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How to Avoid Weight Gain While Working From Home (+Tips)

April 13, 2022
Written by
Team NutriSense
Reviewed by
Katie K.
RD

Remote work is now the norm for many, and whether you're in a co-working space, a cafe, or dialing into your meetings from a beach somewhere, you can see how it's changing the landscape of the working world. If remote work for you means working from home, you already know of its benefits. You've likely got more time for your family, flexible hours, and more time to focus on a healthier lifestyle. 

However, there are also downsides. One of the major drawbacks to working from home is gaining weight because it's so much easier to be more sedentary than usual. Weight gain while working from home is very real, but overcoming it is not as difficult as you'd think to manage. With a few simple changes to your work-from-home routine, you can get back to staying fit and healthy regardless of where you prefer to work from—even if it's in your bedroom! Read on to find out more. 

Reasons People Gain Weight While Working From Home

a man working on a computer

Maintaining or losing weight is never an isolated event. Many factors tug at the strings, keeping everything precariously balanced. Pulling on one without adjusting others could throw the system out of sync. 

Especially if you've just started to work from home, you may find that many of these factors can also cause weight gain. Here are a few reasons you may gain weight while working from home. 

Living a More Sedentary Lifestyle

You are sitting down a lot more, moving about less when you work from home, and your lifestyle is much more sedentary. And as some research explains, this can account for more weight gain than a bad diet. 

As a 2014 examination of national health survey results by scientists at Stanford found, inactivity, rather than eating habits, could cause an increase in incidences of weight gain.

Snacking More Often

A kitchen packed with snack foods is close at hand when you work from home. And since there’s no one watching, we make snack runs more often. It could easily add unwanted extra calories to your daily intake, leading to weight gain, especially when coupled with more sedentary living.

Skipping the Gym

Working from home means spending less time out of the house, translating to losing a little motivation to hit the gym. People worldwide exercised less, and many saw an increase in waist circumference as a result.

How to Avoid Weight Gain When Working From Home

If you’re still working from home or planning on moving to more remote work, here are a few ways to ensure that you don’t pile on the pounds.

1) Set Physical Activity Goals

mom and daughter doing yoga

Working from home involves less physical activity than going into the office. So you need to set physical activity goals to make sure you’re getting enough exercise. 

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (two-and-a-half hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and ideally 300 minutes of total activity including at least 2 muscle-strengthening activities per week.

Pro Tip

Plan your week to include some physical activity, even if it is walking for 30 minutes each day. Set an alarm or mark your calendar to remind you to engage in some form of exercise. Most importantly, don’t give yourself a hard time if you cannot meet your physical activity goals for a particular week. A critical review on goal-setting published in Health Psychology Review suggests adjusting your goals based on the time you have, the priority of the goal, and its context.

2) Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day

a girl drinking water and working

Sipping on water throughout the day takes your mind off snacking, and that’s probably why many think of it as an effective weight loss aid. 

Take the findings of a small study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research in 2013. It showed that drinking an additional 500 milliliters of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner decreased weight, BMI, and body fat.

Pro Tip

Drink a cup of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sip water slowly, as gulping it down may give your body mixed signals. It's so that drinking water has its desired effect: to keep your mind off eating and help you feel a little fuller before your meals. 

3) Eat Healthy Snacks Over Candy, Chips, or Cookies

someone working with a toast and coffee

Snacks and other junk food items are generally high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. When you have your mind on work, it’s easy to reach for a calorie-dense junk food snack. Instead, you may be better off trying to snack on healthier items such as nuts, fruit, celery sticks, carrots, and oatmeal. 

Pro Tip

Prepare your healthy snack in advance. Cook a bowl of oatmeal, cut up some fruit, or lay out a cup of mixed nuts. That makes it much easier to get a helping of healthful snacking in. However, make sure that you don’t go overboard. Keep the quantity down to a minimum. You can put a note on your snacks reminding you to eat mindfully.

4) Get Enough Sleep

someone sleeping

Sleep deprivation leads to metabolic “grogginess.” It may not seem all that important, especially since people have been working later, according to the latest data from Microsoft

But sleep does impact metabolic activity, which can affect weight gain. Several studies, like this one in Sleep Medicine Reviews, also tie a lack of sleep with weight gain and diabetes risk.

Pro Tip

To make sure you get good quality sleep and enough of it, try setting a rule limiting the use of devices (computers, phones, and TVs) in the hours before bedtime. The blue light they emit can interrupt sleep patterns. Another way to nod off on time is simply turning off the lights and lying down. You could do something that makes you sleepier, like reading a book.

5) Add More Protein to Your Diet

someone working with a plate of ham toast

Eating meals high in protein can increase satiety, keeping you feeling full for longer. Protein can improve the blood sugar response to a meal; this is especially true for those with type 2 diabetes. 

Additionally, diets higher in protein can increase the satiety of a meal, so you’re less likely to overeat. One study found that casein, the protein in milk, and pea protein, were the most effective in reducing appetite when eaten 30 minutes before a meal. 

So, a milk-based snack such as Greek yogurt or a helping of roasted peas before a meal could be an excellent way to keep your weight down.

Pro Tip

One easy way to include more protein in your diet is to switch out starchy foods for proteins. For example, eating quinoa or legumes instead of rice can add protein to your meals without significantly changing your eating habits. If you don’t like quinoa, you can add a cup of Greek yogurt or even a protein shake to your breakfast meals.

6) Unglue Yourself From Your Chair

a girl cleaning the shelves

Working from home can mean little to no physical activity for some. A sedentary lifestyle has many adverse effects on health, including cardiovascular health. Still, weight gain may not be tied to sitting, specifically. 

But whether or not sitting for long hours plays a role in weight gain, it's not healthy. So you should stand up, walk around, and stretch at least every two hours or so. ​​If you have the option of using a standing desk or treadmill desk that could also be a good way to avoid sitting for too long. 

Pro Tip

One easy way to make sure you unglue yourself from your chair is to drink plenty of water. That will ensure that you get up and go to the bathroom regularly when you can stretch your legs and walk around a bit. Take a regular break every hour to walk around, refresh your mind, and stretch your muscles. 

7) Stick to a Routine

girl watering plants

Achieving your weight goals could come down to sticking to a routine. It’s that important! Many people who start enthusiastically report waning focus as time goes by. You can set daily or weekly routines, but be sure to stick to them to see your weight loss goals all the way through. 

For instance, you could have different healthy breakfast options each day of the week. Include a day or two of gym exercise in your weekly routine, and go to bed early each night.

Pro Tip

If a routine doesn’t seem to be working at first, change it up a bit. Not everything works for all people. Modify something that’s good but doesn’t quite work for you, and you’ll soon be extracting the most out of it. 

8) Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption

a girl working and drinking water

A review of research findings says that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption is not associated with weight gain, but heavy drinking might be. Some alcohol is high in calories, and consuming it can interfere with your body. It can negatively influence metabolism, interrupt hormone function, and lead to poor food choices. It's always best to moderate your consumption. 

Pro Tip

Plan ahead to limit your consumption: Tell yourself that you’ll only drink a certain amount and stick to it. Pace yourself while drinking: Have no more than one drink per hour and drink lots of water alongside alcohol. Don’t forget to eat: Foods high in protein can help lessen the effects of alcohol.

Engage with Your Blood Glucose Levels with Nutrisense

Your blood sugar levels can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. That’s why stable blood glucose levels can be an important factor in supporting overall wellbeing.

With Nutrisense, you’ll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can make lifestyle choices that support healthy living.

When you join the program, our team of credentialed dietitians and nutritionists are available for additional support and guidance to help you reach your goals.

Ready to take the first step? Start with our quiz to see how Nutrisense can support your health.

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The Side Effects of Unhealthy Weight Loss
The Side Effects of Unhealthy Weight Loss

Find out what unhealthy weight loss is and learn more about its side effects and what you can do to prevent them.

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6
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The Relationship Between Low Blood Sugar and High Blood Pressure
The Relationship Between Low Blood Sugar and High Blood Pressure

Learn about the warning signs of low blood sugar and the relationship it has on blood pressure.

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10
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The Positive Impact Weight Lifting Has on Blood Sugar
The Positive Impact Weight Lifting Has on Blood Sugar

Here is everything you need to know about the relationship between weight lifting and blood sugar.

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7
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The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
The Relationship Between Cholesterol and Blood Sugar

Cholesterol plays a very important role in the human body, contributing to the structure of the cells, helping with vitamin D synthesis, and also promoting the production of steroid and sex hormones, like cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, and estrogen. But how exactly is cholesterol connected to blood glucose levels?

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8
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The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

NutriSense dietitian Katrina Larsen, MS, RD,N, LD, CDCES discusses the risk factors for sleep apnea and how this disorder is linked to other health conditions.

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5
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The Paleo Diet and Blood Glucose Levels
The Paleo Diet and Blood Glucose Levels

The premise of the paleo diet is that the body can handle a mix of meats, fruits and vegetables, eggs, fish, and complex carbohydrates better than processed meats, refined fats, grains and simple carbohydrates because it evolved to eat the first category as hunter-gatherers.

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8
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The Health Benefits of Winter Squash
The Health Benefits of Winter Squash

A common ingredient in cozy winter recipes, winter squash is one of our favorite foods this time of year. Read on to learn more about how it can benefit your health.

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6
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The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers We Love
The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers We Love

Haven't finished your holiday shopping yet? Pick from this list of NutriSense-approved holiday gifts to find some great last-minute stocking stuffers for everyone on your list!

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8
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The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Health-Focused Gifts They’ll Love
The NutriSense Holiday Gift Guide: Health-Focused Gifts They’ll Love

Still haven't bought all your holiday gifts this year? Don't worry—there's still time to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Read our guide for some great ideas!

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9
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The Link Between Inflammation and Blood Glucose
The Link Between Inflammation and Blood Glucose

Learn more about inflammation, how it affects blood glucose levels and what you can do to prevent and manage it.

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9
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The Health Benefits of Adding Fermented Foods to Your Diet
The Health Benefits of Adding Fermented Foods to Your Diet

Fermented foods have a range of health benefits. Read on to learn more about what they are and why you should be adding them to your diet.

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9
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The Health Benefits of Potatoes, Yams, and Sweet Potatoes
The Health Benefits of Potatoes, Yams, and Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes are similar in usage, but pretty distinct in taste, texture, appearance, and even nutritional content! Read on to find out more about each one.

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8
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The Health Benefits of Living With Pets
The Health Benefits of Living With Pets

Did you know that living with a pet can do more than just put a smile on your face? Read on to learn all the ways living with pets improves your wellbeing.

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7
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The Health Benefits of Cooking With Herbs and Spices
The Health Benefits of Cooking With Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to dishes, and also have a range of health benefits. Learn more about a few of our favorites.

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12
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The Health Benefits of Beans
The Health Benefits of Beans

Learn about the health benefits of beans and how they can help you live a healthier, longer life.

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6
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The Guide to Metabolic Diets: What Are They, Do They Work, And Who Should Try Them?
The Guide to Metabolic Diets: What Are They, Do They Work, And Who Should Try Them?

Review our guide to metabolic diets to help get a better understanding of what they are and whether they might be right for you.

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The Foods and Traditions of Kwanzaa
The Foods and Traditions of Kwanzaa

Learn about the traditions and nutrient-dense food commonly enjoyed during Kwanzaa. 

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9
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The Blood Sugar and Joint Pain Connection
The Blood Sugar and Joint Pain Connection

Have you ever wondered how your glucose levels might be connected to joint pain? We'll take a deep dive into this connection and share tips for reducing pain.

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10
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The Best Diet for Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia
The Best Diet for Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia

This article explores hypoglycemia in non-diabetics, how to manage symptoms through diet, and the advantages of glucose monitoring.

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6
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The Effect of Aging on Your Blood Glucose Levels
The Effect of Aging on Your Blood Glucose Levels

Take a look at how aging can affect your blood glucose levels.

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9
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The Best Diet to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels
The Best Diet to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Read on to learn more about vitamin D-rich foods and what you should include in your diet to make the most of this vitamin’s health benefits.

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10
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The Best Diet for Menstruation
The Best Diet for Menstruation

When it comes to your menstrual cycle, what you eat can significantly impact how you feel. Read on to learn more about the best foods to add to your diet to help during that time of the month.

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8
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The Benefits and Risks of Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices
The Benefits and Risks of Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic healing system that dates back over 5,000 years. In the second installment of our series on the practice, review the benefits and risks associated with popular Ayurvedic herbs and spices.

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9
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The Beginner’s Guide to the Low FODMAP Diet
The Beginner’s Guide to the Low FODMAP Diet

In this article, we break down what a low FODMAP diet looks like for beginners, and its potential benefits and drawbacks for gastrointestinal health.

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8
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The 6 Worst Foods for Osteoporosis
The 6 Worst Foods for Osteoporosis

When it comes to bone health, good nutrition is absolutely critical. Read on to learn what osteoporosis is and why some foods may increase your risk of or worsen the condition.