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overeating while working from home

Kick the habit! How to avoid overeating when working from home

If you’ve been working from home this past year, then you might have picked up some new eating habits. You may have found yourself in the kitchen snacking throughout the workday more often than usual, and now you’re thinking: how can I avoid overeating when working from home? If this is you, then read on for tips on how to break the habit! 

overeating when working from home

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

Understanding why you overeating may be overeating 

You may have heard that unhealthy eating on the job is now considered to be an occupational hazard according to the World Health Organization. For years, employees have been munching on unhealthy snacks and drinking gallons of coffee every working minute. Employers often believe that offering food is a great way to boost workers’ moral and short breaks mean that getting quality food isn’t always an option. Most people end up opting for fast food and sugary snacks. 

If you’re struggling now while working from home, you may be asking yourself: Why? Well, one possibility is old habits are hard to break. If past eating habits have been ingrained in your mind from your traditional work environment, then you may be seeking to replicate those habits now. Familiarity is comforting. Do you find yourself constantly going for another coffee? Or reaching for just one more cookie or bagel? You may be looking for old comforts, but without anyone around there’s no one stopping you when you end up eating the whole box of cookies or drink that whole pot of coffee! 

Another reason why you may find yourself overeating when working from home is simply brain chemistry. These are stressful times we’re living in. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed our lives and made the future landscape unpredictable. 

In an article with BBC, Las Vegas-based clinical psychologist Cortney Warren says, “A lot of people are struggling with their eating right now – and probably in different ways than they’re used to. There is certainly a great deal of research to suggest that when people are in a crisis situation, when they are highly stressed, one of the first things that will change is their eating behaviour.”

Foods make us feel good. The body tends to crave high-calorie and high-sugar foods during times of stress. These foods provide short-term bursts of energy that help get us through the moment. Additionally stress leads to higher cortisol levels, which can increase your appetite causing you to seek out a quick fix. Sugary foods also generate dopamine which is the neurotransmitter associated with motivation and reward. So eating can literally make you feel better on a chemical level during times of high stress.

While the science says it’s making us feel good, it may not always be the healthiest coping mechanism. If you feel you’ve been overeating too much while working from home, then here are a few tips to help break that habit. 

Here are some tips on how to break this habit and avoid overeating while working from home 

Don’t work near the kitchen: Put some distance between you and the source. You’ll be less tempted to check the fridge and if you have to get up frequently and walk all the way over to the kitchen for your snacks, then you’re more likely to stop yourself before you get there. 

Meal prep ahead of time: If you have your meals and snacks for the day already planned and prepared, then you’re less likely to mindlessly snack throughout the day. One big cause of overeating or mindless snacking is convenience. We like things quickly available. If you take the time to pre-cut fruits and veggies for snacks and prep your lunches, then your healthy foods become “fast food” too! Keep a “menu” for the day or work week and hang it on your fridge as a reminder. 

Portion out your meals: Like meal prepping, it’s important to properly portion your serving sizes to avoid overeating. Never eat snacks straight out of the bag or container. Many snacks like chips are designed to be very tasty and addictive. Once you start snacking you may find it hard to know when to stop if you’re eating straight from the bag. Instead, you could divide that large chip bag into smaller zip bags to have ready for when you want that quick snack but don’t want to overeat. 

Stay hydrated: Did you know, your body often confuses thirst with hunger? Sometimes you may think you’re hungry but you’re actually just thirsty. Dehydration can also lead to headaches and fatigue. So make sure you’re staying properly hydrated throughout the day and you may find that you’re no longer craving as many snack breaks as before. 

Don’t buy unhealthy snacks: If junk food isn’t around in the first place, you’ll be less likely to eat it when looking for a quick snack. Instead stock up on healthy snacks such as yogurt, nuts, veggies or fruit. In other words: If you can’t kick your cookie cravings, don’t buy them to begin with.

You might be interested5 Things entrepreneurs can do to achieve their goals in the new year

If you’ve been struggling with overeating while working from home, don’t feel bad or guilty because you’re definitely not alone. Food is fun. Food makes us happy. And habits can be hard to break, especially during a stressful year like 2020 when we’re all just looking for ways to cope and feel better. But if overeating is a habit you’re looking to kick in the new year, then give these tips a try. You’ve got this! 

5 Things entrepreneurs can do to achieve their goals in the new year

This year has been an extremely challenging year for us all, impacting both our personal and professional lives. It seems like everything in 2020 has required double the energy to get done. As the new year approaches, you may be feeling anxious about looking back at a year so suddenly gone by. You may be thinking: Where did all that time go? What did I even accomplish this year? And what can I do differently to achieve my goals in the new year? Some of us may still be mentally stuck in March when our lives changed so suddenly. If you’ve been feeling unmotivated or hopeless, just know that you’re not alone. This year has been hard on everyone. 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner looking to kickstart your motivation again, then read on for our go-to tips for getting yourself out of this rut of a year and achieving your goals. 

5 Things entrepreneurs can do when feeling stuck in a rut 

1.Narrow your focus and set specific goals

As entrepreneurs your mind is always spinning with goals and dreaming of your project’s potential. But the only way to make dreams a reality to take concrete steps and set specific goals. If you’re not quite where you want to be yet with your business or in life and you just don’t know how to get to that distant dream on the horizon, then it’s time to narrow your focus. 

Take that big dream and break it down into smaller, attainable goals. You need to give yourself goal posts to work toward. 

Entrepreneurs who know what they want and have set a course are more likely to accomplish their objectives. Goals act as the homing device for an entrepreneurs’ actions. At times they may need to take a step back or sideways to continue to move forward. Like the North Star guiding navigators, goals help entrepreneurs create a new course after making adjustments.

When you’re stuck in a rut, you need to find new ways to gain momentum to lift yourself out. Sometimes that means work toward something small. Once you feel yourself succeeding and accomplishing your small goals, you’ll start to feel that energy rise, and the big dream won’t seem so distant or unattainable anymore. 

As we enter the new year, try to think of one meaningful project or goal you want to accomplish. Refocus your energy toward that one goal. Take small steps. Not every race is won by long strides. Sometimes you need to pace yourself and start off slow to build up that momentum. If you take the time to nurture your small goals, pretty soon you’ll be coming up on the horizon of those big dreams! 

2. Practice gratitude  

Having an attitude of gratitude builds positive energy and keeps that energy circulating. It’s simple really: when you express gratitude for what you have it makes you appreciate your life more. 

In fact, gratitude is one of the 12 traits found in happy people. “No matter where they are, or who they are with, happy people have the capacity to see beauty where others would only see ugliness – and they’re quick to express their gratitude.” 

Happy people are also usually successful. Things come easily to happy people. Happy people attract more happy people who are willing to help them along the way. And in turn they will help others, creating a continuous cycle of people lifting each other up. 

As the 8th-century Indian monk Shantideva once said, “All the happiness in the world comes from thinking of others; all the suffering in the world comes from thinking of only oneself.”

Get out of your head and stop dwelling on your worries. Don’t give attention and energy to the negatives in life. Instead, focus on the positives. Focus on what you have. Express your gratitude and appreciation for others. We are all happier and more successful when we work together and care for each other. Instead of looking inward and only caring about yourself, extend your love and energy toward the people around you, build up your communities, and tend to your collective garden of happiness. By helping someone else achieve their goals, you’re also helping yourself.  

3. Gain clarity through fitness 

If you’re feeling tense and unfocused, one reliable go-to solution is to channel that energy into exercise. We all know exercise is good for us. I’m sure we’ve all been told over and over again how exercise releases endorphins and hormones that make our brains happy and feel good. But exercise is also simply a great outlet for all those pent up frustrations and negative energies. 

Whether it’s simply going on a jog, lifting weights, or engaging in some quick cardio, every bit of exercise will help get you feeling recharged and refocused and get you back on track with achieving your goals. 

Just a few minutes of exercise a day is all you need. Remember, small steps first. You might feel too overwhelmed right now to dedicate a big chunk of time for your work outs, but you definitely can spare a few minutes! Trust me, it’ll leave you feeling so much more relaxed and stress free. You got this! 

You might be interested: Staying fit while working remotely from home: 10 easy office exercises + tips

4. Reconnect with others  

 When we feel stressed or down, our first instincts are often to isolate. We don’t like to let people see us struggling. We think isolating is the way to deal with our problems. If we get away from the outside world and just focus on our problems, then we’ll be fine, right? 

Wrong. Isolating usually is never the way. While we think we might be sparing people from our problems or protecting ourselves from the judgement of others, what we’re really doing is cutting ourselves off from support systems and resources. Like we said above, gratitude fosters happiness. Helping others creates a cycle. Instead of cocooning yourself in isolation and trying to deal with everything alone, reach out. Ask for help. Surround yourself with loved ones that will offer their support and reassurance. You’re not alone. 

5. Never stop learning  

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Learning new things energizes us and keeps us growing and moving forward! The more you know, the more you realize you do not know. Formal education just scratches the surface and is a drop of our capacity to learn. Maybe you weren’t the best student or you feel like it’s been so long since you were in school. But there are so many ways to continue learning in life. Especially now in this pandemic, there are so many online resources to learn from, such as free online courses or even simply tutorials and lectures on YouTube. 

Knowledge, no matter how insignificant it may appear to be, gives us a reason to get out of bed every morning. Make it a habit to learn something new each day. Treat knowledge like a new friend. Life is so much more satisfying when we make a new friend every day. If you keep at it, soon you’ll find yourself achieving your goals and reaching new heights of success in the new year!