Do you ever feel too tired to exercise after a long day at work? Do you end up craving sweets and junk food after a stressful day? Are you frustrated by feeling as though you simply can't stay healthy and fit because you sit at a desk too much? You're not alone. I'm a health coach, but my whole professional background is working in a corporate world, so I know the challenge of staying in shape in an office job all too well.
Just because you're at work all day doesn’t mean you can’t stay slim and fit. You just need to implement some simple lifestyle and work habit changes. So here's my personal recipe for staying in shape while working in an office:
1. Eat breakfast.
This is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. A wholesome breakfast can provide you with the energy you need to get through the first half of the day, and it will help prevent you from consuming junk food.
2. Cut out sugary snacks and candies.
They're everywhere in offices! Real villains. Yes, they can be tasty, but they don't satisfy your true hunger and are digested quickly, leading to a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows. Instead of visiting the vending machine, bring snacks from home, such as baby carrots, cheese sticks, nuts, hummus, cucumber slices, whole or sliced fresh fruit, small amounts of dried fruit, or savory crackers. If you really can't survive a sleepy afternoon in the office, a piece of dark chocolate is fine.
3. Bring your own lunch.
Restaurant meals often include large portions and high-calorie choices. You can eat healthier and spend much less money if you prepare your own lunch.
4. Stay away from sodas and sugary drinks.
They can help you stay awake while working and you may like their taste. But they really don't do anything for you and are full of empty calories in the form of sugar. If you need the caffeine, consider coffee (but don't go crazy) or green tea.
5. Drink lots of water.
It's good for you, and it will keep your mind off soda or coffee. It may help you fight off other cravings, too. Sleepiness is often caused by dehydration, so keep yourself well hydrated. If you want some flavor, put lime, lemon or cucumber slices into your water bottle.
6. Move as much as you can!
Walk around the office and stretch every now and then. Take breaks every hour or so and move your body. Use every possible opportunity to burn calories. Move while waiting for programs on the computer to load. If you need to discuss something with your colleague, go to his or her desk instead of making a phone call or sending an email. If you need to go to another floor in the building, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Consider teaming up with a friend at work to take regular breaks for exercise and to motivate each other.
7. Stand as much as you can.
This is healthier than sitting. It's better for your back, and burns more calories. Or switch your chair for an exercise ball. This will work your abs and balance.
8. Try to be as active as possible outside of work.
Join the gym, go for a walk. Try to spend some time in nature if possible to unload the stress of the workday and give your eyes and lungs a break. If you're stressed, try breathing exercises or meditation. Do something nice for yourself: spend some time with your family, read a book, call or visit your friend, listen to some music, cook something nice. Skip watching TV to give your eyes a break and limit exposure to unnecessary radiation. Besides, TV is another reason to sit instead of being active.
9. Get enough sleep.
Waking up refreshed and strong in the morning will help prevent binging and caffeine cravings later in the day.
10. Put some inspirational quotes or photos in your workspace.
Make your own bulletin board to remind yourself to concentrate on your health and wellness goals.
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To learn more about dealing with stress, check out our video course How To Manage Stress With Meditation.