4 (More) Ways to Combat Dev Bod: Home Edition
In our last article, we outlined 4 ways to combat dev bod at the office and work toward leading a healthier lifestyle. But make no mistake, dev bod can creep up on us at home, too. When your longest commute may be from your home office to your fridge and there are seemingly endless amounts of stressors with infinite time to think about them, it’s important to take a moment and take care of yourself. How did I get here? Am I happy? Do I need to reverse the effects of dev bod? What can I do?
Reintroduction to Dev Bod
Wait, what is dev bod again? Dev bod. Oh, yeah. That body that starts to develop after sitting and programming (or other work) in a chair for hours on end. Staring intently at small, medium, and large-sized screens. Neck still craning, shoulders slowly starting to round. Deadlines looming. Additional stressors ranging from finding a new way to balance work and life to living in a time when things are constantly in flux.
In this article, we’ll look at a different side of combating dev bod, equipped with numerous techniques for you to experiment with. There’s more to reversing the effects of dev bod than movement and we will explore the benefits of things like mindfulness and sleep (yes, relaxing!) in improving your physical and mental well-being.
In our previous article, we outlined a few ways to stay active at the office that still apply at home. Exercise is well-known for improving our physical health, but it is equally important for our mental health. Exercise has been linked to help for depression and anxiety, decreased stress, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, better sleep, and a brain boost. What’s not to love?
I can feel my dev bod starting to improve already, can you? If not, start with this no equipment home workout you can tackle in under 10-minutes. It’s easy to adjust to your level, just do what you can!
If you’re over no equipment workouts and can’t wait until you get back to a proper gym, use the handy chart below to create your own home gym weight-lifting equipment to combat dev bod. You can use the same workout above, just add a type of weight below for an extra challenge or to switch it up!
*please attempt using these items at your own risk and ensure that all of the items you’re using are sturdy with minimal defects.
Mindfulness has become a buzzword typically attached to meditation. Mindfulness can be described as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”
- Set a one-minute timer
- Close your eyes
- Actively relax your jaw and shoulders on your first big exhale
- Begin to pay attention to your breathing
- Where do you feel your breath going in your body? How does it feel going in?
- If your mind starts to wander, re-focus on your breathing. You can try a different tactic. Maybe place one hand on your belly and feel the rise and fall as you breathe in and out
- When your timer is done, assess how you feel and be present for another moment before diving back into the chaos
I know, I know. Mindfulness is sedentary. And maybe even boring. Or unknown. How is that going to help me with dev bod? For starters, consistently high levels of cortisol (resulting from stress) have been correlated with obesity. Mindfulness practices such as meditation or breathing exercises have been shown to decrease stress.
At the end of the minute, do you feel any different? If this is your jam, try setting a longer timer next time. If not, try another mindfulness exercise.
Mindful eating (don’t worry, this is not a fad diet!) can also combat dev bod. When screen time is at an all-time high, there are endless amounts of binge-able shows, or there is a looming project deadline that has us eating lunch at our desk, it’s easy to be distracted while eating.
Here are some ways you can practice mindful eating:
- Just eat
- Savor your food without judgment or guilt; make it an experience
- Focus on how the food makes you feel
- Eat before you’re starved so you’re less likely to skip the mindfulness aspect
- Consider where food comes from
- Use all your senses
- Pay attention and listen to your body for cues on when you’re full (and let your body catch up to your brain!)
- Get in tune with your personal hunger signals
- Consider your motivations for eating that
In a study published in 2018, the mindful eating group not only lost six times more weight than the control group, but 98% reported using those same techniques six months later. One great benefit of mindful eating is it doesn’t take any extra time from your day because you need to eat anyway, right? Mindful eating has also been linked to eating naturally smaller portions and can lead to making better food choices.
Try a few and see what works best for you.
**If you have or are susceptible to eating disorders, it’s important to consult a dietician or medical professional before implementing these tactics as a strategy.
A second sedentary activity to combat dev bod? Score! This one may seem easy, but 35% of adults report getting less than seven hours of sleep per night while 50-70 million Americans have a sleep disorder.
But deep sleep has several benefits that include:
- Improved short-term and long-term memory from increased glucose metabolism
- Energy restoration
- Cell regeneration
- Increased blood supply to muscles
- Strengthened immune system
That translates into helping with dev bod in the following ways:
- Improved mood and reduced stress to keep those cortisol levels lower
- Get sick less often and be able to stay active more
- Increased thinking and focus to help you power through work and lower stress
Here are some tips to get better, more meaningful sleep:
- Stick to a consistent schedule: go to sleep and wake up at the same time
- 20-30 minutes a day
- Use your bed only for sleep
- Cut-off caffeine at a certain time
- Limit screen time before bed
- Create an environment for sleep: dark room or eye cover, comfortable temperature
- Try a sound machine
- Relax before sleep: take a bath, read, meditate, puzzle, etc
Whether this is your first or 100th attempt at combating dev bod, building habits and making lifestyle changes take time. It takes a little bit of experimentation, but consistency is important in seeing results. Identify the things that you enjoy because you’re more likely to stick with them in the long-term. Hate running? There are plenty of other cardio activities.
One way to help with consistency can be tracking. With smartphones and activity tracking watches, there are plenty of ways to digitally record your movement. If you’re looking for something simpler, you can try a simple goal tracker and mark off days you complete a targeted activity.
Here are some techniques to keep consistent:
- Schedule it! Put it in your calendar with a reminder or add it to your to-do list
- Set yourself up for success! For actions you want to do, make it easier, like leaving your sneakers by the door. For actions you want to avoid, make it harder, like pre-portioning binge-able snacks or not buying them as frequently.
- Never miss twice! If you miss a day, no big deal. Sometimes you need a break or life just happens. Try to not skip a habit you’re trying to build two days in a row to keep that momentum going.
- Aim for 80%! A different approach than to never miss twice.
- Habit stack! Attach a new habit you want to build with a habit you already have. For example, before you have lunch, you’ll take a 15-minute walk.
- Celebrate all wins (big and small)! Any win is a great win and one step closer to building the habits to combat dev bod.
- Find a buddy to support (and celebrate with) you! Having someone in your corner or someone build those habits with you can be really motivating! Whether that person is right next to you or a thousand miles away, find someone who will root for you and maybe try some mindfulness with you.
Start your journey to a new dev bod! Everyone’s journey is unique and and our progress isn't always linear. It requires a little bit of trial and error to see what works best for each of us.
In our last dev bod article, we talked about SMART goal setting. For you, what’s the best way to set goals? Do you need to schedule 30 minutes every day and know exactly what you’re going to do? Or do you need to set a goal to exercise 150 minutes each week and split it up when it works for you?
If that seems too daunting, start with one thing whether you spend one-minute focusing on your breath, 10-minutes doing the bodyweight circuit, or try to get in those 8 hours of sleep. However you get started, remember to keep at it and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always feel like you’re making forward progress. Enjoy the journey to your new dev bod!
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