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Old 10-10-2021, 05:04 AM   #1
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Default Advice on changing bad habits

I have let myself slip into some bad habits particularly since COVID hit. Now that I知 vaccinated I have been venturing out again but I知 spending too much money on eating out and I知 eating too much in general. I have been gaining a bit of weight and it痴 triggering some body shame. I知 even having trouble showering because I知 ashamed of my body and I don稚 want to be naked. Any way I can break out of this? I have a therapist but he and I are working on some other issues.
"We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight ask himself if it's him or them that's insane"- Bob Dylan

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Old 10-10-2021, 01:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Advice on changing bad habits

I have also fallen into some bad habits since the SARS-CoVID pandemic so my heart goes out to you. Lately I have been eating some unhealthy foods and gaining unwanted weight.

Something that helps me is to try and do a little something each day to fight my bad habits. Fighting bad habits has an aspect like a battle and an aspect like a war. One cannot win a war in a day. Sometimes one has be content to win battles.

Sometimes I lose a battle against a bad habit but I try not to beat myself up over it. In a war there will be battles that will be lost, bad days, misfortunes, reversals. I think that as long as one keeps fighting it is something very noble and heroic.

Something that also helps me is to put things into perspective.

There are bad actions and then there are BAD actions. A couple of men in the last 100 years caused the destruction of tens of millions of people through genocide and campaigns of forced starvation. I am thinking of men like Hitler and Stalin. Now that is something really bad.

Although having some bad habits is not a good thing, it is not nearly as bad as causing genocide. But one can easily lose perspective and start to feel guilt for things, guilt that is not appropriate to the level of one's not so good actions.

Today I ate an entire bag of potato chips. I felt very bad about it and started to beat myself up mentally. But then I put my action into perspective. Eating a whole bag of chips is not good. But it is far, far, far, far, far less awful than causing the Holocaust, like Hitler did.

On the scale of good and bad, eating too many chips is a small thing. Since I suffer from depression, it easy for me to experience inappropriate levels of guilt over things. That is part of depression.

If I fail at something, I also try to balance it out that very same day by trying to do something good.

Today after failing to control my appetite, I gave some food to some ants that live by my house. I put some food by an ant hill and watched the little ants carry it into their ant colony.

Winter is coming and the ants will soon have to live out the winter on the food they have stored. So I gave a little help to them, my brother and sister creatures. And now I don't feel so bad about the chips I ate.

Some days when I have failed at something, I will just come onto these Forums and offer a little support to those who, like me, are struggling. Sometimes one can transmute failure into success.

I hope you find something that helps you. I can totally relate to body shame. It is something that afflicts me too, so I feel for you. Sorry that I don't know how to be helpful. It is so hard to be really helpful to people who are struggling. I wish you only the very best!
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Advice on changing bad habits

I'm overweight too but am happy. Hmmm, well, if you are going outside, go for a long walk. You can still eat out, just add in some exercise. If you eat out, eat at a place far away from home, then you are forced to walk. I sometimes do this.
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Old 10-14-2021, 03:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Advice on changing bad habits

I think it's great that you're venturing out and I hope you'll continue to do so. The weather is likely milder in most places so walks may be more pleasant.

As for eating out, simply going to get tea or coffee out can satisfy that desire. You can simply just eat food at home or even bring a small sandwich to eat in a park with the tea/coffee you bought. Or, pick places with lighter options. Sushi/maki with miso soup instead of cheese burger and fries? Salad and broth-based or veggie soup instead of pizza? When I yearn for sweet, a skim milk cappuccino with cinnamon on top can satisfy that urge, also giving me some calcium.

Instead of buying food, you could treat yourself to something non caloric. Maybe a scarf or inexpensive hand bag? Neither should cause sadness about not fitting. Or if food, maybe a veggie or fruit from the grocery store that you rarely eat, and like. Best if in season.

I may get snickers at this, but sometimes meal planning is fun for me. Count the calories while challenging yourself to finding the most satisfying foods for the least of them. "Dieting" does not have to mean only eating dry iceberg lettuce and carrot sticks. You'd be surprised what you can have for under 2,000 calories per day. It just takes that planning.

I posted some observations about a fitness and weight loss journey I took in the past, with examples of good bang for the buck recipes at:

Week 3 – Friday Fitness & Weight Loss Restart (Yummy food helps me lose) – Bird Flight
Week 2 – Friday Fitness & Weight Loss Restart (Cognitive Distortion?) – Bird Flight
Dx: Bipolar type 1

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* Carbamazepine ER (Tegretol XR) 600 mg
* Lamotrigine (Lamictal) 125 mg
* Quetiapine ER (Seroquel XR) 550 mg
* Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg, only "as needed"
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Old 10-17-2021, 07:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice on changing bad habits

I struggle with bad habits, too.

Although the pandemic scared me straight into quitting smoking cold turkey about 19 months ago, I think I replaced it with bad habits of eating. It took a while for me to heal from some undetectable respiratory illness back in March 2020 (the VA ran every test plus the Covid-19 test twice, and negative across the board; my blood work was abnormal though, and I had some labored breathing and chest pains and loss of appetite and mild fever). I quit smoking and isolated in place ever since. When I finally got ahold of real masks I wore them.

But then I got my appetite back, and my olfactory senses were improving over time because I quit smoking. My cilia cells love me for that! So, I can taste my food better. I was in awe. I had initially lost 30 pounds from March 2020 to about May 2020. In June 2020, I started eating more. Then by now - October 2021 - I had noticed that I gained all the weight back. I'm 70 pounds overweight, give or take 10 pounds for my age, and I was halfway there to losing the weight. Now I'm back to where I started. I'm grateful for quitting smoking - the worst of all bad habits. But now I have to deal with what I think was its replacement - food.

I don't binge eat, but sometimes I'll eat when I'm bored, or I'll have bigger portions than I should have, or I'll be eating more sweets. I don't like salty foods or chips these days, but I do love cheese and chocolate. I also love ice cream. I'm also dealing with GERD/acid reflux, IBS, distention, and gas (probably from being lactose intolerant), but the taste of food brought me some joy to being isolated for over a year and a half. I know I need to lose weight, and I know that I eventually will. I'm just giving myself some time to adjust and celebrate my huge accomplishment of quitting smoking.

The stress of this pandemic weighs on us, and that means weight can actually and literally be put on us, LOL. So many people are fat-shaming those with Covid-19 or those who need vaccines and boosters first or those who are being prioritized in healthcare. Weight and metabolic disorders are not solely the fault of the person; it's really difficult to maintain weight when insomnia, hereditary factors, certain medications, stress, trauma, and certain mental health disorders increases insulin resistance, metabolic disorders, and weight gain. The Obesity Code book describes all the possible etiologies of weight gain and obesity, and how it's really difficult to keep the weight off. It's also difficult to do any diet when the issue concerning mental health, pills, and insomnia all compete with the diets and exercise (if you're not physically disabled) thought to help manage weight (they only help with weight in the short-term, but not in the long-term, which is why people keep gaining the weight back).

We should not shame ourselves, even if society shames us, for our weight. We should see what small steps we can do to maintain a healthier lifestyle, and to still enjoy the pleasures of life in moderation. That's what the Obesity Code book states, too. It states that you can still eat cake and what not, but only reserve that for special occasions, like maybe four or so times out of the year, give or take. The Obesity Code book also states many other helpful things.

Some doctors have alternatives to the Obesity Code book, since it is somewhat controversial. So you can pick and choose the diet book or weight management book that is best for you.

You can ask your primary care doctor for starters, but you can also ask your therapist (if you have one). They might be able to offer some help with weight management.

As far as going out a lot, it's whatever your risk tolerance is. My risk tolerance is really low, so I don't go anywhere. Others, for whatever reasons (health or psychological) have higher risk tolerances during a pandemic. But if it is causing you financial and/or physiological and/or psychological distress, then you can find other solutions like learning how to cook good meals at home and then sharing them via Zoom or with a trusted "safety pod" of vaccinated persons, for example. You can also do Zoom exercises or stretches or yoga with others, while going for walks, if your health allows. If you're disabled or have pain issues or have fatigue issues, then ask your doctor what you can do to pace yourself with food and exercise.

The pandemic is stressful and traumatic. It's also longer than we had expected, and it might turn into this new norm of a prolonged endemic, sadly. It's therefore no wonder why people are turning to whatever coping skills they find to help soothe them from all these stressors and traumas. They might not be the best coping skills, but it's understandable why we are all finding different things to cope with these stressful times.
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Old 11-14-2021, 06:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Advice on changing bad habits

Hey annoyedgrunt8,

I have struggled with weight since my teens...I have lost a bit of weight, so I can share what I did, but ultimately, you have to carve out a path that works best for you.

First, it's not about being fat or slim, it's about doing things which are good for your body. It's a lifelong process and habits we all have to develop for as long as we are alive!

There used to be a time whenever I went out grocery shopping, I used buy a bag full just of snacks. After family intervention (for everyone) that became just 1 salty snack and 1 biscuit packet. Then slowly, it became once a week thing. Now I buy snacks sparingly and I buy the smallest packet, because big packets will be consumed.

Mirror neurons can be really helpful. I used to find cooking really boring, so I used to watch cooking videos - the Tasty videos kind - just cooking no talking. When you watch someone do something, your part of brain involved in action activates too. Watching cooking vids helped me cook at home. Same mirror neurons work with exercising vids too!

Third, I reduced the window of eating. I would avoid eating for 16 hours (you can choose lesser hours - say avoid eating 2 hours before sleeping and 1 hour after waking up). When the window to eat reduces, the amount you eat reduces too, as there's only so much you can eat in given period. Again, but when I ate - I ate well....just whole grains food. I even included healthier desserts like made of dates or just have dried fruits or cashew and raisins. However, if I really had a craving, I wouldn't deny myself of eating things I love.

Fourth, I did a little calorie count - not in a very conscious "stick to this number" way, but just a general idea. It just made me realize how sometimes a full meal (which is far more filling) contains same calories as some calorie dense snack. It's good to be aware of how much we are eating.....just don't have to be very strict about it!

Fifth and most important, I started cooking the next meal beforehand. I am still struggling to make it into a habit - but I try to make breakfast before I sleep, lunch in morning and prep for dinner. When we are hungry and there's nothing to eat, we start to eat absolute nonsense. Having food beforehand, somehow, even reduces hunger.....I think being hungry and not having something substantial to eat triggers some primitive part of the brain that sense starvation signal that anticipates famine. Kinda like going hungry to supermarket makes you buy snacks more! Again, it's tough to maintain, but if it becomes a habit, it can be so useful. I manage to do it once a week...then it's back to square one....LOL!

Sixth, see if yoga works for you. It's designed to create a healthy relationship between your body and mind (mind's half the battle). It's in my to-do list, but do give it a shot if it works for you.

So my 2 cents. Again, only you can figure out what's holding you back and what works for you to live a healthier lifestyle. Here's an inspiring documentary, if you haven't seen already - Weight Loss Documentary Motivation Transformation ( Beyond Expectations Full Documentary) Elle Ip - YouTube

Good luck!
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Old Yesterday, 04:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: Advice on changing bad habits

Before you are able to change a bad habit, you need to be ready and willing to change. If you are not ready, bag it and wait until you are. It is just like wanting to get mentally or physically better, it won't happen unless you are ready and all in. I also suggest understand what the underlying problem is; smokers tend to have an oral fixation, it's not just the chemical addiction.

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