Plenty of Time on Your Hands Means Even More Challenging Temptations
Being ordered to stay at home has left many people feeling out of their element while under their own roof. They have been forced to abandon their usual routines, often including regular meal and exercise regimens designed to motivate and maintain healthy living.
Whether having been existing successfully without carbohydrates, caffeine, or cabernet, some people who lost the security of structure fell off the wagon.
How does this happen?
How do we recognize when we need to make a change?
Nipping Tempations in the Bud: Recognize Wrong Routines
Some people quarantined at home are exercising, observing a low-carb/ low-fat diet, and engaging in mind-expanding activities such as learning a new language or taking classes remotely.
Most people are not.
A significant amount of people quarantined at home, at least when the teleworking day is done for people lucky enough to have that option, are not pursuing self-improvement, but self-medication.
An article by Jack Kelly in Forbes describes how many Americans are indulging while inside: eating, drinking, smoking pot, and engaging in virtual entertainment.
Unfortunately, modern virtual entertainment does not only include video games; it includes plenty of unwholesome options as well — like pornography.
Eating Well Versus Living Well
Leslie Patton in Bloomberg describes what many Americans are eating in quarantine.Luxury items enjoyed while sheltering in place include chocolate, champagne, and pastry, although less expensive options are popular as well.
As early as the first week of March, 2020, Patton notes that data tracker Nielsen showed increased sales of potato chips, ice cream, chocolate, and popcorn.
Regarding beverages paired with the carb-fest, Patton notes that Beau Joie Champagne reported its sales jumped 40% from March 14-19, 2020, "to approach levels usually seen around Christmas and New Year’s Eve."
What are people celebrating as they clink their champagne glasses in quarantine?
Perhaps successfully waiting out this period of home confinement.
In modern times, Americans are also filling their glasses with alcohol alternatives.
Paul Sawers, in VentureBeat, notes that Cann, a California-based startup selling low-dose cannabis drinks, has reportedly experienced a 300% month-on-month sales increase in March 2020, more than double January and February sales combined.
Regarding the choice of vices in anxious times, Sawers quotes Cann cofounder Luke Anderson, who stated his view that even before Covid 19, many people were already seeking to moderate or reduce their alcohol consumption.
In his words, "With so many health-conscious consumers in the market today, vices that are 'better for you’ are performing extremely well."
Beverage sales indicate some people are not drinking for relaxation, but looking to recharge — although apparently in a calorie-laden fashion. True, we miss our favorite coffee shops, but many people are craving more than just a black cup of the straight blend of the day.
Patton reports that New Barn Organics experienced the demand for creamy barista-style almond milk increase four-fold, becoming the company’s top seller, beating out its no-sugar, lower-calorie version.
Patton quotes New Barn Chief Executive Officer Ted Robb’s take on society’s shifting culinary preferences, "People are not shifting into healthier food. . . . They’re shifting into comfort food."
Consistent with the theme of being comfortable, Patton also quotes the conclusion of Julie Anna Potts, CEO of the North American Meat Institute. She describes eating meat, amidst current times of anxiety, as not an indulgence, but as something that makes us "feel secure."
Face the Music by Facing the Fridge: Will You Emerge Fit or Fat?
Face the truth: open your refrigerator or pantry and honestly assess if it looks different than three months ago. Are you stocking indulgences that would be normally off limits — out of fear that grocery stores will go out of business?
If so, recognizing this unhealthy practice is the first step.
The second step should be on the scale, where you will be confronted with your answer to the first step.
Many homebound workers admit they are going to emerge from this period of confinement either fit or fat. Wearing pajamas around the clock (except for virtual meetings, which only requires participants to be dressed well from the waist up) does not indicate how "regular" clothes are going to fit once the period of quarantine is over.
So perhaps a meal of frozen pizza and beer is a chance to cherish time with loved ones, and ice cream for dessert is a transitory indulgence.
But whether you are teleworking or otherwise seeking structure amidst uncertainty, the goal is to create healthy routines, and avoid developing bad habits.
Grocery stores are restocking, and delivery options are increasing. Living healthier now will ensure you enjoy even more quality time in the future.
This article was originally published in Psychology Today.
Wendy L. Patrick is a career prosecutor, named the Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year, and recognized by her peers as one of the Top Ten criminal attorneys in San Diego by the San Diego Daily Transcript. She has completed over 150 trials ranging from human trafficking, to domestic violence, to first-degree murder. She is President of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals San Diego Chapter and an ATAP Certified Threat Manager. Dr. Patrick is a frequent media commentator with over 4,000 appearances including CNN, Fox News Channel, Newsmax, and many others. She is author of "Red Flags" (St. Martin´s Press), and co-author of the revised version of the New York Times bestseller "Reading People" (Random House). On a personal note, Dr. Patrick holds a purple belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, is a concert violinist with the La Jolla Symphony, and plays the electric violin with a rock band. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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