When working from home, do you ever feel hungrier than usual and find yourself constantly snacking on something? You’re certainly not alone.
Many people report visiting the refrigerator and snack cupboard more often when they don’t have to go into the office, as feelings of hunger arise much quicker in between meals.
Pair that with a more sedentary lifestyle and transferring working positions from the working desk to your couch, and you got yourself into a bit of a problem. Here’s how to stop the mindless snacking habit once and for all and prevent gaining unnecessary weight you’ll feel pressured to lose before summer comes around the corner.
Portion Control: Snack… Smaller
You’ve probably heard this phrase a million times in your life, but figuring out what it means while you’re stuck in your house on meetings all day long is a really good idea. Plan out your meals for the day and measure out your snacks in portions, so you don’t end up devouring the whole bag of chips or a full container of hummus in one go.
It might be helpful to write it all down and track when and how much you eat, so you’re always aware of your snacking habits. Apps like Lifesum and MyFitnessPal can easily give you all the information you need about your meals, while also providing you with educational tips and videos that can help you decide whether your food choices need to be changed or not.
Especially for those with specific weight or fitness goals in mind, as well as those following strict and limited diets, tracking your food ensures you get all the macro and micronutrients you need to keep you on the right track.
Snacking through the day isn’t a diet anyone should be implementing in their daily lives as it leaves no room for actual, nutrient-rich food. Still, you might find it hard or impossible to eat two or three bigger meals during the day, so make sure to snack smarter: As you track what you’re consuming, aim for higher quality snacks which will fill you up for longer and supply you with all the necessary nutrients you need to thrive.
When you exchange your office for your living room, it’s important to take small, but frequent breaks and stretch out, take a walk around your neighborhood, go for a short run, take your bike for a ride, or simply grab a foam roller and tackle any tension or soreness you might be experiencing from sitting down all day long.
Although working from home might mean grabbing your laptop and staying longer in your comfy bed, finding the most comfortable position in your bean bag to dial into a meeting, or crunching up on the sofa while you read the latest reports; keeping track of your movements and penciling them into your busy schedule is crucial for your long term health.
Moving your body stimulates blood and lymph flow and increases nutrient absorption, making sure each cell gets nourished by oxygen and other important micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. It also improves your digestion, speeds up your metabolism, aids in toxin removal, and breaks down lactic acid so you’re better equipped in dealing with muscle soreness, joint pain, and pinched nerves.
Getting up every once in a while to move your body ensures you a) won’t be snacking during that time, and b) you might not even want to. More often than not, we tend to reach for the snacks when we’re bored, low on energy, and feeling blocked. Getting your heart rate up, even for a little bit, acts like a system restart that gets your heart pumping and blood moving, resulting in better focus and no desire to grab another protein bar.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Proper hydration throughout the day ensures everything flows the way it should be, and therefore helps you filter out real hunger from “fake,” when actually all your body really needs is some H2O.
Start with the “8 glasses a day” rule and fine-tune from there, depending on your age, sex, level of activity, season, and your own thirst signs. When you’re feeling thirsty, you definitely are; but when you’re feeling hungry or peckish, you might actually be thirsty instead. Try curbing your appetite with a glass of water and if after 10 min the hunger persists, go to the kitchen and get something to eat. It’s simple as that.
Sleep Is Your Friend
And not your enemy. Working from home creates a more flexible schedule, allowing you to go to bed late because hey, you don’t have to wake up early and get ready to go to work – you can simply roll out and jump on a virtual meeting wearing your pajamas.
Still, the importance of good-quality sleep doesn’t diminish just for the fact you’re not going to the office like you normally would. Having a good, full 7-8 hours of sleep per night is the minimum our bodies need to fully complete their recovery and recharging processes.
Another negative consequence of being sleep deprived is feeling hungrier than usual, especially awaking cravings of salty and sugary foods; you know, those that aren’t that good for you anyway. When you satisfy that craving, you cause your blood sugar to spike up, only to crash a few hours after that, leaving you feeling hungry for the same types of foods once again. And it’s only a vicious circle from there onward.
Paying attention to your sleeping routine and improving it by any means necessary should be high on the list of your priorities, as once you get your sleep in order, your cravings will stabilize as well.
Control Your Caffeine Intake
Many people slurp two cups of coffee before their day has even started, and when you’re not leaving the house, what’s the harm of brewing another cup (or two)? The fridge being right next to it.
Caffeine is a stimulant and for some people, it causes the same crash sugary and processed foods do, leaving them hungry and even irritated when their blood sugar drops. Controlling your caffeine intake will, in turn, help you control your cravings, and prevent them from guiding you towards your cupboard and that third helping of your mom’s apple pie.
If you’re finding it hard to wean off, start with chai or tea as a substitute, and remember to drink plenty of water. Going cold turkey is known to cause headaches, so be careful when you’re in the detoxing phase.
Paying attention to your sleeping habits, controlling your portions and caffeine intake, drinking plenty of water, and moving your body more frequently will put you on the right track to curbing those snacking habits once and for all.