Well, it’s been a week since I started to hunker down to help flatten the corona virus curve. I now have a virtual office, which has worked very nicely. I also have time … more time than I’ve had for years. I’m not traveling; all workshops and talks have been cancelled. It’s kind of nice to stop the rat race—corona virus aside, that is. At least, that’s what I am saying one week into this “new normal” lifestyle. We’ll see how long that lasts. (Note: If I had little kids at home, I’d likely be singing a different tune..)
When meeting virtually with my clients this first week of shut-down, I found they fell into four different categories:
- Those who were grazing throughout the day, without structure and on a weight-gain path.
- Those who were afraid to eat because they couldn’t workout at the gym. They are thinking they only deserve to eat if they have a machine that tells them they’ve burned XXX calories..
- Those who have created a very rigid eating and exercise schedule, in efforts to be able to control something in their lives. They could easily end up over-exercising and injured.
- Those who have maintained their typical eating patterns and have figured out how to maintain fitness with a new exercise program.
If you are one of those with no structure, too much structure, and/or fears of “getting fat,” here are some suggestions that might be helpful.
- Plan a daily schedule that includes (more or less) when you wake up, eat meals, exercise, watch TV, read books, do work/homework, etc. Structure helps maintain sanity. If you are afraid you will spend all day exercising, limit your activity to one hour of hard exercise and one or two hours of light, gentle activity (walking, playing with the dog, yoga, etc.) Don’t exhaust yourself, filling every possible minute burning off calories.
- Spend time eating slowly, tasting the food and being mindful. No need to gulp and gobble meals and snacks on the run. Eat when you feel hunger; stop when you feel fed.
- Practice eating “normally”. That includes eating foods that you truly want to eat (as opposed to what you “should” eat). Enjoy the foods in appropriate portions.
- If you are afraid to have yummy food in the house because you might overeat it, understand that denial of favorite foods leads to “last chance eating.”(You know, “I shouldn’t be eating these Oreos, so I’d better eat them all now to get rid of them.”) When you practice eating your fear-foods meal after meal after meal, you’ll soon get sick and tired of them.
- If you find yourself spending too much time thinking about food, weight and exercise right now, I highly recommend you reach out to a registered dietitian (RD) who is a certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). (Nutrition services commonly get covered by health insurance.) Many of us are working virtually right now and can help you find peace with food and your body.