In our article, “How to Combat Extra Calories While Working from Home,” we explore the surprising ways in which remote work can lead to weight gain. According to a survey from the diet tracking app MyFitnessPal, working from home can contribute to consuming an extra 800 calories and taking 3,500 fewer steps per day on average. The convenience of having the fridge just steps away from your home office can lead to mindless snacking and sedentary behavior. Factors such as irregular meal schedules, increased opportunities for snacking, stress, and boredom also contribute to this unhealthy eating pattern. However, there are practical steps you can take to combat these extra calories, such as establishing designated meal times and spaces, practicing mindful eating, opting for healthier snacks, and engaging in physical activity or short breaks to combat stress and boredom. With the right strategies in place, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle while working from home.
How to Combat Extra Calories While Working from Home
Establish designated meal times and spaces
In order to maintain a healthy eating routine while working from home, it is important to establish designated meal times and spaces. This helps create structure and ensures that you are not mindlessly snacking throughout the day. Set specific times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, just like you would in an office setting. This will help regulate your hunger and prevent constant snacking.
It is also beneficial to create a separate workspace away from the kitchen. The proximity of the fridge and pantry can easily tempt you to grab a snack whenever you feel like it. By creating a separate workspace, you can minimize the temptation to eat while working. Avoid eating at your desk or in front of screens, as this can lead to mindless eating. Instead, take breaks and sit down at a designated eating area to fully focus on your meal.
Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is a practice that involves paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues, eating slowly, and savoring each bite. When working from home, it can be easy to eat quickly or eat while distracted by work or entertainment. However, this can lead to overeating and not feeling satisfied.
Take the time to listen to your body and eat when you are truly hungry. Avoid eating out of boredom or stress. When you do eat, make sure to eat slowly and savor each bite. This allows your brain to register that you are eating and gives your body time to feel satisfied. Avoid distractions such as watching TV or working while eating, as this can lead to mindless overeating.
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Opt for healthier snacks
Snacking can be a common occurrence while working from home, but it is important to make healthy choices. Keep a variety of healthy snacks on hand, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt. These options are nutrient-dense and can help satisfy your hunger between meals without adding excessive calories.
Avoid buying or keeping unhealthy snacks in the house, as they can be tempting to eat when cravings strike. Replace high-calorie snacks with lower-calorie alternatives, such as air-popped popcorn instead of chips, or carrot sticks with hummus instead of crackers. By making simple switches, you can still enjoy snacking while keeping your calorie intake in check.
Staying hydrated is important for overall health and can also help combat excessive snacking. Often, we mistake thirst for hunger, leading us to eat when our bodies are actually just dehydrated. Throughout the day, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This can help curb unnecessary snacking and keep you feeling satisfied.
Limit sugary drinks and opt for unsweetened beverages, such as herbal tea or infused water. These options provide hydration without adding extra calories. By staying hydrated, you can better listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, making it easier to make mindful eating choices.
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Engage in physical activity or short breaks
Working from home can sometimes lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, as we are not moving around as much as we would in an office setting. To combat this, it is important to incorporate physical activity or short breaks into your daily routine. Take short breaks to stretch or walk around, especially if you have been sitting for an extended period of time. This can help increase your overall activity level and prevent excessive snacking out of boredom.
In addition to short breaks, consider incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. This can be in the form of home workouts, online fitness classes, or simply going for a walk outside. Engaging in physical activity not only burns calories, but it also helps reduce stress and boosts mood, making it easier to make healthy eating choices.
Minimize food temptations
Having tempting food readily available at home can make it difficult to resist snacking on unhealthy options. To minimize food temptations, keep unhealthy snacks out of sight. Store them in opaque containers or in a separate pantry, so they are not constantly in your line of sight. Out of sight, out of mind!
Avoid keeping a large quantity of tempting foods in the house. If you only have a small amount of your favorite snack, it can be easier to enjoy it in moderation. Stock up on healthier options instead, so you have a variety of nutritious choices readily available.
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Establish specific times for meals
Just as with designated meal times, it is important to establish specific times for meals while working from home. This helps create structure and ensures that you are getting adequate nutrition throughout the day. Set a schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and try to stick to it as closely as possible.
Planning and preparing meals ahead of time can also be helpful in maintaining a healthy eating routine. This allows you to have healthy options readily available and prevents last-minute decisions that may lead to unhealthy choices. By establishing specific times for meals and planning ahead, you can avoid constant snacking and ensure you are providing your body with the fuel it needs.
Choose high-quality snacks earlier in the day
It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this rings true when it comes to snacking as well. Opt for high-quality snacks earlier in the day to satisfy hunger and prevent excessive snacking later on. Nutritious snacks such as fruits, vegetables, or protein bars can provide the necessary energy and nutrients to keep you satiated for longer.
By choosing high-quality snacks earlier in the day, you can prevent late-night snacking when willpower may be lower and healthier options may be less available. Plan healthy snacks between meals to prevent excessive hunger and to maintain stable energy levels throughout the day.
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Be aware of hidden calories
Hidden calories can quickly add up and contribute to weight gain. It is important to be vigilant and aware of hidden calories in your food choices. Read food labels to identify hidden calories, such as added sugars or unhealthy fats. Understanding what ingredients to look for can help you make more informed choices.
Be cautious of high-calorie snacks disguised as healthy choices. Some snacks marketed as “low-fat” or “healthy” may actually be high in added sugars or artificial ingredients. Pay attention to portion sizes and be mindful of your overall calorie intake. Tracking your calorie intake can be a helpful tool in monitoring your overall consumption and making adjustments if needed.
In conclusion, combating extra calories while working from home requires establishing designated meal times and spaces, practicing mindful eating, opting for healthier snacks, staying hydrated, engaging in physical activity or short breaks, minimizing food temptations, establishing specific times for meals, choosing high-quality snacks earlier in the day, and being aware of hidden calories. By implementing these strategies, you can maintain a healthy eating routine and prevent excessive calorie consumption while working from home.