The Core Diet Blog

In the midst of a global pandemic, and with restrictions on leaving and/or working outside of our houses, many people are working from home for the first time in their lives. For many, this means being out of our normal routines, and after having likely greatly over-shopped, a refrigerator and cupboards full of goodies never too far away. Add to this the notion that the present world-context has placed our baseline stress and anxiety levels at an all-time high, and we have a recipe for over-indulgence. As a registered dietitian, I have most definitely seen an increase in clients reaching out, waving the “SOS – I am eating everything in sight – how do I stop?” flag. 

Below are a few tips to help you establish and maintain healthy work-from-home routine! 

1.     Plan, plan, and then plan some more.  I often harp on the athletes I work with, that sound nutrition and a healthy diet is simply a matter of planning. Just as you would plan when you are going to do your workouts for the day, you should also plan what you will eat for the day. This is very true if you work outside of the home, but even more so if you are working from home. Create a plan for each day and stick to it! “Breakfast is at 8 AM, and this is what I will eat. My mid-morning snack will be this at this time. Lunch at noon, sharp and I will be dining on this.” And so on, and so forth. Planning what you are going to eat is more than half the battle! 

2.     Stick to a routine. You are disciplined at work, largely because you have a routine.  Feeling lost without that routine at home, only means one thing...create that same routine at home! This will help you, in turn, stick to the meal planning that you’ve set for yourself.   

3.     Drink! Keep a water bottle or a hot mug of tea on your desk and sip throughout the entire day. This will keep your hands busy, keep you hydrated, and keep you feeling full.   

4.     Distinguish between physical hunger, and emotional hunger or boredom. Before you walk into that kitchen for an extra snack or go rogue on the meal plan that you had set in place, ask yourself “Am I really hungry? Or, am I just bored? Stressed? Anxious? Some of the above? All of the above?”  Stop, think it through from these perspectives, and then make your decision.   

5.     Get dressed! Okay, this sounds a little silly, but in all honesty, it’s probably one of the most practical ways to keep yourself in check. Because I’ve worked from home for the past six years I know, first-hand, that it’s easy to get into the routine of wearing, shall we say, ‘comfortable clothing’ (I may or may not be talking about wearing PJs all day). And these comfortable clothes often have a very forgiving waistband! If you wear something with a tighter waistband or that you are used to wearing at work, you are a lot more likely to notice the fit and how your normal clothes feel when on. Believe it or not, this turns out to be quite a large deterrent to over-eating!   

Think of your time from home as a great opportunity to practice “perfect” nutrition and to get into some good habits! As a registered dietitian I often hear that athletes don’t have the time to eat breakfast or make a salad for lunch, because they are rushing out the door to work. Now, with commute time drastically reduced, there should be no excuses to get in plenty of fruits and vegetables, to eat every two to three hours, and to practice balance and consistency in their diets. Here’s to nutritious eating, to help keep us happy and healthy during this stressful time! 

~Beth Peterson

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