Bring it to Barb


Dear Barb,

I have been increasing my eating and drinking since being out of work during this coronavirus. It has affected my family because I am not interacting the same way with the family in the evenings as I was when I was working full time. I have gained too much weight in a short amount of time! Please let me know what I can do to bring this to an instant halt and survive this coronavirus. I am not an alcoholic or an over-eater, as far as I know, until now. 


Desperately Seeking Help

Dear Desperately Seeking Help,

Just identifying this as a problem is a huge step in the process of changing your conduct. Many families have been dealing with so much idle time. This is completely contrary to our current or past lifestyle of being “busy all the time” just a few months ago.

To start with your weight gain in a short amount of time, rest assured that alcohol allows us to be uninhibited and this includes choices in our food selection. These problems go hand in hand! When we feel relaxed after a drink, we lower our guard and we want what we crave, which is usually not carrots, celery or anything healthy. It is typically a carbohydrate (which just becomes sugar). Sugar is always your body’s enemy, even more than fat, but it’s almost a guarantee of packing on the pounds. The consequence of drinking typically is that bad decisions are made, PERIOD!

For men, the recommended amount for drinking is two drinks a day. This is not like a vitamin that you need to have everyday, however. For women, the recommended amount is no more than one drinka day. 

Everyday is not your birthday,so quit celebrating with alcohol like it is! Don’t be in party mode just because you made it through another frustrating day of not working, or feel badly about your circumstances or whatever your excuse may be. This habit of drinking more or eating more may relax you, but it can easily become a daily event if moderation and self-command are not maintained. It is that simple! Alcohol or eating too much is not a problem until it is a problem. 

Boredom is dangerous and searching for hobbies, a passion or interest should be your main focus until you feel satisfied with one. Our parents told us how “idle hands are the devils workshop,” and frankly it is true. Fishing, hiking, any skill working with your hands or your mind can be a choice, but you need to make a conscious endeavor as if it were your new job! This isolation could go on for quite a while.

Make your family activities a priority and purposefully have fun on a daily basis. Using your creative thinking or your family’s ideas could trigger some amazing things. Rejuvenate your imagination since you have so much time now. 

It’s easy to do what comes easy, like eating and drinking. Anyone can do that. Don’t be lazy and do the easy thing. This is a good test to find out exactly what you are made of. 

Find a new hobby that inspires you. Change your thinking and you will change your life. It is up to you to bring this problem to an instant halt. It begins with your thinking then execution and actions. 

Barb Rock is a retired mental health counselor and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues to her at or text to 253-377-9668.

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