One common headline during the COVID-19 pandemic relates to how obesity is a significant risk factor for suffering complications of the illness.
Currently, scientists believe that the virus binds to fat cells. Using that logic, the more fat cells a person has, the more likely they are both to contract the disease and to have difficulty fighting it. Therefore, many people who struggle with obesity have found yet another motivator to address their overeating and sedentary behaviors.
At Structure House, participants certainly shed fat, which heightens their ability to combat the illness. More importantly, however, they learn the skills and strategies to end the vicious cycle of emotional eating that has likely led to a lifetime of struggles with weight.
Since March, our planet has engaged in social distancing efforts to slow the spread of the illness. One result is that many people have found themselves with more time on their hands as they stay in their homes for days and weeks on end.
Structure House teaches participants that the three main contributors of overeating are stress, habit, and boredom. Understandably, many have faced all three of these challenges during periods of self-isolation. Stress can manifest itself as depression, anxiety, loneliness, fear, and general malaise. Bad habits — eating in front of the television, relaxing with a bowl of ice cream, or snacking on foods laying out on the kitchen counter — are hard to avoid when one is homebound. Boredom, even when the day is filled with “to-dos” but relatively few “want-tos,” can set in, and food is a way to get a few moments of escape, pleasure, or diversion. It is no wonder that people have gained weight during this period.
For more than 40 years, Structure House has taught its participants how to deal with the concerns that inevitably lead to overeating. For stress, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and breathing techniques have been shown to decrease both the physiological and psychological correlates of the stress response, and participants gain proficiency in utilizing these during their stay. With regard to habit, there is nothing quite like residential treatment, where a participant leaves their usual surroundings and practices healthier habits that feel like the new normal by the time they leave campus. Finally, dealing with boredom often involves looking holistically at life to assess whether a person might find more meaning, more fulfillment, and more satisfaction. Structure House’s therapy staff helps participants grow in ways they never dreamed possible.
In short, a visit to Structure House is an excellent way to take control amid the chaos. Losing those virus-loving fat cells while learning strategies to combat the forces that lead to overeating packs a double punch in improving chances to overcome the illness.
For some, the virus was the wake-up call they needed to finally take back the power and change their lives for the healthier.