If you had an office job pre-pandemic, you probably only ate when everybody else took their lunch break and maybe a quick afternoon snack. But now that you’re working from home, temptation is just around the corner all day long. If you’ve put on the post-pandemic 15, no worries. Chef V’s got some tips for you to slim your waistline in no time. Here are 3 tips for eating right while working from home...
I know a thing or two about being tempted by food at the workplace. After all, I was a private chef for many years. That’s where my name, Chef V—aka Veronica—comes from. (I’m a marketing genius.)
Anybody who has ever had a food job be it server, line cook, head chef or cashier knows all too well that gnawing feeling in your belly when you have to pull a long shift and you don’t have time to even pop a crumb in your mouth.
But then, after that long shift is mercifully over, you overcompensate by stuffing your belly until it feels like it’s going to pop like a balloon.
These days, however, probably just like you, I’ve been working from home more often. And when you’re just steps away from the kitchen with no boss breathing down your neck and no time constraints save for the occasional Zoom meeting, the kitchen beckons like an inviting pool of mud to a pig.
When you’re absentmindedly snacking all day and then continue snacking at night while getting your Netflix on, it’s so easy to gain weight. So here’s my tips for preventing overeating and gaining weight while working from home.
#1: Give Intermittent Fasting A Try
One of the reasons my hubby, Brandon, and I have kept the weight off while working from home is we doubled down on intermittent fasting during the pandemic. Intermittent fasting not only works for weight loss, it makes your mind sharper and may even support your immune system and prevent infection as this study suggests.
I’m not saying that if you do intermittent fasting, you won’t get COVID. But it’s interesting that some immunologists are exploring its protective effects. How intermittent fasting supports the immune system is the same way it can help you prevent weight gain while working from home.
You see, when you don’t eat anything for 16 hours—the best way to do intermittent fasting is to limit your calorie-intake window to 8 hours a day, i.e. 12 noon to 8 p.m.; Brandon and I shoot for a 17-hour fast most of the time—your body starts repairing itself. Digestion takes a ton of energy. By giving your digestive system a rest, your body can focus on fixing itself. This process is known as autophagy.
Technically, autophagy does not directly contribute to weight loss. But by making your metabolism more efficient, fasting can lead to weight loss. And the great thing about intermittent fasting is that if you feel like snacking while working from home, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. As long as you’re eating during your 8-hour window, snack away.
For info on how to do intermittent fasting and its benefits, read this.
#2: Lose Weight Working At Home By Eating More!
If you work a normal 8 or 9 to 5 day, your first main meal will be at around noon. Actually, before your first meal of the day, I recommend drinking some water with trace minerals to keep your energy up first thing in the morning. You can also have green tea or unsweetened black coffee if you must have your caffeine fix. Then, between 11:30 to noon, break your fast with Organic Green Drink.
By having 8 to 16 oz of Green Drink, you’ll gently awaken your digestive system and flood your cells with high-nutrient-density leafy greens.
After having your Green Drink, wait about 15-30 minutes, then go to town. Have at it. Eat all you want until your belly is full but not too stuffed. By eating a large meal, you’ll eliminate the temptation for frequent snacking. Like I said, snacking during your 8-hour eating window isn’t a nutrition faux-pas. But in general, it’s good to give your insulin-secreting pancreas a rest in between meals as well as your other digestive organs.
If you eat your first main meal at noon, I recommend having your second large meal early in the evening like at 5 or 6. Your last meal can then be a light but satisfying one like yogurt with nuts and berries.
Many people make the mistake of not eating enough at their main meals. This is what leads to over snacking in between meals and late-night snacking, which is terrible for your metabolism. Eating too often prevents your gut bacteria from being able to be swept down from the small intestine into the large intestine (colon). See my article on SIBO for more on this subject.
#3: Are You Hungry Or Just Bored?
True hunger is when you’ve gone 16 hours or longer without food. If your stomach is sending signals to your brain while you’re working that you’re hungry, don’t listen to the message right away.
Your brain—and belly—could be the victim of a false signal. This is especially true if it’s only been two or three hours since you last ate. If your last meal was large enough and contained the correct ratio of macronutrients (a little bit of healthy fats like avocado, and sufficient protein and low-starch carbs like quinoa and veggies), then you shouldn’t need to eat more food.
You can satisfy your sweet tooth after a meal by having a large handful of berries and a tiny piece of dark chocolate. This is why I emphasized eating a big meal above.
But if you’re accustomed to snacking every couple hours while working from home, it’s probably not true hunger you’re experiencing. What’s likely happening is that the yeast in your gut loves feasting on the sugars in your small intestine, from the crackers and other carb-heavy snacks. And after the yeast digests your yummy snack, it will tell your brain to feed it some more. After all, your brain and gut operate in a continuous feedback loop (no pun intended).
If you feed your gut low-sugar, low-starch foods, the yeast in your gut won’t proliferate; it will be kept in check by your friendly bacteria. And that means your belly—when properly nourished—won’t send your brain a signal to snack yet again.
If you want to avoid overeating while working from home, do intermittent fasting, eat one to two large meals during working hours and learn to differentiate true hunger from boredom and habit. If you do feel hungry, drink a tall glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice and go for a quick walk. I bet you’ll go back to your work feeling refreshed and not hungry.