Is Your Freelancing Making You Gain Weight?

It’s easy for freelance writers to get fat if they don’t watch their weight. I know this for a fact because I am living testament to it.

When I was still working as a corporate drone, I was trim and, I daresay, healthy. I weighed 110 pounds, and even though I hated wearing short pencil skirts and high heels, I knew I looked good in them. I never really made a conscious effort to stay slim in those days. I ate what I wanted and stayed at my desk unless I was called away. My only concession to exercise was I took the stairs instead of the elevator and I walked the distance between my building and the train station whenever I could.

Everything changed when I quit that job and started freelance writing. I don’t really like going out, so I stayed home all the time. I can get so focused on whatever I’m doing on my computer, be it work or a game. So there were times I’d look up from my monitor and see that it’s gone dark outside and I’ve been sitting at the same spot for the last six or so hours. I still ate what I wanted to eat. Even worse, I got addicted to sweet iced teas and potato chips.

Within a couple of years of freelance writing, my weight ballooned from 110 to 160 pounds. From then on, it became a struggle for me not to gain more weight. I have not successfully lost weight, but at least I have managed to keep my weight at 160 pounds.

This doesn’t have to happen to you if you’re a freelancer. With a few healthy habits, you can keep from gaining weight or lose weight if you have already gained it.

Get enough sleep.

One habit you need to cultivate whether you’re a freelancer or not is getting enough sleep. According to a Huffington Post report, researchers from the University of Washington Sleep Disorders Center discovered that you get to suppress whatever genetic disposition you may have towards weight gain if you sleep at least seven hours every night. You’re also least likely to compensate for your lack of energy from lack of sleep through eating.

Also, when you don’t suffer from lack of sleep, you’re more able to concentrate on your work. Your focus becomes sharper. Your memory stays clear. You’re more capable of coping with stress. Lastly, you become less prone to moodiness.

Eat properly.

Another habit you must cultivate is proper eating. It’s all too easy to munch on potato chips mindlessly while you’re typing away at your keyboard. It’s all too easy to pick up the phone and order takeout when you have no time to cook. It’s all too easy to grab a Coke or Pepsi to get your caffeine fix when it’s too hot for coffee (or you’re feeling too lazy to brew some). All these, however, lead to weight gain.

Diet is a matter of preference. Besides, this isn’t a weight loss blog, so I’m not going to tell you what kind of diet you should follow. But at the very least, you should try to eat balanced meals, avoid eating fast food, and stay away from junk food. You should also try to limit your intake of sweet and salty foods. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water daily, too.

Get a move on.

Exercise is a habit not all freelancers are wont to take up. Who has time for exercise when you’ve got projects piled on your desk? Besides, going to the gym is boring.

However, we freelancers need to exercise. Not only does exercise keep the weight off, but it also prevents back pain and minimizes stress headaches. Exercise is also great for maintaining our mental acuity.

You don’t have to be a gym rat to get your exercise done. You can bike. You can walk your dog. You can swim. You can play Wii Fit or Dance Dance Revolution. You can do yoga. You can sign up for dance classes. Just move your body briskly for at least 30 minutes daily.

Freelancers tend to be sedentary. It’s an occupational hazard. The weight gain that comes with being sedentary is not fun, though. The health risk that comes with being overweight can also cost us freelancers a lot in the long run.

I managed to stop gaining more weight by staying away from junk food and limiting my intake of sweets. But I’m not satisfied with just maintaining anymore. I want to lose weight. To achieve my weight loss goals, I started doing Zumba. Let’s see where that takes me.

What’s your plan for keeping the weight off while working as a freelancer? Please share your thoughts in the comments box.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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Permanent link to this article: http://annasibal.com/2012/06/freelancing-weight-gain/

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