Working from home is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you have the freedom to dress however you’d like, finish assignments from the comfort of your living room couch, and have an entire kitchen at your disposal whenever the afternoon munchies come on strong. It’s great unless you’re trying to lose weight.
It’s one thing to say no to a piece of cake at an office birthday party, but training yourself not to take a mid-morning break to browse your own pantry full of your favorite foods is a whole new ballpark. Then there’s the issue of not having to leave your house for anything other than grocery shopping if you so choose. Gym memberships sound good in theory, but so does moving from your desk chair to the couch to watch Netflix after a hard day.
The question is, under these super convenient, incredibly comfortable circumstances, how can you can you lose weight when you work from home? Here are a few expert tips on how to do just that.
Invest in workout equipment you can use at home.
You don’t need fancy machines and clunky equipment to achieve your weight loss goals. In fact, the director of fitness from Daily Burn, Amanda Murdock said you don’t even have to have a gym membership. You will, however, benefit from investing in a few basic tools to help speed things along.
“Most of the things you can do at a gym, you can do at home with a little money spent on equipment,” she told INSIDER. “For example buying a set of weights, bands, and subscribing to a platform to motivate you, like Daily Burn, will give you many of the same weight loss benefits that any big box gym will give you.”
Find activities you genuinely enjoy doing, and you’re more likely to stick with a plan.
Oftentimes, fitness is looked at as a chore — something that has to get done in order to reach your weight loss goals. Although it’s true that physical activity is an important component, it shouldn’t feel like a burden, and it doesn’t have to. The key is to find exercises and activities you genuinely enjoy doing so that the time you commit to doing them feels like time well spent.
“Finding the exercises that you like and will be consistent with is by far more important than spending a lot of time doing a form of movement that you think you should be doing,” Murdock said. “What I mean by this is, rather than spending hours on a treadmill or a bike because you think you should…do a type of movement that excites or motivates you regardless of the proposed effects on weight loss.”
Clock in the right amount of quality sleep.
Nutrition and fitness are two of the most important elements of weight loss. The third is sleep — getting the right amount, and the right quality of it. And because when you work from home, your living space is also your workspace, it’s important that you not only set parameters for yourself, and know when to shut down, it’s also important that you create a sleep space that’s designed for sleep, not work under the covers.
“Aim to turn the company phone and email off at least one hour before you want to go to bed. This will help you wind down,” former desk bound IT professional, turned certified personal trainer, Rob of Minimal Fit told INSIDER. “Also try dimming the lights at home, having a hot bath/shower and using an app like Headspace to help you relax.”
Create a space in your home that can be your designated workout area.
You’d associate a gym or yoga studio with exercise, right? When you work from home and opt out of a membership, Murdock explained, it’s important to make room for exercise in your living space by reserving either an entire room or just a section of one, and transforming it into your workout spot.
“Have your equipment (mat, weights, bands, etc) in a central location that is easy to access. If you need to shoo everyone out while you workout, do it,” she told INSIDER. “If you need to move furniture to create space, do it. Make your workout time and space sacred so you and everyone else in the house know that your workouts are important.”
Kelly Borowiec, CPT, founder of Keebs Fitness suggested that, after setting up a designated workout area in your home, fill it was a few basic pieces of equipment, like a set of 5-10lb dumbbells and a thick mat, to start.
Plan your workouts around the times you’re most energized.
Are you a night owl? Early bird? Do you prefer afternoons to morning and evening hours? When you figure out what exercises you’re most likely to enjoy, your next task is to figure out when you’re most likely to exercise.
“For example, are you a morning person and most likely to workout if you do it when you first wake up? Or do you always sleep through your alarm and have more success with yoga to unwind after work?” Borowiec asked. “I recommend starting an exercise and food journal to identify patterns. See what works for you and do more of it.”
Be mindful of your meals and snacking options.
Nutrition is just as, if not more important when it comes to losing weight — whether you work from home or otherwise — so if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll just have to find ways to nip mindless cravings in the bud. One foolproof method Borowiec swore by was filling your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks, and preparing nutrient-dense meals in advance so that when you go grazing, you already have good-for-you options at the ready.
She also suggested that, for someone who might be easily tempted by junk foods, to avoid buying them altogether if eating them in moderation just isn’t realistic for you.