If you’re a female entrepreneur and you’ve noticed a bit of an increase in your weight or a change in your relationship with food since starting to work from home then you’re not alone.
Going from working outside the home to working from home changes your relationship with food and can have an effect on your body physically as well as your relationship with it.
I’m going to explore a few reasons for this; you may recognise just one or you may find you recognise all of them as we look at them in turn.
Even if you had a desk job before, the fact that you’re not commuting and that your office space is likely to be much smaller and more compact than it was before means you’ll be far less active during the day unless you make a bit of effort.
If you’re fitting in a school run at all, is it possible for you to walk it rather than use the car? If you have a dog, can you make it your responsibility to get out with it, so that you can fit in that exercise?
If not, can you ‘walk to work’? You can set yourself up for the day by leaving the house, doing a 10 minute walk and coming back into the house ready to sit down and crack on. Make sure you’ve loaded the dishwasher and put on a washload before you leave the house (as you would if you were going out to work) so you’re not tempted to potter when you get back.
You’ve then combined getting into your ‘work zone’ with a bit of exercise that means that you’ve increase your activity for the day. If you wanted to, you could even repeat the exercise at the end of the day.
Erratic Eating Patterns
You may find that you start to eat erratically. With no need to eat before you leave the house, breakfast may slip into something mid morning or worse, not at all.
Even if you manage breakfast, lunch may be forgotten because you got busy, got distracted or it may be something really inappropriate you wolf down at quarter to three as you head out the door to get the kids.
Now, I’m not one for eating ‘just because’ it’s lunchtime but if you can, make an effort to work out when you usually feel hungry and set some kind of pattern, habit or even an alarm so that you don’t skip meals.
Erratic patterns mean your body struggles to know when it will get fed and so it becomes really good at hanging on to every last bit of food you give it, including storing energy you can’t use as, you guessed it, FAT.
Grabbing and Grazing
You may have the opposite problem. With more access to food as you’re in your own home, you may find yourself grazing or grabbing every time you pop in the kitchen to make a drink. If you’re a grazer, try to make an effort to have the right kinds of foods in, so that you’re making good choices as you graze. However, it may be that you’re bored or stressed and the real problem is emotional eating.
Emotional eating isn’t a food problem but an emotional problem. It’s not about the food, it’s a coping strategy to avoid facing the emotion.
When you work from home, these emotions can be a huge range, from boredom, when you’re doing those complicated, tedious tasks you don’t like, to stress, to worry and even to low self esteem when things are tough. In fact low level depression can also be common amongst solo entrepreneurs.
Running your own business is a rollercoaster. Some days it feels like wading through treacle and some days it feels fun. Other days you’re worrying if you’ll make enough money to pay the bills and others you’ve exceeded your targets.
We all have highs and lows but as an entrepreneur there’s a huge amount of pressure when you know the buck stops with you. And that can lead to emotional eating.
For me, working with emotional eating is a two pronged attack. Yes, working with the emotions in the moment is a big part of it but increasing your emotional resilience and underlying emotional strength in the form of calm and balance is huge too.
The two biggest tips I can give you for dealing with it are firstly, develop a habit of meditation and secondly, get yourself a journal.
Using meditation on a regular basis means that you increase your ability to deal with stress, you reduce your tendency to worry and you take things much more easily in your stride.
Meditation allows you to become more mindful, focus on the here and now and then to deal with situations in a much more proactive fashion.
This means that you’re going to reduce the amount of time you spend feeling the urge to eat because you’re less prone to an emotional rollercoaster.
Journaling is for when the emotions do arise and you feel that urge to eat. Instead of masking the problem and changing how you feel with food you can really deal with the emotion, unpicking exactly how you feel, why you feel that way and if possible, what you can do about it.
Sometimes the urge to eat is still there but more often than not, it goes away, once the emotion is released.
I’ve put together a really easy guide to help you understand Emotional Eating, what it is, how it manifests for you and what you can do about it. If you’d like to grab your free copy then feel free to pop over to www.rachel-swann.com/emotional-eating-pdf.
Rachel is founder and head cheerleader at Beautiful Swans. She is dedicated to helping you shake off the shackles of yo-yo dieting, repairing your relationship with food, strengthening your resilience and confidence and doing all this whilst falling in love with your body, yourself and your life.