The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an incredible amount of disruption in our day-to-day lives. More of us are working from home, the gyms are closed, and summer travel plans have been put on hold. Meanwhile, we’re all experiencing plenty of newfound stress.
All of these changes have had a rapid and profound impact on our lives—and for many of us, our waistlines. A WebMD survey found that 47 percent of female respondents said they have experienced quarantine-related weight gain. For men, that number was 22 percent.
But your new work-from-home schedule doesn’t have to equate to a more sedentary lifestyle. Here, we explore some of the top ways to avoid “the quarantine 15” while still leaving plenty of time to excel at your sales job.
In the WebMD study, 72 percent of people who had reported weight gain said a lack of exercise was the main reason for it. This is not surprising considering that many of us are not getting our typical exercise in.
The trick is making exercise part of your new, work-from-home routine. Here are some tips to get you going:
- Move all day long: In your sales role, you may be spending even longer hours behind the computer each day. Burn extra calories throughout the day by pacing during phone calls or setting a reminder on your calendar to get up and walk at the top of every hour. Have stairs? Take 5 minutes and run up and down them to get your blood pumping.
- Get outside: Before or after work, during lunch or between meetings, pop outside for a quick stroll—near nature, if possible. Even a 20-minute walk in nature has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which not only reduces stress but also curbs the desire to snack. Do you have a recurring meeting that you can take while walking? Give it a try, you may find you are far more inspired!
- Stand up more: Sitting for long periods of time can lead to weight gain and may be bad for your health. Challenge yourself to stand for portions of the day, either by moving your laptop to a countertop or creating a makeshift standing desk for yourself.
Tweak Your Eating Habits
Although being more active will help you burn calories and manage stress, watching what you eat is also important. Remember the old rule of thumb that nutritionists love: Weight loss is 20 percent exercise and 80 percent diet.
If you’ve suddenly changed from office life to working from home, establishing healthy eating habits is a must. Here are some tips for building a little structure into your diet:
- Commit to meal planning: Plan out your meals for the week to help you avoid buying unnecessary treats and to encourage yourself to stay on track each day. This will provide you some much-needed structure in your new work-from-home life. If you’ve already planned out your meals and snacks for each workday, you may be less likely to “graze” throughout the day.
- Don’t forget to stop for lunch: When you get absorbed in a task, before you know it, you haven’t been outside or taken a break for an entire day. Set an hour to take time for yourself just like you would in the office. Eat something healthy, take a walk outside, or do something around the house to get away from your computer.
- Minimize the bad stuff: If you’re like most Americans, your favorite quarantine comforts are heavy on carbs, sugar, and alcohol. Whenever possible, keep these types of calorie-heavy food and drinks out of the house. After all, if you don’t buy them, you won’t be tempted to break them out after a long day!
- Load up on good stuff: On your next grocery run, stock up on healthy snacks that will help you curb cravings for things like chips and sweets. This could include fruit, sliced veggies and hummus, nuts and seeds, whole-grain crackers and peanut butter, and Greek yogurt.
- Stave off boredom: Because we’re all stuck at home for most of the day, it can be surprisingly easy to find yourself eating out of sheer boredom. When that type of craving strikes, quickly get your mind focused on something else by going for a walk, playing with your dog, reading a book, or calling a friend or colleague.
Meanwhile, Give Yourself a Break
In this time of upheaval, it’s important to take care of yourself with regular physical activity and nourishing foods. But it’s also important to go easy on yourself. 2020 has been a stressful year, and we should all give ourselves a break when things don’t go quite as planned. It’s OK if you’re not “perfect” every day. Approach your diet and fitness goals with flexibility in mind and rest assured that both you and your team will get through this.