It’s about 6-7 weeks into the remote working phase. Many professionals have reported new habits creeping into their work-from-home lifestyle – erratic work timings, increased screen time, and above all, round the clock snacking. What explains this new eating pattern? Perhaps we are missing mealtimes and eating whatever, whenever, or we just have easier access to food! In less graceful words, this habit is called grazing.
If we want to, how do we stop this?
- Figure out why you snack. Many reasons fuel our snacking behavior. Some of us turn to food when stressed, some substitute snacks for meals, and many of us eat mindlessly because we see food in front of us.
So, the next time you find yourself with a bag of chips or your fourth cookie, think about what prompted the snack break? Hunger, stress, or boredom? Studies show that we cannot handle any kind of monotony for more than 15 minutes. So, unless we are actively engaged in some task that stimulates our minds, we’ll turn to food because it is pleasurable. It comforts us, excites us, and distracts us from stress or pain. Tune into your body cues to learn about your food patterns.
- Plan your food in advance. As tiresome as this strategy sounds, it might work. The reason we snack lesser in the office is because it isn’t readily available for us, right next to our desk. We have to go to a cafeteria or snack station. But, at home, the snack draw/ fridge is ten steps away. It is easier to get to when on a call, and no one else gets disturbed either.
How do you plan to avoid this? Two things – do not buy junk, low nutrient foods. Out of sight, out of mind. Think healthier, like nuts, fruits, sandwiches, etc. And the second tip – create snack bags. Maybe make 3 snack bags a day, with portions smaller than your meals. This will prevent binging or unplanned snacking. It also gives you some form of routine, if you’re seeking that.
- Stick to mealtimes. While we’ve been hearing this for ages, we might not be following it anymore. With sudden 4 pm lunches, 11 pm dinners, and coffee for breakfast, working from home could make our food schedule go haywire, and that is why we snack. We ignore our hunger cues, deprive our body of a healthy routine, and then binge. This affects our blood pressure, sleep, weight, and much more. To avoid this, have two meals around the same time every day. Schedule your work around it and not the other way. In turn, watch your grazing reduce.
Remember, snacking isn’t bad. Mindless over-eating is and that’s what we are challenging here. As someone rightly said, ‘eat good, feel good’.