Ten ways to avoid overeating when working from home

By Evelyn Makena
Thursday, October 8th, 2020
Avoid overeating when working from home.
In summary

Greek physician Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” Yet in this modern age of working from home, food can be more of distraction, emotional outlet, among others. Maintaining a healthy eating routine, hence has become difficult for many. The following tips will help you manage your food intake with ease, writes Evelyn Makena.

1. Create an eating schedule

With most of the employees that are working remotely balancing between work, homeschooling, online classes and meetings, it may be difficult to predict the flow a day is likely to take.

But creating a consistent routine can help in balanced eating. A healthy routine carves out time in the day when you can move around, eat regular meals, have snacks and hydrate.

Working from home is also a good opportunity to incorporate some health habits such as having a nutritious breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day.

Eating a larger breakfast and smaller dinner improves blood sugar and insulin control, reduces feelings of hunger throughout the day. 

2. Don’t work near or in the kitchen

The closer you are to food, the more the temptation to eat something even when you are not hungry.

The out of sight out of mind strategy works with food as with everything else.

If your home office is near or within your kitchen, you require a considerable level of will power to prevent yourself from non-stop eating.

Easy access to food comes at a cost and your body will thank you for being disciplined. 

3. Avoid multitasking when eating

You have perhaps been a culprit of eating while typing, responding to an email or listening to an online meeting.

It is best to sorely focus on eating and not juggling other tasks. According to a 2020 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating while distracted affects the ability to process taste and makes one susceptible to overeating.

Set aside time to eat and get rid of all kinds of distractions such as TV and phone. Mindful eating will help you enjoy the food more and stop when you are full.

4. Curb mindless snacking

It is always important to identify the reason you are snacking. If you are snacking to deal with boredom, it is best to find an alternative activity such as stretching. 

Another strategy to nutritious eating is to ensure that there are healthy snacks within easy access that you can eat when hungry.

Nutritious foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables are excellent options for snacks.

While highly processed foods such as crisp, cakes, biscuits and bread destabilise your blood sugar and pack extra pounds on the waistline. 

5. Meal preparation

One of the perks of working from home is being able to fix meals at your convenience.

But for other people who are extra busy, getting time to fix a healthy meal can be difficult leading one to eat meals that are out rightly unhealthy.

To make the process of cooking meals less taxing, prepare the ingredients in advance.

Cutting or defrosting your ingredients way before the time of cooking will make the process of cooking easier and less time consuming.

6. Drink plenty of water

Dehydration can lead to overeating since the body has difficulties differentiating between hunger and thirst.

Thirst can lead to headaches and fatigue, affect your mood and interfere with the cognitive function.

Hydrating makes one feel less hungry, less likely binge and more likely to feel satisfied after a meal, thus avoiding the risk of overeating.

Drinking plenty of water can aid in weight loss and help the body dissolve minerals and nutrients.

7. Find ways to relieve stress

Food can offer solace and comfort during these difficult times. But comfort eating has health implications including weight gain, weakened immunity and poor sleep.

If you find yourself craving unhealthy foods, purpose to find alternative ways to cope with the emotions instead of indulging mindless eating.

Food cravings could signal emotions such as fear and anxiety, but not hunger.

Connecting with loved ones, yoga, meditation and listening to music are some of the alternative ways of coping with stress and fostering healthier eating habits. 

8. Portion out meals or snacks before eating

Refrain from eating food or snacks from a container or packaging. When you eat out of a packet or a container, it is difficult to control the portions and know when to stop.

It is advisable to serve snacks or meals in a way that one is able to monitor the portions to avoid overeating.

Checking serving guidance and calories break down on packaging can help guide you on the ideal portions to take. 

9. Don’t buy unhealthy snacks

Chances of eating junk food are significantly lower if you have not stocked up on it in the house in the first place.

But if you have processed foods within easy access, the temptation to eat them is higher.

Instead, buy healthy snacks such as yoghurt, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

If you are trying to minimise your intake of cake, biscuit and chips, do not buy them.

10. Prioritise eating whole foods

It is tempting to prioritise comfort foods. However, processed foods deprive the body of vital nutrients, affect the metabolism and lead to weight gain.

Focus on having whole foods that are packed with proteins, fibre, fats and vitamins as they help your feel fuller for longer and offer the body the right kind of nourishment to remain productive all day.