As someone who has worked exclusively from home for the past two and a half years, I’d like to say “welcome!” to all the people who are now forced to do the same (and thank you for doing your social distancing part!).
And as someone who gained 18 pounds in those two-plus years, I’d also like to say, it’s really easy to pack on unwanted weight while working from home. I mean, you’re cooped up in a relatively small space all day, it’s real easy to make frequent trips to the cupboard, you can work in sweatpants or pajamas that expand with you, and there is just you (or family) so there’s less guilt around snacking.
Thankfully, over the last few months I have learned to change up some routines and have steadily been shedding that weight ever since. So if you are new to working from home, I wanted to share some food tech tips to help you navigate your new normal.
Please note: I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist. I’m not going to tell you what you should be eating, you should go see an expert if you are concerned about that. This is more about little things you can do around your place to keep extra weight off.
- Don’t put your home office in the kitchen. I realize that this may not be possible for everyone, but if you can avoid it, don’t set up at the kitchen table or counter. Frequent snacking is the enemy, and it’s far too easy to grab a handful of Thin Mints each time you finish a spreadsheet. It’s harder to graze all day when the food’s in another room.
- Get a nutrition app to keep track of what you’re eating. Keeping track of what you eat is super helpful. I use MyNetDiary to log my food, but there are a lot of other options out there. MyNetDiary gives me a target calorie intake count for the day, as well as keeping track of my macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs). It takes some practice to get into the habit of recording all your meals (even snacks!), but it has a barcode scanner, and keeping this kind of diary really helps put into perspective not only how much you eat, but how many calories are hidden in your everyday meals.
- Get a food scale. Yes, weighing everything you eat makes the act of tracking what you eat more complicated, but in the end it actually makes the whole process easier. Weighing your food so you know how many grams/ounces your are consuming makes your tracking more accurate, especially when logging it into a nutrition app. Weighing food also helps with portion control! The Wirecutter’s recommended pick is $20 on Amazon.
- Check out online cooking classes! Yes, your favorite restaurant is probably delivering right now. And yes, they are implementing contactless methods to reduce human-to-human interaction. But even in the best of times you wouldn’t eat out every night (let alone every meal). Maybe now is the time to try your hand at home cooking. Not a good cook, you say? Well lucky for you there are plenty of online recipes and cooking classes to help elevate your cuisine. There’s always YouTube or Tasty for instructional videos. Additionally, The Chef and Dish offers private online video cooking classes, or you can try the Food Network Kitchen app, which offers live and on-demand cooking classes taught by Food Network’s roster of celebrity chefs.
- Exercise. Normally, I’d say hit up the gym every day if only to interact with other humans. But given the current pandemic, I can’t recommend that. If you can get outside and away from people, go for a walk or a hike. Otherwise, throw some burpees or pushups into your routine (as always check with your doctor before engaging in strenuous activity).
These are just a few tips that I have found helpful. They aren’t rocket science, but hopefully you can learn from my past missteps. For other WFH pros out there, what works for you to keep the weight off? Leave a comment, or drop us a line to let us know.