The COVID-15 is a real thing, and working from home has derailed my finely tuned eating routine leading to some lost ground in the healthy living strategy that allows me to run successfully. This is a series I'll be writing over the next few months as I try to set some rules and strategies around a healthier lifestyle.
It sounds obvious, but I need to cut out the workday snacking.
When I'm at an actual office, out of the house, stuck at the top of an elevator ride or the near end of a long walk or the back of a coffee line, second thoughts about stuffing something quick into my mouth have time to germinate, grow, and blossom. When a pantry stuffed with chips and cookies and leftover pizza is a thoughtless few steps away, those second thoughts are still rattling around as a handful of seeds as I'm wiping the crumbs off my hands.
Motivation is largely about decision-making. Deciding to do something is the hard part. Much has been written about the idea of decision-fatigue and the notion that the human brain has a flexible but limited capacity to make decisions, particularly tough ones. So, days full of stress or packed with lots to think about, tend to result in over-eating -- not because of the stress, but because of the vacuum that the stress leaves behind. Stress eating is often just the inability to decide a better option because the brain is out of decision power, and the easy default option is to revert to our baser instinct of stuffing more calories in our mouths.
The pandemic has been nothing if not stressful, full of complex anxieties and subtle decision-making. My personal experience has been days filled with long working hours, responding to multiple requests from business colleagues who were flung into complex and urgent roles. It was lots of thinking, and rethinking, and making decisions on the fly about important things that affected a lot of people.
Food was simple. Eat. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
And that while at the office I was leaning on the crutch of having the real barrier of having to wait for an elevator, or stand in line at a cafe, or walk to the food court, at home that crutch was suddenly gone and I never replaced it.
So rule number one for this the first week of my COVID-15 reset, is kill the workday snack-athon. Between breakfast and lunch, no calories consumed. Between lunch and dinner, no calories consumed. The reward? Successfully pulling through a week of snack-free working means I can enjoy a guilt-free dessert on Saturday evening.