As someone who has been working from home for years, I want to share realistic tips that have helped me and my clients find a work from home routine that works. If you are overwhelmed by creating a new routine or can’t seem to make habits stick, we are here to help!
We don’t want you to feel overwhelmed creating a new routine. We are all at different places in this process and health is a journey, not a destination. We recommend making 2-3 SMART goals to focus on during the week. SMART goals means the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based. By making SMART goals, you can slowly but surely create lasting habits.
When you are spending more time at home, you have to have a realistic plan for your day and build routine. Be proactive in your new work from home environment. There is naturally more flexibility working from home, you will find yourself preparing more meals, eating more at home, and moving less. The time is now to make time for your health and wellness.
Our dietitians help you create healthy routines for your lifestyle in the most realistic way. Our objective is not to overhaul your entire lifestyle, but rather help you make small tweaks to build healthy and lasting habits. We keep you accountable to your goals and provide you with personalized, expert recommendations. Here are our top habits for staying healthy while working from home:
1. Be Well Hydrated
Did you know your body is 70% water and your brain is 75% water? Hydration is essential for basic body functions, cognitive function, digestion, performance and recovery.
How much water should you be drinking during the day? Aim to drink .5 – 1 ounce of water per pound of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 180 lbs, drink 90-180oz (3-6 Liters) water daily. This may seem like a lot of water, but water is essential for life. The best way to stay well hydrated is first knowing how much water you should be drinking each day.
Once you know how much water you should be drinking, make a daily goal to meet this minimum level of hydration. There are many tactics to successfully drink more water – there is no one size fits all. Start small and be realistic. If you usually drink 2 bottles on auto pilot, try to shoot for 3-4 bottles of water. Tactics to up your hydration include: drinking water with meals, drinking water with snacks, drinking water before other drinks like coffee and setting 1-2 time based goals to drink “x” oz water before “x” time.
Do you get bored drinking plain water? Besides plain ole H20, other hydrating drinks include sparkling water, unsweetened teas, infused water, unsweetened and non-artificially sweetened drinks. To make infused water, add fresh fruits to water to make a refreshing and hydrating drink. If you’re looking to add sweetness, try combinations of infused water with strawberries, pineapple and watermelon. Create an infused pitcher or bottles of water to easily pour and drink. For sparkling water, there are many minimally processed options like La Croix, Waterloo, Topo Chico, Spindrift … all surprisingly delicious! Sparkling water is like treating yourself to a refreshing can of soda during lunch or you can pop one to enjoy after a long day.
Staying well hydrated is essential for optimizing your health and day to day functions. If you need accountability to hit your goals, we are here to help you with a personalized strategy and plan to stay well hydrated.
2. Hit Pause Before Mindlessly Snacking
You need a break from work so you find yourself in the kitchen. Mindlessly snacking is when you wander into the kitchen because you’re bored or tired and blankly stare at the open refrigerator. What you really need is a break from working, but instead you are eating to fill the time.
Stop and hit pause. Are you really hungry? Or are you really just needing a break? If you are hungry, it’s always appropriate to eat. You may find it helpful to practice hitting pause to check in on your hunger level before snacking. You may notice you are opportunistically snacking or using snacking to distract yourself from getting back to work. Mindless snacking is a short sighted way to fill your time. It’s also an easy bad habit to fall into. How often, if ever, do you really feel better after over snacking?
Instead of breaking for a snack, break for a walk, take a stretch, do house work, meal or snack prep for later in the day (wash and cut), grab a glass of water or dance it out listening to a few favorite songs. Want help coming up with a plan to become a more mindful eater? Schedule a call with our dietitians to see how we can help you out.
3. Prioritize Meal and Snack Times
On a busy day, it’s easy to skip meals and snacks. Next thing you know you’re ravenously hungry, grazing from snack to snack and overdoing portions. This cycle of eating is completely normal and the good news, it’s avoidable if you practice more intentional eating. You may be self-sabotaging by skipping meals and snacks. Instead of drinking 2-3 Cups of coffee, skipping breakfast and eating bird food for lunch, have a plan for what to eat as a balanced breakfast, balanced lunch and balanced snacks.
Do you find it hard to take a break and make time for a healthy snack? Try setting calendar reminders as alerts to remind yourself to eat regularly during the day. Setting reminders may seem like overkill, but give it a try and thank me later! You can benefit from ongoing reminders to eat lunch and to eat a mid-afternoon snack. Honor the reminder to take care of yourself so you can think clearly and perform optimally.
While there are benefits to taking undistracted meals and snacks, just focus on setting the reminders to get started. A general recommendation is 30-45 minutes for lunch and 5-10 minutes for snacks.
Unsure what to eat and when to eat? We are here to help break it down for you in an initial session.
4. Time Block Movement
Do you find yourself saying, I will workout tonight or go for a walk at the end of the day … but never end up finding the time? Make the time in your work calendar to stop and break for movement.
Most of us think of exercise in 1 hour increments. If it’s hard for you to stop for 60 minutes of uninterrupted movement, begin to think of movement in 15-20 minute time blocks. It’s much more manageable to think in smaller time blocks and you may be more likely to workout because 20 minutes feels more realistic. Throughout your work day, take a few 15 minute walks, 20 minutes of strength training or 20 minutes of stretching or yoga.
Use your work calendar to time block off 2-3 blocks to get up from working and get moving. If you have a consistent schedule, set a repeating reminder. If your days vary, look a few days ahead to prematurely block off time in your schedule. Make the time and honor the blocks you set! Taking 15-20 minute breaks can improve performance and leave us feeling more focused when we get back on task.
If you need more accountability to your workout and movement routine, we are here to help you stay on track with your routine.
5. Have a Meal and Snack Plan
The term meal plan gets a bad wrap. When I think of a “meal plan”, what comes to mind is a rigid, unpersonalized and unrealistic plan that you can probably do for 1-3 days. We help clients with realistic meal and snack plans. Some of our clients love cooking, others loathe it. Surprisingly, you don’t always have to cook to be prepared with meals and snacks.
There are many ways to better plan for meals and snacks, but the most common methods are traditional meal prep, modified meal prep and assembly meal prep. Traditional meal prep is home cooking. As a home cook, we encourage taking shortcuts because let’s be honest no one has time to roast and peel beets. Modified meal prep is using shortcuts, batch prepping for multiple meals during the week and using convenience foods to streamline meal prep. Have you ever used a roasted chicken or leftover beans in a few different ways? This is how you modified meal prep. Finally, assembly meal prep is loved by college students, busy moms and bachelors. Grocery stores have lots of ready made, pre-cooked and healthy packaged foods. A quick weeknight assembly meal plan can include rotisserie chicken with frozen rice and bagged salad or sandwiches with a piece of fruit.
Having a simple meal and snack plan will help you stay on track while eating at home. Nutrition is not black and white, so we very much expect our clients to use their meal and snack plans as a guide for the week. Having a plan for 2-3 choices at meals makes grocery shopping easier and ensures you always have a few options during the week to fall back on.
Want a simple meal plan fit for your preferences and cooking abilities? Schedule a free call with one of our dietitians to get started with food coaching.
Do you need to create a healthy work at home routine? We are here to support you in creating a lasting, healthy routine. Your dietitian will provide recommendations fit for your work schedule, preferences and lifestyle. Schedule a complimentary call to get your questions answered about our nutrition services and make sure working together is a good fit.
What To Eat Before & After Your Workouts
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