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Working at home? How to avoid piling on the pounds!

Working at home can threaten your waistline. Learn the 9 key strategies that will help you avoid gaining weight while you make a success of your business.

It's so tempting isn't it? Work is not going well. Or you have a deadline looming. Or you've got to update your accounts. Much easier to make endless trips to the fridge to fill up on snacks!

But when you start working at home, it can be alarming how quickly the pounds creep up, just because food is so available. And you bitterly regret all those snacks next time you get on the scales or try to do up something you haven't worn for a while.

Now, a normal office is not always the easiest place to control overeating either - everyone brings cakes and candy to share for the most minor celebration, and you have more opportunity for social type eating and drinking at lunch and after work. But a full fridge is a bigger threat - after all no one is watching you like they would be if you had three pieces of the cake at work!

Keeping out of the kitchen altogether would be one solution. You could pack your lunch and healthy snacks before you start the day, have a supply of cool drinks and set up tea and coffee making facilities in your home office - pretend you don't have a kitchen. But most of us won't do that. We like being at home because we have access to all the facilities that home offers. Sometimes it's great to be able to start dinner early or do a couple of chores while we take a breather from our other tasks.

But there are a few things you CAN do without making the kitchen and the fridge a "no-go" area.

  • Make your lunch before you begin work - or at least know exactly what you are going to have. This way you are less likely to dive for the nearest fattening snack because you suddenly noticed you worked way past the point when you should have eaten and you are ravenous.

  • Also prepare some healthy snacks so that you can grab them from the fridge and go. Sticks of carrot, cucumber, celery and the like make great nibbles when you haven't time to stop for a full meal. Put a tablespoonful of low-calorie dip into a small bowl if you don't like them just as they are.

  • If you know you are going to be grazing all day - plan for 5 or 6 mini-meals throughout the day, rather than grazing AND eating a whole lunch. While this might be impractical in an office, at home you can do exactly as you like - make the most of it. A typical day might be

    • A bowl of fruit for breakfast.
    • A couple of crackers with sugar-free peanut butter half way through the morning.
    • Vegetable soup or salad for lunch.
    • A yogurt with chopped up apple in the afternoon.
    • 10 or so pretzel sticks to keep you going until dinner.

  • If you can, try and take a break away from your work area while you eat so that you have time to focus on the food. It's too easy to wolf down a whole snack or meal and not even notice you've eaten it. If you don't have that focus it's harder to feel satisfied by the food you've had and you're more likely to want more straight away and overeat as a result. And of course you avoid those problems with keyboards getting sticky and work getting spoiled with bits of food.

  • If you're working at home, you may find you have to keep some foods out of the house because they are just too dangerous to have around all day. My downfall is chocolate. So, if I buy chocolate biscuits for my kids I choose the kind that I don' t like that much and they do. But you may have to decide not to buy chocolate and junk snack foods at all if you really can't resist. It will do everyone else good too. And you can only eat what is there.

  • As for exercise, at least make sure you move around throughout the day if your job is desk based. It's a huge bonus that no one can see you pacing around when you are on the phone, or doing exercises to avoid getting too tense such as rolling your neck, circling your shoulders or arms or doing leg extensions. If you make it a habit to move around just a couple of minutes every half an hour - the kind of break you need to be taking anyway - you will have taken over 30 minutes exercise in an 8-hour day! I find that when things get on top of me and I haven't had time for an early-morning aerobics session, 10 minutes vigorous housework once an hour works for me. I get some exercise, go back to my huge work task list feeling ready to tackle it AND I don't worry that my home is falling apart while I stay attached to my computer.

  • Look like you mean business. I know it's great to be able to slob around all day in sweat pants and a t-shirt but it will do your self-image no good and you won't feel that waistband expanding half so much as you do when you wear normal smart casual clothes. Wear something comfortable but smart. You have to show yourself that it's worth looking good just for you so you get the message when you eat too.

  • Keep regular hours. Although there may be a crisis or two where you absolutely have to work through the night and fortify yourself with pizza or ice-cream, you can't make this a regular habit for the sake of your weight, your health or your sanity.

  • By the same token, get plenty of rest. There have been studies showing that a lack of sleep causes us to eat more during the following day.
Working at home IS fantastic. You are in control of your own time and your own choices much more than you ever were working for someone else. Design your working life to suit YOU and how you want to live. Want to be healthy and slim? Then DESIGN your day to meet your goals. You are the one who calls the shots now.

Copyright 2005Find Article, Janice Elizabeth Small

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Janice Elizabeth is a successful weight loss coach, slimming club owner and author of "The Diet Exit Plan", an 8 week coaching program for automatic permanent weight loss. Request her FREE 15 page report "How to lose weight without dieting - 7 secrets the diet industry doesn't want you to know" at TODAY!

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