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 will keep you fuller longer. This will help curb your desire for convenient and often unhealthy pre-lunch snacking.
2. Cut out sugary snacks and candies.
Yes, they can be tasty, but unhealthy snacks don't satisfy true hunger and are digested quickly, leading to a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows. Instead of visiting the vending machine, bring healthy 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 bit of dark chocolate won't hurt.
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, helps fill up your stomach, 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. If you drive to work, park farther away in the parking lot, and take the stairs up to your floor.
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. You can also get a standing desk to stand more while working.
8. Try to be as active as possible outside of work.
Consider exercising in the morning instead of after a long day at work. Exercise can take place at a gym, or better yet, try spending time in nature by going on a walk, jog, or hike. Unloading the stress of the workday and giving your eyes a break from blue and fluorescent lights can work wonders.
If you're stressed, try breathing exercises or meditation. Spending time with loved ones, reading a book, listening to music, and cooking something nutritious can help you unwind. Skip the TV if you've been sitting at a desk all day.
9. Get enough sleep.
Waking up refreshed and strong in the morning may help prevent bingeing 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.
Margo Gladys, CHC, is a health and beauty coach based in New York, whose specialty is helping women attain beauty and confidence from within. Her unique approach in working with clients is based on the notion that looks depend on the inside rather than the outside and no amount of cosmetics and external procedures work if a person doesn’t eat right, live well, and cherish their body. Margo offers one-on-one consultations, as well as personally designed holistic programs for weight loss and management, skin enhancement and overall health improvement. Sessions are conducted in person, via Skype or over the phone.