healthy Coping through COVID

Appears in the March 2021 issue.

Diane Bubeck

Although Diane Bubeck has been seeing clients for over 25 years, her private practice has exploded as a result of the pandemic. “Never in my life have I been as busy as I am now,” says the nutritionist and therapist, who practices through Diane Bubeck & Associates (
Her role as a therapist happened organically, branching off from an early career as a nutritionist. After working part time as a dietitian at Linden Oaks, she became a manager when the hospital moved its eating disorder program over from Mercy Hospital. A few years later she started her private practice and got a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in marriage and family.

“It’s a great combo,” she says. “I usually see people as a dietitian, but now with the therapy background I have expanded my practice to individuals and couples.”

She says one patient population that has increased dramatically since the pandemic started is teenage girls.

“It’s a post-COVID fallout. We’ve all been locked down and we have no control,” she explains. Eating disorders are all about control issues, says Bubeck, and girls are using behaviors surrounding food—one thing they can control—to psychologically cope. “The parents are besides themselves,” she says.

In addition to helping teens find healthier methods, Bubeck works with a variety of adults and couples who struggle with the weight gain that been coined the “COVID 15.”

“Food is nurturing, a quick easy fix,” she explains, but Bubeck encourages her clients to adjust both their food intake and their activity levels. “Use your extra time to find healthy recipes and take the time to cook,” she advises.

And Bubeck offers her clients a solid pandemic exercise tip: 10 to 15 minutes of jumping rope in a garage or basement is the equivalent of 20 to 30 minutes of running. “I try to think outside the box based on their lifestyle and what they like to do. Try cross-country skiing or rollerblading. Or go to the forest preserve or just walk down your street. The idea is to bundle up and get outside every day.”

Whatever challenges people are facing, she encourages people not to put off adopting a healthy lifestyle. “We’ve been in this so long we can’t keep waiting for things to change—we need to figure out how to cope,” she says. “I’m kicking all my clients out the door [to exercise]. We talk a lot about coping skills other than food so they can make good use of COVID time.”

Photo courtesy Diane Bubeck