Checking In With Kaiser Permanente Member Peter Russo

Maintaining Healthy Balance Success During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Center for Healthy Living: You lost 30 pounds in the Healthy Balance program, and you’ve been able to maintain your healthy lifestyle in the 5 years since completing it. How have you dealt with challenges that have come up, especially now with the shelter-in-place order due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

Peter: I travel a lot for work, so during Healthy Balance I found that meal prepping is a big key to my staying on track. I started to prepare healthy meals for the week on Sunday, so they were available and ready to go. Now that I’m not traveling and have much more time available, meal-prep isn’t as necessary. But I found by keeping this habit, it’s helped me stick to more healthy choices.

CHL: What about physical activity?

Peter: I’m lucky because over the years I’ve set up a home gym in my garage with some very simple equipment: things like a used bike purchased on Craigslist, some weights, a jump rope, and a stability ball. This allows me to still be able to work out during self-quarantine.

CHL: What other habits have been helpful during this time?

Peter: I’ve kept my routine of waking up early and walking the dog. Two things I do every morning is get on the scale (there are a few exceptions to this rule) and drink a large 16-ounce glass of water. This seems to jumpstart my day. I think one of the keys to keeping the weight off has been drinking a minimum of 60 ounces of water a day and eating foods high in water content.

CHL: The COVID-19 outbreak is causing stress and anxiety across the globe, and for many people stress can lead to overeating or making food choices that may not be optimal. Are you doing anything special to deal with stress?

Peter: One of my favorite things is going to farmers markets, but since that’s not possible these days, we’ve been trading fruits and vegetables with the neighbors. I have a great avocado tree with more avocados than we can use, so it’s been an amazing way to help each other and feel connected with others during this time of social distancing.