Total Health Take Back: A New Lifestyle Plan for COVID-19

Help strengthen the body’s defenses as we wait for a vaccine.

By Brittany Leitner
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Changes You Can Make From Home Right Now to Take Back Your Total Health (2:59)

System 20 was the most engaged-with lifestyle plan on DoctorOz.com in the 11-season history of The Dr. Oz Show. As we approach the summer (with life looking very different than it did in January), it’s time to hit refresh on the plan so many of you started a few months ago. Even if you’re just learning about System 20 for the first time, you can start Dr. Oz’s new Total Health Take Back plan for quarantine today. 

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The plan brings together new goals for sleep, mental health, meals, and exercise, but also aims to lower your risk for COVID-19 complications by working on blood pressure numbers, blood sugar levels, and teaching you how to be proactive about caring for your immune system. Life is moving slower right now and health should be your number one priority in quarantine. Here’s how to get started with the Total Health Take Back.

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What to Eat During Your 12-Hour Window

As with System 20, Total Health Take Back incorporates intermittent fasting. All of your meals and snacks for the day should be consumed within a 12-hour period. Each meal you eat should include a protein, greens, and beans. This plan is totally free of added sugars and incorporates low-carb eating, but it’s not about being perfect. You can have a “cheat day” at least once a week where you can indulge in your high-carb pasta cravings. Additionally, try adding at least 1,200 milligrams of vitamin D to your diet daily.

You’re allowed to have dessert like 1 ounce of dark chocolate or fruit — reach for that when you’re craving carbs. You can also have two alcoholic drinks per week on the plan (if you desire). Try to avoid drinks with added sugars and instead incorporate fresh fruit juice and club soda for your mix-ins. Check out all the Total Health Take Back recipes and start meal planning now. All recipes are designed with ingredients that you can pull from your pantry or freezer. 

How to Incorporate Exercise... for Free

Being physically fit may help speed COVID-19 recovery. Starting a workout regimen now can be one of the greatest weapons you have against fighting COVID-19 from home. On the Total Health Take Back plan, you should work out for 20 minutes, three times per week to help lower your blood pressure. The workouts in this plan are not just focused on weight loss; they’re designed to make your arteries more flexible (i.e. healthy). In order to do so, this plan is focused on HIIT training, or high intensity interval training. HIIT training combines short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest, or lower-intensity exercise. This helps get your heart rate up to help you burn more fat. HIIT workouts include jumping jacks, high knees, and squats.

To make getting started as easy as possible for you, Dr. Oz partnered with Yusef Myers, creator of PRX workouts, to share a series of free workouts with DoctorOz.com readers.

In addition to these workouts, the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has partnered with Dr. Oz to give readers on the Total Health Take Back plan access to free fitness classes at home. Now is a great time to experiment with different workouts at home, so when quarantine orders are lifted, you know which classes you’d like to get involved with in person. 

If HIIT workouts seem intimidating, don’t worry or shy away from working out all together. You can work up to it by starting out with low-impact workouts like yoga or even walking in place. You can search for something that’s on a beginner level on IHRSA’s website as well. 

Connection & Mental Health

A huge component of the Total Health Take Back plan is mental health. Making room for connection and joy each day can directly help combat anxiety, stress, and even emotional eating. Make room for 30 minutes of joy per day. This can include trying a new craft or hobby, video chatting friends and family, or even starting a dance party in your house (a great way to pass the time while cooking!). 

Aim to meditate for at least five minutes per day. Free guided meditations are available on DoctorOz.com and the Sharecare app. If meditation feels intimidating, work your way up to it. You can start even simpler by practicing gratitude, which has similar health benefits of meditation. Learn easy ways to practice gratitude in a way that benefits your mental and physical health here

You can read more on how this plan is tailored to health issues that plague the United States from Dr. Oz’s article on Medium. Getting in control of your physical and mental health is one of the most effective ways you can prepare for COVID-19. Check back on the Total Health Take Back page on DoctorOz.com frequently for updates, lifestyle tips, and recipes. 

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Article written by Brittany Leitner