hand with an attempt at weight loss.

How this relates to my cold/flu & weight loss ramblings today is although it may not immediately occur to you that trying to lose weight could increase your risk of getting sick during cold and flu season, it is actually health 101.  So basic we kind of forget about it.  Here’s what I’m thinking.

You are very likely to come into contact with contagious sick germs, right?  And the stronger and healthier your body is to begin with dictates your likelihood of getting sick.  So naturally if you are practicing some sort of starvation diet, your body, although it may be getting skinnier, is not going to be at its peak health to fight those germ bugs off.  You already know that starvation diets are unhealthy and ultimately result in weight gain.  Well also by not eating a balanced diet, or not eating at all, you are robbing your body of antioxidants and vitamins that good fresh food provides. This poor nutritional quality of diet will make your body very weak, increasing your susceptibility to all the bugs you come into contact with during the cold and flu season.

Now this is not to say that you cannot attempt to improve your level of health and fitness, and lose weight during the winter months. Increase your activity and decrease your food intake! Go for it! But make sure you are eating ENOUGH and that you are loading up good healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. With this “diet” you can lose some weight, get healthy, AND build a stronger body to carry you through to Spring.

In summary, I declare there is truth to the notion that trying to lose weight during the cold and flu season can make you sick.  What do you think?