When you’re working from home, with easy access to the fridge and cupboards full of food, it can be easy to slip into patterns of overeating. Food, of course, is vital for our energy levels, motivation and our mood, but it’s easier than ever to tip over the edge and indulge a little too much when your kitchen doubles-up as an office space.
Here, with the expert help of Third Space Elite Trainer and nutritionist Sebastian James (ANutr), we’ll serve up a few slices of nutritional know-how that will help nix any unwanted dietary habits.
It All Starts With Fluids
“In sports performance, a two per cent drop — via fluids — in bodyweight correlates with a performance drop. The same can be said with cognitive performance. In various studies of sportspeople, there was a noticeable drop in both performance and cognitive ability when the athlete was dehydrated,” explains James. “This potentially translates to a dehydrated WFH employee.” But, how much should you have? “Everyone is different in their hydration needs, and every day is different for each person depending on their activity. A safe rule to follow is that for every calorie you roughly burn, consume 1ml of fluid — it doesn’t have to be water. Another easy-to-follow sign is your urine colour, the darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are.”
Prep and Plan Your Meals
This is fitness lore writ large – by prepping and planning your meals, you’ll have far more control of what you’re eating and, more importantly, what you’re not. “My go-to advice for clients is to plan your week’s meals. As someone who loves cooking but dislikes food shopping, meal services are vital in my weekly nutrition, including healthy pre-prepared dishes,” explains James. “However, for pre-prepared food that I can just consume on-the-go, my go-to is Third Space’s own Natural Fitness Food. The ingredients are fresh and makes eating healthy both easy and delicious. They’re even trackable on MyFitnessPal.”
“Snacks are important to avoid hunger pangs and bingeing. Go for something that you enjoy, that is fairly low in calories and high in volume to fill you up,” advises James. “For example, popcorn bags, rice cakes, edamame, low-calorie baked chips and salsa.”
Register and Replace Habits
If you’ve fallen into a routine of comfort eating and responding to stress by rummaging through the fridge, reassess your habits and the triggers that cause this response. “Trying to control snacking habits is more about replacing them with other habits,” says James. “If I’m hungry before midday, I’ll have a coffee, as coffee is an appetite suppressant and generally low-calorie. If I’m hungry, I will have a glass of water and reassess in half an hour as thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.”
Start a Diary
Starting a food diary or food log, James explains, is a smart way of staying accountable to your goals. “We mostly know what we shouldn’t be eating when it comes to cutting calories, so journaling, or logging your food can be a great way to keep yourself accountable,” he says. “You’ll find that you think twice before eating things that you normally wouldn’t, or know you shouldn’t.”
Food for Productivity
Want to stock your kitchen with the right foods? Read on. “When it comes to food choices in order to boost cognitive function and productivity, it is important to note that there are no secret foods,” explains James. “The key factor here is a healthy and balanced diet. “I do believe that if you eat like trash, you’ll feel like trash. Follow the 80/20 rule: 80 per cent of the time, eat healthily in a way that meets your goals and, 20 per cent of the time, eat like Michael Phelps!”