The topic of eating often comes up when I tell people I work remotely. “How do you stand it?” they ask. “I would eat everything in the house, all day long!”
I’ve been lucky that food hasn’t been more than a passing distraction during my years of working from home. Maybe it’s a fluke, but I was fortunate enough to realize early on that if I didn’t get my work done, I wouldn’t have money to buy food in the first place. And I really like food.
Own what you eat. My biggest piece of advice is to take ownership of what you eat. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t buy it. It’s not always the easiest advice to follow, and those of us with other people in the household know that sometimes they want snacks that probably aren’t the healthiest for us.
But if you eat that stuff, don’t blame them. Easier said than done, I know. But taking ownership for what goes on your own plate is a good starting point for accountability.
Own your patterns. We each play mind games when it comes to food. Here’s mine: If a particular piece of food is distracting me to the point that I eat everything else instead of it, I’ve learned that it’s better to just eat it and get it over with. That way, I can stop obsessing and move on. So if I’m craving chocolate mint cookies and try to compensate with a banana, a kale shake and some light popcorn, I will end up eating the cookies anyway. And probably more than I had planned to because I’ve been so focused on them. Just eating a couple cookies in the first place would have been healthier mentally and physically — and certainly much more efficient.
Keep in mind, I’m just talking about myself here, and my advice is not that you should start eating what you crave whenever you crave it. Rather, be aware of your own triggers and mind games, and see your doctor if you have concerns.
Own your meals. Plan meals just as you do when you have to bring your lunch to work. Schedule snack and break times and try to coincide them with your co-workers’ breaks so that you won’t miss calls or messages.
And if you can, share at least one meal with your family or members of your household. Study after study (and opinion after opinion) shows that eating meals together alleviates stress, helps kids make better eating and lifestyle choices and more.
Last but not least, drink water. Dehydration isn’t something to mess with, and it’s amazingly easy to get dehydrated while you’re sitting at a desk all day. Listen to your doctor when he or she gives you the 8-glasses-of-water-a-day advice. And if you work in a dry climate or work out regularly, ask your doctor how much more you should be drinking.