Full disclosure: I’ve been in and out of WW (formerly Weight Watchers) since the sixties when I joined my mother’s battle with the scale. That was back when we had to eat liver every week and could never eat pasta. In those days, no one had ever heard of spaghetti squash, zoodles, or whole wheat pasta. We ate our spaghetti sauce atop canned bean sprouts. <shudder>
As years passed, I joined again (and again, and again…) in the 70s, 80s, and 90s to lose the baby weight that for some reason hung around as my daughters approached and then zipped through their teens. When I turned fifty and the scale seemed stuck at just over 200 pounds, I joined again. But this time I promised myself I simply wouldn’t quit till I achieved my goal—Lifetime status. And nearly twenty years ago I finally did it.
So, I know a thing or two about losing and maintaining my weight. Healthy behaviors have become habits. Sure, I slip up now and then, but what I’ve learned from nearly fifty years of Weight Watching will help me not gain weight (or commit murder) during this crisis.
- Baby steps. My routines, my normal life has been turned upside down, so I’m re-establishing my routines. WW taught me to set tiny goals that are 100% achievable so that I feel successful. I practice one until it becomes a habit. I eat a fruit or veg at every meal. Keep my food diary. Take a walk. Eat a salad today. Put on pants that zip at least once a week.
- Be aware of my emotional triggers. Stress. Boredom. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. Certain people. I’ve learned to come up with a few non-food strategies to help me cope. It helps if the strategy keeps my hands busy and me out of the kitchen. I do my nails. Work on crafts. Meditate. Walk around the block. Phone a friend. Pull some weeds. Write. Clean something.
- Be aware of my trigger foods and keep them out of the house. Or at least out of sight. Just seeing or smelling some foods can stimulate my appetite. (Hello, Cinnabon?) I keep healthy choices front and center and at eye level in the pantry and fridge. That HUGE Costco bag of chocolate chips? It lives behind a bunch of other stuff in the closet down the hall.
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Some protein, whole grains, a fruit or veg, maybe some dairy. One good choice leads to another. A doughnut just leads to another doughnut.
- Move. The gyms and yoga studios might be closed, but sidewalks and trails are not. And there is plenty of access to workouts on streaming services. I even found a yoga channel on Roku. And that apparatus I’ve been using as a laundry rack? Turns out it’s an elliptical! Audio books from OverDrive and podcasts from Stitcher keep me entertained while I earn my steps.
- Positive self-talk. If I mess up, I try to talk to myself the way I’d talk to a friend who’d confessed to eating half a pan of brownies. I forgive myself and move on.
- Get dressed. The person I see in the mirror influences me. She either inspires me or causes me to give up. When I look even slightly put together (dressed, hair fixed, a little lipstick) I treat myself better and make better choices. Besides, without at least a little primping, I could easily be mistaken for one of the dead.
Finally, whenever I lose my motivation, it helps to remember WHY I am practicing social distancing. It’s not just for my health, but for everyone in my community. Everyone in my family. Flattening the curve and slowing the transmission of COVID-19 will save lives. Maybe mine. I can also be grateful to the essential workers who are risking their health so that I can stay home.
Stay well. Stay home. And wash your hands.
PS: You’ll find more helpful tips in the Healthy Habits for Happy Humans section. Just click. I’m FULL of good advice. Ask anyone.