Health

She Gained 40 Pounds Her First Year Working From Home. Here’s What a Day in Her Teleworking Diet Looks Like Now.

All photographs courtesy Monique Martin.

Have a Food Diary you’d like to share? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com.

If you’ve ever worked from home, you know what a siren’s call a fully-stocked pantry and fridge can be. Even a family-size bag of chips can be single-serving if you put your mind to it, right?

The struggle of maintaining a good diet while teleworking became all too real for Monique Martin, who says she gained 40 pounds the first year she started working from her home in Tysons Corner. She currently balances three different gigs: working for a market research company, doing social media strategy for Jinsei cold-pressed juices, and pet sitting.

Two-and-a-half years into her new lifestyle, Martin is working the weight off through healthy choices. In addition to trying to get in more produce and lean proteins, she uses MyFitnessPal to track her calories, a FitBit and a virtual trainer to encourage her to move more, and has five-gallon water jugs delivered to her house to encourage her to drink more water.

“It took a lot of trial and error, but I knew that focusing on making smart, healthy choices was going to be one of the bigger battles I’d face when so many temptations lurk behind my cabinets,” says Martin. “My food choices vary daily, but there are a repeat cast of characters, from greens, to fruits, to lean meats, and protein packed nuts.”

To see what Martin eats on an average day working from home, take a look through her food diary below.

Breakfast

“I’m a big yogurt fan, and not the Greek kind. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to find non-Greek yogurt these days! Greek is touted as being the better choice, but that sour milk taste just doesn’t do it for me,” says Martin. “I typically pick a Yoplait Light and throw on a bunch of local granola I pick up from one of the various farmer’s markets I try to make it to on weekends I’m not working. I then pair that with my favorite Jinsei juice option—Sunny. A combination of orange, grapefruit, carrot, and ginger are the perfect way to start your morning off right.”

Morning Snack

I like to keep my meals small in both size and calories, so I fit in more opportunities to eat throughout the day and trick my brain into thinking I’m consuming more than I really am,” says Martin. “Around 11AM, I’m usually ready for a snack and will get a handful of raw almonds and a piece of fruit, like an apple, to tide me over until I get a break in conference calls to eat lunch. Tip to those that work from home: put breaks in your calendar throughout the day to get up and stretch, have lunch, or go on a quick walk outside!”

Lunch

“My body craves greens on a daily basis, and there are so many salad choices out there that it’s almost impossible to grow tired of the stuff,” says Martin. “For today’s salad choice, I made an at-home version of a salad I had at a restaurant once. I used chard and spring mix as the base, added some cheddar and feta, threw in some leftover butternut squash chunks from a previous meal, dumped in a heap of cooked quinoa, pears, and walnuts, and topped it off with a vinaigrette dressing. I had some leftover crusty bread, so I added that on the side, and to drink, I went with just plain ol’ water.”

Afternoon Snack

“Around 3:30 or 4 PM I start hitting a slump, so I’ll usually make myself a cup of green tea downstairs in the lobby of my apartment complex, but they were out of tea today, so I made a small cup of coffee with cream and sugar instead. Sitting pretty next to my ‘cuppa’ is a handful of baby carrots,” says Martin. “Tip #2 for those out there in the same work at home/weight loss battle as me: try switching out one of your daily bad eating habits for a good eating habit for one week and see what a world of difference it can make. For me, it was replacing picking up a candy bar or handful of sweet treats for carrots.”

Dinner

“Most of my meals are easy things that can be made in about five minutes, and dinner isn’t really much different. Tonight, I made a skillet citrus chicken with a side of brussels sprouts,” says Martin. “For the Brussels sprouts, I just clean them, cut them in half length-wise, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle olive oil on top, and pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes or so. The chicken was also a quick prep. I cooked four boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins in a pan using olive oil, half a squeezed lime, cilantro, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and about two tablespoons of half and half.”

Evening Snack

A couple slices of fresh pineapple and a Hydrate Tonic from Jinsei are common go-tos,” says Martin. “I like to do my workout at night so I go to bed exhausted and have a restful sleep, and the coconut in the Hydrate is full of electrolytes to replenish what I lose from sweating.”

Have a Food Diary you’d like to share? Email ccunningham@washingtonian.com.

Consult with your doctor before beginning a new diet. Washingtonian does not endorse any diet without the supervision of a medical professional. 

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.