How to stop stress eating when working at home

A woman takes notes on a yellow legal pad surrounded by sticky notes and a package of BodyKey Slim Popcorn

For some of us, learning to work from home really flipped our lives upside down, at least in the early days.

Adapting to using your home as your primary work space can take some getting used to. Boundaries between work and personal time can get a little blurred and may be difficult to settle into a routine.

When we are faced with a new normal, one of the first things to change can be our eating behavior. Junk food can feel like a form of stress relief. Your body may actually start craving high-calorie and high-sugar foods during stressful times. And now your refrigerator and pantry are just a few steps away.

In other words, you may find yourself making a beeline for chips and ice cream more often than if you were in your regular work environment. To add to the challenge, stress can also lead to elevated cortisol levels in your body, which will increase your appetite.

But don’t worry. There are healthier options within your reach. Here are some tips on how to avoid stress eating when you are working from home.

Create an eating schedule

Being at home, you might think the last thing you need is a daily meal schedule. Not true. Settling into a consistent routine for your day-to-day meals and snacks helps you keep your eating under control.

Sticking to this may be difficult, but it will prevent you from eating mindlessly throughout the day. Try these 4 tips to get started:

  • Aim to have breakfast within 1 hour of waking up
  • Plan for three meals a day
  • Schedule in a morning and afternoon snack
  • Use your cell phone alarm to set reminders for meals and snacks

 

Woman sitting on couch with laptop in her apartment.

Stay hydrated

Remembering to stay hydrated is important. To make it easy, keep a glass of water, mug of tea or another favorite beverage at your desk while you work so you can sip frequently throughout the day.

This will also help keep your hands busy so you’re not reaching for that next thing to nibble on. When you’re filling your glass, try to avoid sugary drinks or beverages with artificial sweeteners as they can throw off your natural appetite.

Liven up your water by adding fresh fruit or another flavoring like Nutrilite™ Twist Tubes 2GO™, which also provides extra vitamins to support your nutrition.

Also, if you choose to drink alcohol after work, stick to a moderate amount. Alcohol can increase your appetite, which may lead to overeating.

Learn the difference between emotional hunger vs. real hunger

When you’re trying to avoid stress eating, you want to make sure you are tuning into what your body really needs – not just what it wants.

Before you head to the kitchen to grab a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Is your stomach growling? If not, you might be feeling stressed or bored and the snack is just a diversion. That’s a good time to take a swig of your water instead.

When you do sit down for a meal, teach yourself to stop when you feel full. It will help to make sure you create an atmosphere where you can enjoy your meal and focus on the food.

Get rid of distractions by turning off the television and putting away your phone and laptop. Put down your fork between bites and listen to your body’s cues on how much you need to eat.

A person holds a piece of whole grain toast topped with cream cheese, bananas, pecans and blueberries.

Stock up on healthy foods and plan your meals

Keeping your refrigerator and cupboards stocked with healthy foods is a huge help when you’re trying to eat better while you’re working from home. This means having a large selection of unprocessed items like fruits and vegetables, nuts and lean meats on hand so you can create nutritious meals and snacks.

Once you have these at your fingertips, meal and snack prep will be easy. You won’t find yourself standing in front of the refrigerator wondering what to eat and eventually making a not-so-smart option.

Having convenient, nutrient-rich foods to nosh on between meals helps you keep your energy up while you’re working. This could be a piece of fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, or a bag of BodyKey by Nutrilite™ Zesty Protein Snacks, which are crunchy and perfectly proportioned for a mid-afternoon bite.

A person sits at a desk in their living room while they work from home.

Don’t work near the kitchen

When you are working from home, if possible, try to set up your desk area in a space far away from the kitchen. That way, you are less likely to give into temptation to wander over and check the refrigerator or cupboards between projects.

Try to set limits for yourself and only go into the kitchen when you are getting ready to have one of your pre-planned meals or snacks.

Don’t buy junk food

This is the corollary to keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy food. The premise is simple: If you can’t get your hands on it, you won’t eat it. So, try to avoid buying junk foods or other highly-processed items.

Be especially careful about keeping foods in the house that might trigger an eating binge. If you have a weakness for triple-chocolate ice cream, vow not to buy it at the store. If you want to enjoy it, make it a treat you savor by ordering a few scoops at your favorite ice cream shop the next time you’re out.

Three ice cream cones are shown together.

You’re worth it

Avoiding stress eating when you’re working from home might seem tough at first, but it’s really about practicing self-care and keeping yourself well. With a little planning and meal prep, you’ll get the hang of these healthy habits.

Want to see more tips for healthy living? Check out other blogs at Amway Connections. And to learn more about the products mentioned here or the BodyKey™ SmartLoss™ program for weight management, visit Amway.com or Amway.ca.

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