February 2nd, 2024
Maintaining healthy eating while managing an online business from home can be quite challenging.
As women entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with busy schedules, stress, and limited access to readily available healthy options.
However, prioritising nutrition is essential for our overall well-being and success in business. In this blog article, we will explore practical strategies to help you maintain a healthy diet and thrive in both your personal and professional life.
In addition, I will show you how the C.H.A.N.G.E Formula can help. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions; you decide what you want to take or leave.
Why is it challenging to maintain healthy eating when running a business from your home?
As women trying to juggle business and personal life demands, we face unique difficulties when it comes to maintaining healthy eating. Let’s explore these challenges and find effective solutions:
1. Busy schedules and time constraints: With endless tasks and responsibilities, finding time to prepare nutritious meals can seem impossible. However, we need to remember that our well-being directly impacts our productivity. By making our health a priority, we enhance our ability to be creative and productive while making life more enjoyable. When health is a priority, we don’t need to “find” time; we “make” time.
2. Stress and emotional eating: It is also challenging to prioritise healthy eating because running a business can be stressful, and we often turn to food for comfort. This and sleep procrastination have been my hardest habits to break. Emotional eating can lead to unhealthy choices undermining our efforts towards a balanced diet. Identifying healthier coping mechanisms and finding ways to manage stress effectively are essential here. But for this, we need awareness. Often, we don’t even realise that such automatic behaviours are driven by challenging emotions. We don’t stop to reflect and find out which emotions are at play or what unmet needs make us reach for that tempting but unhealthy snack. Practising mindfulness can help you be more in tune with internal (emotional or physical) cues or external cues that might trigger cravings for comfort foods packed with fats and sugar.
3. Lack of access to healthy options: Working from home may limit our access to nutritious food choices, especially when time is scarce. I’m sure you can relate to situations when you worked non-stop the entire day or entire week, maybe for a launch, with little sleep and no time to buy fresh food supplies and cook healthy foods. Overcoming this challenge requires planning and creativity in order to ensure you have healthy options readily available. When you prioritise healthy eating and consider it as important as the work you do, you will make sure healthy food options are available and more easily accessible than the unhealthy ones.
Use the C.H.A.N.G.E Formula to help you maintain healthy eating:
But what is the C.H.A.N.G.E Formula?
The acronym stands for:
- Commitment, make a firm decision for change,
- Heartfelt WHY, or your long-term vision,
- Actionable short-term goals,
- Non-negotiable daily tasks,
- Gamified strategy to achieve your goals,
- Exciting rewards to celebrate small and big wins!
Let’s see how we can apply it to motivate ourselves to stick with healthy eating.
Write a personal contract to commit to prioritising health amidst a busy business life.
Clarify your heartfelt WHY by connecting the healthy changes you want to make with your long-term vision for your life and business to help you stay committed. To do so, identify how the changes you want to make will help you achieve that long-term vision.
Set actionable short-term goals to plan, prepare and eat your nutritious meals. These are output or “do” goals, as opposed to outcome goals.
Brainstorm and set non-negotiable actions that will help you achieve your short-term goals. These can be daily actions, such as scheduling breaks for preparing and eating healthy meals and snacks, or weekly actions, such as researching and planning healthy meals for the coming week, grocery shopping, etc.
Use gamification methods to keep yourself motivated. Approach the process with curiosity. Do experiments on yourself as if you are the scientist and the subject at the same time.
When you do this, there is no failure. There are only two possibilities: the hypothesis was supported or not.
The hypothesis for your experiment is: If I do XYZ actions on a regular basis, the result will be W, where W is what you want to achieve or some intermediary results that will take you towards your goal.
You could transform these experiments into games and challenges. For example:
- Food Bingo: Create a bingo card with different healthy foods or meal goals (e.g., “Eat a serving of leafy greens,” “Drink a glass of water,” “Have a serving of lean protein”). Try to complete as many squares as possible each day or to complete it by the end of the week.
- Cooking Quest: Challenge yourself to try a new healthy recipe each week. Keep a record of the recipes you’ve tried, rate them, and earn points for experimenting with new flavours and ingredients.
- Smoothie Roulette: Make a list of various fruits, vegetables, and other smoothie ingredients. Each day, randomly select a few items from the list to create your smoothie. It adds an element of surprise to your daily routine and encourages variety.
Celebrating all wins, small and big so that you can see progress. Even if you are a long way from achieving your goal, that doesn’t mean you did not make progress.
Reward yourself with things that excite you. Dopamine, the feel-good hormone released in our brain, is produced not by the reward itself but when we anticipate the reward. So, make that reward irresistible so that when you think of it, your heart skips a bit. But as you’ve guessed, don’t reward yourself with food!
In any case, if you reward yourself with something that is meaningless, it won’t help because the anticipation of that reward won’t increase dopamine and won’t motivate you!
A reward doesn’t need to cost you money. It could be just anticipating that feeling of achievement seeing a perfect track record for your non-negotiable actions at the end of the week.
Read also Part 2 for more tips on how to maintain healthy eating
Practise Mindful Eating
Mindfulness practice, in general, gives you the opportunity to recognise unhelpful thoughts, attitudes and behaviours that are against achieving your goals. Developing mindful eating routines can significantly impact your overall health and well-being.
Here’s how you can practice mindful eating while managing your business:
Practice portion control
Be mindful of portion sizes and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. You can avoid overeating and maintain a healthy weight by paying attention to how much you eat. Eventually, prepare and portion your meals in advance and store them in individual containers if possible.
Avoid multitasking while eating
Dedicate time solely to eating without distractions. This allows you to fully enjoy your meal, savour the flavours, and be more in tune with your body’s signals.
Listen to hunger and fullness cues
Learn to recognise when you are truly hungry or comfortably satisfied. Eating based on hunger cues rather than emotions or external triggers will help you develop a healthier relationship with food.
Balancing Work and Health
Finding a balance between work and health is crucial for long-term success. Consider these strategies to maintain work-life balance while prioritizing your health:
1. Set boundaries for work hours: Establish clear boundaries and stick to them. Designate specific work hours and avoid the temptation to work around the clock. This ensures you have time for self-care and nourishing meals.
2. Take regular breaks for meals: Schedule regular breaks throughout your workday to have proper meals. Use this time to step away from your workspace, enjoy your food mindfully, and recharge.
3. Incorporate physical activity into the day: Make movement a priority by scheduling regular exercise breaks or incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. This not only improves your health but also boosts your energy and focus.
For those looking to further improve their nutrition, here are some advanced tips to consider:
- Consider hiring a nutritionist: A nutritionist can provide personalized guidance and support tailored to your specific needs and goals. They can help you navigate your dietary requirements and optimize your nutrition for optimal health.
- Implement intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting is a popular eating pattern that involves alternating periods of fasting and eating. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine if this approach aligns with your lifestyle and health goals.
- Explore meal delivery services for convenience: If time is a major constraint, consider subscribing to a meal delivery service that offers healthy, pre-prepared meals. These services can save you time and ensure you have nutritious options at your fingertips.
Maintaining a healthy diet while managing an online business from home may be challenging, but it’s absolutely possible. By prioritizing nutrition, practising mindful eating habits, and finding a balance between work and health, you can support your overall well-being and achieve success in both your personal and professional life. Remember, your health is your greatest asset, and by nourishing yourself, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success. So, let’s embrace healthy eating habits, fuel our bodies, and thrive in our businesses. You’ve got this!