• Health

How to Avoid Packing on the Freelancer Fifteen

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

I quit my full-time job in March and have been busy freelancing from !!:!! a.m. until ??:?? p.m. every day since. Between having a home office that’s literally steps away from the kitchen, and spending hours stuck in the same sedentary position, losing track of time like an alien-abduction victim, I’ve noticed the scale is creeping in an unfavorable direction.

I started to wonder—is this a freelancer phenomenon similar to the Freshman 15? Did I start a profession that’s known for helping me gain weight that I do not need or want?

Regardless of whether it’s a thing or not, I’ve been hard at work becoming more health conscious despite my hectic schedule. So far, I’ve learned a few tricks that might help others avoid the same unhealthy rookie mistakes I made.

Try an alternative desk set up

Do you sit and stare at your computer all day, too? According to the Smithsonian’s article, the Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks, "Spending more of your day standing could reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer."

After reading this, I built a makeshift convertible standup desk in my home office. It takes me less than a minute to go from sitting to standing and vice versa.

Not a fan of standing all day? Check out the DeskCycle. This handy device will help you burn calories while you’re blazing through projects.

Download a stretch or walk alarm

Once I get into “the work zone,” the sun could rise and set three times, and I wouldn’t notice. What I will notice, however, is an on-screen pop up that tells me to get the hell up and go out into the sunshine. There are a bunch of apps and services that provide you with customizable reminders to stretch, walk, run, or just resume breathing. My go-to favorite is Big Stretch.

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Schedule meetings…with the gym

Pretend the gym is your client. You can’t let this client down and you need to show up when you say you will. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s important to your health and life that you keep up with these regular meetings.

Keep junk food out of the home office

Yes, I will fess up, I definitely made this mistake. For those of you who have actual willpower, feel free to skip this step. For people like me who think they can buy a bag of chocolates to keep at their desk—similar to the way you would in an office—don’t. I ate entire bag of Ghirardelli before I even knew what happened—and I know it was all me, there was no blaming it on Jim in Accounting. Now if I want a treat, I actually have to get my butt out of the house and forage for it like our ancestors (sort of) did.

Have any more tips and tricks for helping freelancers stay healthy? Share them below!

Janine Lucas is a freelance writer, storyteller, and general badass (only two of those may be 100% true, depending on the day). She runs her own copywriting business,, and loves helping people and businesses tell and share their stories. Follow her on Twitter, @lucas7261.