The Freshman-15 occurs when college freshman, with new found virtually unlimited access to food, gain an average of 15-pounds over their first year in college. For many of us, a similar phenomenon is being repeated during the coronavirus-induced lock-down. We are self-exiled in our homes with round-the-clock access to food, especially ultra-processed, sugary, high-fat junk foods. When you mix extreme food accessibility with high stress and a lot of boredom, the result is that the temptation to overeat may be overwhelming. As a consequence, the “Freshman-15” may be replaced by the “Covid-19.” Of course, you are not likely to gain exactly 19-pounds, after all, you might even gain more than that, but, the likelihood that you gain some meaningful weight is very real.
The Whole Brain Diet Lifestyle, with the Take 5 technique, may aptly be described as an anti-Coronavirus diet lifestyle. During the new era of self-isolation, with perpetual food accessibility, fueled by high stress and high anxiety, it’s never been more difficult to resist the temptation to eat, and overeat, unhealthful foods. The Take 5 technique is the perfect antidote to defuse and disarm the physical-emotional cravings driving us to eat/overeat unhealthy foods, by providing a brief buffer period to allow these craving impulses to dissipate and also by helping to mitigate the inevitable stress of confinement.
The Whole Brain Diet Lifestyle, powered by Take 5, helps you to lose weight, reduce stress and eat/overeat less ultra-processed foods. Weight gain and junk foods and especially obesity, are known to depress and weaken our immune system functioning. Based on data from abroad and from the CDC, after “old age” the factor that is most highly correlated with getting Covid-19, requiring hospitalization and possible subsequent death, is obesity and a very strong, enhanced immune system function, may mitigate some of this risk. The Whole Brain Diet Lifestyle helps to strengthen the immune system.
Take 5 is the solution to this dilemma of unparalleled access to food imposed by our home confinement. Our food access has now gone from being metaphorically 24/7 to literally 24/7, with negative consequences for our waistline. The Take 5 technique, is at the core of the Whole Brain Diet Lifestyle plan described in my newly released book (on Amazon.com), TAKE 5: A Transformative Diet Lifestyle in the Era of the Coronavirus. As Holocaust survivor and philosopher, Viktor Frankl once said, in the space between a stimulus (e.g., a snack craving) and a semi-automatic response (e.g. seeking and consuming a snack), we always have a discrete choice (e.g., to snack or not to snack.) Take 5 makes us much more aware, and by amplifying this “space,” provides us with a brief buffer period in which the momentum driving us to snack can be interrupted and effectively defused.
Take 5 significantly increases your self-control by breaking the momentum of the craving impulses driving you to snack. Of course, even better than not having to fight-off a snack temptation, is to not face it in the first place. Take 5 can help here too. When you are food shopping, whether in-store or online, you can employ a Take 5 pause, before you put an unhealthy high-sugar, high-calorie food or snack into your cart, or, at least before you proceed to check-out.
Take 5 is actually conceptually simple, highly understandable and quite intuitively appealing. The technique encompasses the following 7-steps:
- Tell yourself, “(Repeat ‘Your Name’), Take 5.”
- Breathe slowly and deeply in and out. Repeat 5-times.
- Drink a large glass of iced-water.
- Label the feeling you are experiencing as a snack craving and as stress.
- Repeat to yourself (or even better out loud): (‘Your Name’), is feeling a craving to eat an unhealthy, high-sugar snack and this is causing “him/her’ some stress, but, ‘he/she’ has the power to choose to yield to this temptation, or not, the choice is ‘his/hers.’
- Vividly use your imagination to conjure up an image of your eating the snack you were craving while relaxing on the beach on a beautiful, sunny day or any relaxing scene you can imagine.
- Make a commitment to wait a full 5-minutes before responding to your craving.
The Whole Brain Diet Lifestyle also helps you to reduce and manage the stress that depletes your self-control and makes it much more likely that you yield to the temptations of an alluring snack. In addition to using Take 5 to disarm an immediate craving, the Take 5 tool, when employed every two or three hours, gives you a 5-minute window to meditate, unwind and release some negative emotions. This has a powerful and effective stress-mitigating effect than can diminish the urgency you experience when faced with a new craving impulse.
The Whole Brain Diet Lifestyle, powered by the Take 5 technique, is uniquely well-suited to halt your weight gain, deter the onset of obesity and help you to lose a lot of weight, in this era of the Coronavirus. That makes adopting this lifestyle now more important than ever.