Beauty, Health

July 18, 2016

6 Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight at Your Desk Job

I’ve been working in an office setting for over four years now, sitting on my rear from 8am to 5pm, sometimes with barely a thirty minute break to stretch my legs. I watch the women around me as they indulge in Starbucks, fast food, carb-filled breakfasts, chocolate, ice cream, snacks, and more Starbucks. Then I listen as they complain about their office weight gain, lack of motivation, and overall unhappiness with their health, and how they shouldn’t eat that last donut but gosh darnit, it’s too tempting and they have to. I’m always blown away that they don’t see the main reason for their woes: the lifestyle they lead.

It’s a pretty well known fact that those that work at a desk all day tend to have more trouble keeping off the pounds. Sitting down all day does some unpleasant things to your body. Our muscles get stiff, our flexibility decreases, our metabolism suffers, and our fat build-up increases. Now throw in all the time we spend pouring over social media, apps and games, which all require sitting (except Pokemon Go of course), and you have a major culprit contributing to America’s obesity problem. It’s no wonder why you feel lethargic. It’s also no wonder why or how the pounds creep up.

People ask me, “How on earth do you do it? You work on your butt all day, but you haven’t gained a pound!” It’s a question I’ve heard so many times in the last few years I can’t even count. And it’s often followed up with, “Bless your heart, I could never do that, I’d turn into a cow.”

Well, the reality is that you CAN do it. It’s true that after four years, I am still generally the same weight as when I worked in retail where I was on my feet all day. Part of it could be my metabolism, but I like to think that my conscious and intentional efforts to be aware of my lifestyle have played a major role in my healthiness today. Thus the reason I’m going to share some of my best advice for keeping slim and trim despite having to be on your tush all day. The two are not mutually exclusive, and it’s most certainly possible to maintain a healthy weight.

 

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First things first: as a general rule, the lifestyle you choose will determine your overall health. Of course I’m not talking about uncontrollable diseases or cancers that may come up. I mean that your weight, energy, and overall healthiness are a direct result of the day to day choices you make. If you are not willing to make changes or put in the effort, then you will not see results and you’ll turn into the donut-loving gal who can’t stop snacking throughout the day. So, now that that’s cleared up:

My six best tips for keeping off that office weight gain (for you students, too):

1. Say no to catered and fast food
This is probably the biggest contributor to office weight gain, probably because it is so subtle and so hard to say no to. I worked in one particular medical office where every single day, a medical or pharmaceutical rep visited the office and brought a catered lunch. And I don’t mean little finger sandwiches for us to share. I mean Italian pastas, baked and fried meats, tacos, pizza, you name it. Followed up with cookies and brownies. And then later the mid-day rep would bring an order of Starbucks for the whole office, or an ice cream sundae bar. For some reason when you’re sitting down typing away all day, your body gets bored and your mind tells you it wants a snack. Something to nibble on. It’s so easy to eat what is right in front of you. But I’m telling you: it’s a trap. You wouldn’t eat fettuccine alfredo for lunch at home. You wouldn’t have 3 brownies and 8 Starbursts and 4 chocolate bars after lunch. Or maybe you would. But that won’t get you very far. And that leads me to me next point:

2. Bring your own lunch to school or work
One of the worst things you can do is set yourself up for failure by leaving your lunch at home and telling yourself you’ll just “pick up something later.” If you take the 10 minutes to prepare a meal ahead of time and take it with, you will be more inclined to eat it 90% of the time (the other 10% is when you want to be a rebel, and I’m being generous with that small number). Make yourself a healthy sandwich with simple tuna salad, egg salad, or lunchmeat; substitute chips with an apple or fruit; bring a granola or protein bar as your mid-day snack; nuts are also filling and healthy. If you eat breakfast on the go too, don’t stop at McDonald’s. Instead, bring a whole wheat bagel or a homemade egg sandwich, have a bowl of oatmeal, or eat toast with fruit. Bottom line: there are so many healthy options at your fingertips. Prepare ahead of time so you won’t be tempted later.

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3. Get your chair-flattened tushy in the gym
A healthy diet goes hand in hand with an active routine. As unmotivated as you may feel after a long day of sitting around – your body needs to move. Whether it’s a 20-minute jog, an hour of lifting, or 30 minutes of an abs routine, DO IT. Your muscles need to stretch and calories can’t be burned unless you get moving. If you’re a morning person, wake up an hour early and get it in before class or work. If you’re like me and wake up with the sun and not a minute earlier, then take your gym clothes with you, change at school or work, and head straight to the gym before you get home –  leaves no room for excuses.

4. Take a stretch break, take the stairs, take a walk
Sometimes it might be impossible to take a long walk around your office, or you may not have a flight of stairs to take. But in any way you can, find ways to get away from your seated spot and stretch your legs. Use your lunch break to walk, eat in the sunshine so you can get some Vitamin D (one of my favorite things to do), or literally take a stretch break to get the blood flowing. Staying stagnant all day long for 8-10 hours straight is sure to do some body damage.

5. Water, water, and more water
I can’t stress enough how important your water intake is. You should drink at least half your weight in ounces every single day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water, which is around 9-10 cups. I bought myself a 24-ounce water bottle from Walmart for a few bucks, and bring it to work every day. It keeps me accountable and is much easier than having to fill a glass every hour. I drink 2-3 every day, which is about 6-9 cups, and that’s not including what I drink when I get home. Also: I never drink coffee, rarely have Starbucks frapps, never drink soda, and only occasionally have sugary juices. My main source of liquid is 90% water, and occasional milk, orange juice or lemonade. By not drinking caffeine and tons of sugar and carbs, I greatly reduce the amount of fat my body needs to fight off. Not to mention it helps digest everything else and keep my body strong and hydrated – which also gives me more energy. *My body is now so used to my water intake, that it tells me when I haven’t had enough by giving me a headache!

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6. All in moderation
The best advice that I can share overall – since everyone’s needs are different – is that it is always best to take everything in moderation. The lifestyle I lead allows me to indulge in the occasional delicious, catered lunch, without fear of packing on pounds. Training myself to have so much water now gives me the freedom to enjoy a yummy vanilla shake dipped in fries for a date night with my husband without feeling regrets. And by bringing an apple instead of a chocolate bar as my mid-day snack, I have control of what I consume and therefore have control of my weight. You can too. I know the snacks are tempting. But start making changes one by one, and not only will you feel better, you’ll see results!

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Drop a note in the comments and let me know what YOU’VE done to change your health around!

PS. These aren’t necessarily tips on how to lose weight; rather, how to take preventative action against gaining extra pounds while you work on your butt all day, and how to live a balance lifestyle. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if you happen to drop a few pounds by making some of these changes! 😉 Go for it!

  1. Lisa Hammond says:

    I love this. I’m sitter here eating cheezits, but I’m going to go workout now. And drink some water!

  2. Kandi says:

    Great advise!

  3. crystalbolinphotography says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Judith says:

    Drink more water… I’m pretty good about this but could definitely stand to do better 😀

  5. Monashee says:

    Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate… couldn’t agree more. Feeding our body and our brain thoughtfully with things that nourish is absolutely true. Thanks for sharing.

    • Charity says:

      Yes! You can never hydrate enough! Honestly the hardest part is just how much it makes you pee! haha 😉

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