Losing weight may seem simple: just eat less and exercise more. However, it’s not easy at all if your job requires you to sit behind a desk for eight hours or more. Add the commuting to the equation, and it turns out that you literally spend half of your day sitting on your butt. Besides, you are more likely to resort to junk food and unhealthy snacks, because it’s right in front of you and it’s convenient. Not to mention the fact that the stressful day at the office can crush your motivation and self-discipline and just leave you craving for a big piece of cake and a nice big glass of wine (or two) after work.
So is it possible at all to lose weight if you have a desk job? Yes it is, but it requires some serious planning and preparation. You will need a lot of determination in the beginning, but if you manage to get through the hard times, the result will be more than rewarding. Not only you will look better, you will also feel much better and have more energy. Here are some steps you can take to stay fit and lose weight even if you are working at the office.
How to Eat Healthy
Prepare your meals in advance and pack your lunches
Packing lunches is the best way to beat the habit of getting takeout or cafeteria food that is generally higher in fat and calories. Even if there is a healthy option, it’s very likely you will be tempted to get something fatter and starchier (who said tastier?). But if you prepare you own meals you are in full control of what you are eating.
You are probably not going to have much time during the week, so use the weekend to plan and cook as many of your meals in advance as you can. This may be overwhelming at first, but you can also portion the ingredients and cook the meal the night before. When your lunch is all ready, you will be less tempted to grab junk food. It is always easier to make healthy decisions in advance.
Keep healthy snacks in your desk
There is no reason to give up snacking completely, just make sure that you ditch the candy bar or a pack of crisps and take a fruit or a vegetable instead. Also, note that you snack is a snack, not a mini meal, and it should be portioned accordingly. Some of the healthy snack options include: a handful of nuts, sliced apple, air-popped popcorn, carrot and celery sticks… Be careful with energy bars because they might be filled with high fructose corn syrup, added sugar and saturated fat.
Keep a reusable water bottle on your desk and make an effort to finish it at least once throughout the day. Drinking more water will prevent you from overeating and taking in more calories than your body requires. To add some flavor you can add fruit, herbs, and/or spices. But stay away from diet soda. And if you need your shot of caffeine, drink your coffee with skimmed milk, and sweetener instead of sugar.
How to Exercise
Start adding physical activity gradually
The first thing you need to do is to move more and avoid sitting for extended periods of time. Set a timer that will remind you to move every hour – hour and a half, even if it’s just a two minute light stretch. Take walking breaks; you can use a pedometers or a fitness band to count your steps and monitor how much you move throughout the day. Aim for at least 10,000 steps or about five miles to lose or maintain your weight and stay in shape.
Do isometric exercises at your desk
First step: get over your fear of looking stupid. There are plenty of exercises that you can simply incorporate into your daily activities at the office, or perform them in a covert manner. Here’s an awesome article describing the exercises you can do at your desk without being “that guy”. If done consistently, these exercises can actually build muscles and enhance weight loss. And since they are low impact you can do them daily as many times as you want.
Schedule your workout
Don’t leave going to the gym for “when I have more time”. When it comes to exercise, every little bit counts; even if you can only fit in 15 to 20 minutes. But if you do not plan it into your day, it probably won’t get done. Make a plan to exercise every day or choose the two most hectic days of your week as your days off.
Few More Tricks to Shed Pounds
Switch your office chair for a stability ball
According to research replacing your chair to sit on one of those sports balls can help you burn an extra 100 calories a day, tone your muscles and improve your posture.
Listen to music
Listening to relaxing music reduces stress, but what does it have to do with losing weight? Turns out that cortisol, hormone responsible for stress, is also responsible for carbohydrate cravings and fat storage. So if you are less stressed, it is likely you will eat less and lose weight easier.
Don’t do it alone
Find a like-minded coworker and team up in your dieting efforts to hold each other accountable. Having a support can be useful when there is an office party with free treats or a cake.