It happened so fast; I gained 15 pounds in my first four months of working from home! No one warned me that there was this unwanted side effect of having a dream job working from home. That’s understandable though because I was working in a male dominated business; I don’t think my colleagues related to chocolate chips the same way I did.

That was back in the late 1990’s, before I became a full-fledged entrepreneur. A handful of chocolate chips (I kept a bag in the freezer.) was my response to any emotion. It might have been procrastination, boredom, difficulty making a decision, stress, or disappointment over a lost sale – it didn’t matter, back and forth to the kitchen I went! My total weight gain was just over 20 pounds when I recognized this non-hungry eating for what it was and implemented the following behaviors:

1. Incorporate movement. Here are some ideas to substitute movement when you find yourself reaching for food when you are not hungry:
a. Take a short walk outside to get some fresh air.
b. For a quick pick me up, do a few stretches in your office. I especially like the power lunge where you stretch the opposite arm out along with the leg lunge.
c. Workout for 10 minutes. This raises my energy so I go back to my desk refreshed. A much better high than the chocolate chips gave! You can ride your bike around the block, walk up and down your stairs, dance to your favorite tune, or work out with a DVD or your wii. Just 10 minutes will get you back on task for work.

2. Take scheduled breaks from work. I noticed when I started working from home I didn’t take regular breaks and instead took those frequent trips to the kitchen. To eliminate that bad habit, I added more structure to my day.

Now I give myself a break at certain times, say 10am and 3pm, and those are the only times, other than for meals, I allow myself to go to the kitchen (for a healthy snack). I take movement breaks at least once an hour, but limit kitchen trips during working hours.

If I notice that I am emotionally craving food, I may also take 10 minutes with one of these things to distract myself from eating:
a. Do something that involves your hands – like a Sudoku puzzle or weeding your garden.
b. Call a friend or write in a journal.
c. Put a comment up on your favorite social media site (Caution – getting sucked into hours on the Internet may be more harmful to you than a few chocolate chips.).

3. Choose to love yourself. Self-talk such as “You fat slob – you’ll never be able to leave your home office now because nothing fits except those sweats you’ve been wearing everyday for the last three months!” didn’t really motivate me to make better choices. Instead, those thoughts probably drove me further into the chip bag!

When I made the choice to nurture and love myself, which included discovering why I had the emotional reactions in the first place, I was finally able to consistently make better food choices and maintain a schedule.

When you notice you are diminishing your self-worth through your own thoughts, you can:
a. Flip immediately to a positive thought.
b. Repeat affirmations that support your goals.
c. Visualize yourself at your ideal weight.

Most importantly, use the emotional responses that are occurring during your day as personal growth experiences. There may be limiting beliefs, such as “you are not capable, deserving, worthy, etc.” that you can discover and release once you examine the thoughts that are behind the urge to eat when you are not hungry. Once I uncovered my limiting belief that I had to be perfect to be accepted (loved, promoted, etc.), I was able to let the chocolate chips go!

I’ve found that all challenges require both inner and outer solutions. I’ve provided you with tips for making outer modifications in points 1 and 2 above and inner change in point 3. When you make the inner shifts first, you’ll find that it’s much easier to stay committed to the outer actions you decide to implement to stop non-hungry eating when you work from home.

Author's Bio: 

Pat Altvater is an author, speaker and transformational expert. She inspires women, especially those that work from home, to transform their bodies and minds so they can release weight permanently and experience greater self-acceptance and love, which results in greater business success. Pat’s innovative Women Outsmarting Weight™ system provides a step by step process to resolve weight issues once and for all so you can focus on creating a business and life that makes your heart sing. To find out how she can help you release limiting beliefs and weight using her mind/body/spirit approach, visit Pat's website. Copyright 2009 Patricia Altvater.