Dear Maggie Series: Health + Happiness
When it comes to the winter season, I am all the more grateful I get to skip the commute and work from home! Nothing beats waking up to snow, and knowing you don’t have to leave your cozy house to get work done.
There’s just one thing – it seems there’s a direct correlation with the increase in my waistline and the decrease in my commute. Incorporating exercise into my daily routine has become increasingly difficult as the reasons for leaving the house have continued to diminish. Help! Do you have any tips for staying fit while working from home?
Frustrated in Frisco
You are not alone! It’s so easy to develop an unhealthy routine while working from home. Not only do you move less in a day, but you’re also within easy reach of that lovely space called kitchen.
In my experience, the key to staying fit is pinpointing the problem areas and identifying a solution that works for you. Here are a few tactics I’ve found successful throughout the years. Granted, while there’s no “one size fits all” these tips are definitely a step in the right direction.
Track your activity.
There are lots of options out there, the Fitbit Flex, the Misfit Shine, “UP” by Jawbone, and even most newer phones have some sort of built-in step tracker. Utilize these programs to track exactly how much activity you’re getting in a day. You can set daily goals for yourself, and even compete against friends and family in order to increase your accountability.
Track your calories.
You shouldn’t have any trouble finding a calorie tracking app on your favorite smartphone. Weight Watchers has an application to match their very successful program, MyFitness Pal can track your activity as well, and MyPlate by livestrong.com makes entries on the go a breeze. And if all else fails, go old fashion and keep a food diary. Simply forcing yourself to write down what you eat has an amazing effect on your calorie consumption and eating habits.
Get a workout buddy.
Anyone can create a gym schedule, but its all too easy to skip out when no one is expecting you there. Find a friend looking to go to the gym, and coordinate your schedules. Not only does this open up the possibility of ride-sharing, but at many gyms “couple” memberships offer a great discount vs. individual memberships, and you usually don’t have to kiss the other person to get the discount.
Put your desk to work.
This one might seem silly, but you’d be surprised how much exercise you can fit in WHILE you work. Keep a set of free-weights near your desk and take calls while doing a few lunges. Got a yoga mat? Set your computer to alert you every few hours for a 5-10 minute yoga break. Or why not invest in a standing desk? Whatever it is – you’ve got time – you’ve got the resources – you just have to get creative and discipline yourself to do it.
Pre-plan your hanger.
When it comes time to feed yourself, the easiest worm always gets eaten first and it’s usually disguised in sugary-salty goodness. My best advice for overcoming hanger snacking: buying healthy foods and planning your meals and snacks in advance. Apps like ShopWell allow you to scan the barcodes of items you’re considering for purchase so you can see healthier (and sometimes cheaper!) alternatives. If your problem is inspiration, Su Chef provides healthy recipes (by ingredient), or Blue Apron will deliver all the ingredients and recipe you need for an exciting meal. When you spend a little extra time pre-portioning and preparing – you give yourself a fighting chance for picking the healthier option.
Breaking old habits and getting into a healthy routine can be done! Just remember, working from home should enable a healthy work-life balance, not be an excuse for ignoring it. Take advantage of your work situation, find creative ways to stay active, and have fun doing it!
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Also, check out Dear Maggie’s advice on relationships and working remotely.