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The Easy Way to Lose Weight

The Easy Way to Lose Weight

The list of challenging weight loss strategies is endless, but there are a few relatively painless lifestyle changes you can make that have a big impact on shaping up, too. While eating at home instead of dining out is certainly an effective strategy to drop pounds, many people don’t realize it’s actually an unwise move to purchase the necessary ingredients for their home-cooked meals where they’d reasonably go to get groceries: the grocery store.

To lose weight effortlessly, never set foot inside a grocery store again. Let’s examine why, as well as a better alternative.

Three Reasons to Abandon Grocery Stores

1. Option Overload

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many choices

    Supermarkets have the ability to import goods from anywhere, and they have a goal of meeting the needs—and desires—of a wide range of shoppers and their diets. As such, there are endless options. Coming prepared with a list helps, but the abundance and variety of products inevitably leads you to feel like you “need” more than you came for, and to adding unplanned items to your cart. Those of us with even the best of intentions will see a favorite food, and convince ourselves we “forgot” to add it to our list, or otherwise rationalize buying it.

    On a related note, let’s not forget that our willpower is a finite resource. With so many options—and, therefore, so many decisions to be made—in a typical grocery store trip, we are bound to start slipping up and giving in when our willpower begins to dwindle.

    2. Your Senses Betray You

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    sense betray you

      There is a lot of psychology behind the way supermarkets are organized and the way their products are presented. Ultimately, a grocery store is a business, and businesses aim for revenue—in other words, they need you to buy stuff. A lot of stuff. To achieve this, certain items are displayed in a visually appealing fashion (for example, at eye level, as opposed to the very top or bottom shelf). Also, delightful smells are purposefully placed around specific products. Free samples of great-tasting foods are offered right next to their location on the shelf. Your senses are manipulated in a supermarket to influence your buying decisions.

      3. Availability of Junk

      junk food in supermarket

        Food manufactures are constantly introducing new food products to the market, and the vast majority of them are processed and loaded with unnatural ingredients. This category of groceries is ever-expanding, and it can be difficult to avoid every bit of it to stick to a list of fresh foods instead—it feels depriving. This problem is intensified by the fact that the store itself is set up in a way that encourages you to walk down these aisles of junk food, increasing the temptation to pick up these tasty-but-nutritionally-void treats.

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        Where to Grocery Shop Instead: Farmers Markets

        The selection of processed foods at a farmers market is significantly less than at a supermarket, and even those items that aren’t entirely fresh are likely made with wholesome, natural ingredients; perhaps even sourced locally. Most products that you’ll find here are straight-from-the-farm items such as vegetables, fruits, meats, and eggs. There are far fewer options here than at a grocery store, and while there may be some level of an attempt to influence you with a beautiful display or delicious smells and tastes, it’s unlikely that any unplanned purchase you make here will be total junk.

        For those living in areas without farmers markets, two other options are befriending a farmer or two and “shopping” directly at the farm, or at least making it a goal to stay within the perimeter of the grocery store—where the fresh stuff is—and avoid the middle aisles completely if at all possible.

        Implementing these suggestions will help you reduce the amount of food, including junk food, you bring home, as well as focus on whole, fresh, good quality ingredients, which is the best way to lose weight.

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        Your turn: Do you shop at grocery stores? What about farmers markets? What other hacks can we employ to ensure healthy purchases?

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        Last Updated on September 28, 2020

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

        Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

        One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

        When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

        So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

        Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

        This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

        Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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        When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

        Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

        One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

        Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

        An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

        When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

        Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

        Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

        We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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        By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

        Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

        While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

        I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

        You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

        Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

        When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

        Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

        Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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        Con #2: Less Human Interaction

        One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

        Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

        Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

        This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

        While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

        Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

        Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

        This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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        For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

        Con #4: Unique Distractions

        Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

        For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

        To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

        Final Thoughts

        Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

        We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

        More About Working From Home

        Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

        Reference

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