Nom Nom Nom: 5 Rules to Curb Overeating When You Work at Home

Nom Nom Nom: 5 Rules to Curb Overeating When You Work at Home

Carrie McBride
Sep 9, 2015

I've spent more time than usual working from home this summer and one thing I've noticed is that I feel like snacking...all the time. For the record, I'm generally pro-snack but when you find yourself snacking mindlessly and impulsively, it may be time to put a few rules in place for yourself. Here are some to try if you're in the same boat:

1. Don't use eating as a break

It's good to take occasional, short breaks from working. You give your eyes a much-needed rest, get the blood flowing in your legs and breaks let you return mentally refocused. If you're truly hungry, go ahead and eat, but don't use your desire for a break as an excuse to head to the fridge. Be more intentional about your breaks and make a plan ahead of time for what you're going to do. I like to set an alarm for 5 minutes and run around the apartment tidying up. You could walk around the block, do some floor exercises or have your own private dance party to a favorite song.

2. Portion control with small bowls or plates

I suppose some folks might feel comfortable with a huge bag of chips at their desk (or wearing a popcorn hoodie) in an office, but I'm guessing that most of us find it easier to show restraint when surrounded by co-workers. Without this peer pressure at home, you're better off always portioning a snack into a small bowl or plate. It's true - "you can't eat just one."

3. Set a regular lunch time

Without the prompt of seeing co-workers stopping for lunch, your lunch time may be all over the map. And what often happens is you eat too early or too late and then need to add an additional snack to the day in order to make it to the next mealtime. You also put yourself at risk of becoming hangry. With this in mind, try picking a time that you plan to stop for lunch every day and stick to it when you can.

4. But first, drink!

You may not be as good a judge of whether you're hungry as you think you are. Before you reach for a snack, drink something first (preferably water). You may discover that you were just thirsty. Or, it may be the ritual itself of preparing something that you find pleasurable. A few Apartment Therapy editors who work from home told me they drink tea for these reasons: they enjoy the ritual of making the tea and they find that drinking something staves off the desire to eat something.

5. Brush your teeth

Brushing your teeth after meals isn't just good for your dental hygiene, but it acts as a signal to you that eating time has concluded. Plus, a lot of food doesn't taste good when you have a minty mouth so you're more likely to abstain.

What other tips or strategies do you have for defending against snack attacks at home?

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