Don’t hate me because I bounced back. I promise that I diligently ate my way through the postpartum haze and I always chose sitting down instead of situps, and yet, no matter what I did, the baby weight just seemed to fall off, and four months later I was feeling fit and fly and ready to rock my pre-preg jeans, just in time to return to work. But, you see, it wasn’t my fault. It was the fault of that other kind of genes. There was truly nothing I could do about it.
And so, resigned to my speedy metabolism (but of course I wasn’t resigned; I was thanking my lucky stars and praising the heavens), I kept eating whatever I wanted and I dutifully adhered to my sedentary lifestyle and then my baby got older and breastfed less and then I got older and my body got slower and…well, here we are, a year and a half later and I’m not feeling so fit and fly and foxy anymore. My weight is more or less the same as it’s always been, but my stomach has taken on the softness of a fresh-baked doughnut (no coincidence), and my butt is spreading across the couch cushions like an army set to conquer the living room, each dimple of cellulite a minion on a mission.
It’s been happening to me for a while now, this motherbody, but I really began to notice the difference when I started working from home almost exclusively. (For a while I was going into the office one day a week, but wouldn’t you know that day was always Tuesday, aka Doughnut Day?)
So how has working from home negatively affected my body? For one, my office isn’t a place where everyone has a bowl of candy on her desk for grabby passersby, and aside from Doughnut Day (a relatively new phenomenon), the only regular free-for-all goodies are herbal tea and fruit from someone’s backyard organic tree (welcome to Berkeley). This means that when I’m in the office I pretty much stick to the healthy lunch and healthy snacks I’ve brought from home, which is a textbook way for me to keep myself on track.
When I’m working at home, though? There’s a stocked, doorless pantry right in my field of vision all day, and instead of only eating when I’m hungry, I eat because I’m bored or anxious or sleepy or because I’m procrastinating or even just because the food is there, staring at me. For the most part, I’m not eating junk (usually), but I’m definitely eating more overall. When I’m at home, it’s easy to turn that morning cup of tea into a second morning cup and then an afternoon cup and then an early evening one too, and with milk and sugar to boot. And no matter what time of day or night, I can always go for a bowl of cereal. Add to that the fact that I don’t have to sneak my snacks from a receptionist’s bowl, and I can’t even be guilted into cutting back, even just to save face.
Based on what I’ve experienced in most workplaces (bottomless coffeepot, monthly birthday cakes, catered meetings, Doughnut Day, Bagel Day, Hot Dog Day…), I think it’s unsual that I actually have an easier time controlling my food environment in the office than I do at home (save for those damn doughnuts). As for fixing the situation, I have a variety of options–install a locking door on the pantry? rediscover exercise? hire a personal assistant to give me withering looks whenever I go for another granola bar?–but I’m also open to suggestions.
Anyone else experienced work-at-home weight gain? Anyone found a way to beat it?
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