Pleasurable, Practical Healthy Habits – For Now and Forever!

Anyone can lapse - even an expert!

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Healthy habits have been a priority for me for awhile. As a psychotherapist, author, and former emotional overeater, I take pride in my professional and personal focus on health and wellness. So I was surprised at first when checking my scale, one month into quarantine, to find that I’d gained several pounds. And then, remembering the advice I give to others – “Learn from your lapses.” – I asked myself, “What has changed?” and “What do you need to tweak?”

Even for those of us who usually practice healthy habits, the coronavirus crisis, altering our locales and schedules drastically, can be disorienting and take us off-track.

So I did a quick recap. Yes, I’m still exercising I thought. I do handle stress with CBT, answering back any pain-producing thoughts as a compassionate, yet logical friend would do. I do eat mindfully, relax and savor my foods, stopping just at the point of satisfaction – certainly at meals. But my unstructured time has expanded, and the non-caloric beverages (water, ice tea, etc.,) that I used to drink at the office or when out for a break aren’t happening. And what is happening instead? Frequent snacks.

The “one minute monitor”, a mnemonic device I suggest to my clients – Am I doing what’s best for mySELF – Stress Management, Enjoyable Exercise, Loving My Food (Mindful Eating), Filling Up First on Healthy Foods and Fluids (including a lot of water) – and the question, “Am I a ‘light” eater?” (enjoying evenings and unstructured time food-free) – helped me find the answers.

All the pointers above are included in my book “Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A Five Point Plan for Success” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018) in which the emphasis is on making healthy habits as pleasurable and practical as possible, so they can be permanent. But at times like this, it’s now apparent to me that everyone – no matter how expert we believe ourselves to be – need to regroup, up our awareness and improve our efforts.

Now I’m drinking more water, reading books that are more engrossing (so that munching never even comes to mind). and heading out for walks when the thought of a snack seems appealing. And I’m playing more piano. So what about mistakes?! It’s fun.

I hope this is helpful. Stay well!

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