How long has it been since you made (or at least thought about making) that determination to lose some weight and get healthier? Between the stress of a big project, the Tim Horton's timbits and double-cream coffee breakfasts, the 10-hour workday with your butt glued to your chair, and the homemade cookies and pies and chocolate truffles brought in by coworkers who moonlight as chefs and bakers, your chances of losing the weight and keeping healthy on the job may be, well, quite slim.
What you feed your body can have a big impact on how you feel, think, and move on the job and hours after you've left the office. And when you are super busy with work, one of the first things you compromise is your health and diet.
Not everyone can do a total diet makeover, but adding little health twists into your workplace diet is a good start. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Do the breakfast thing. Studies show that your metabolism works best in the morning, and by skipping breakfast you are signaling your body to go into starvation mode, causing it to slow down your metabolism. But eating breakfast doesn't mean 2 doughnuts and a chocolate éclair, which only provides lots of unhealthy fat and empty calories.
Balance a packed lunch with eating out. If you are eating out Mondays to Fridays, try to cut back and designate a few days during the week where you bring your lunch instead. That way, you can better control what you eat and ensure that you are balancing fast food or restaurant food with healthier homemade meals. And if you get takeout at the deli, they usually have a fresh fruit basket you can add to your meal.
Keep your snack stash away from your desk. Put your snacks in a cabinet or in the communal office fridge. Avoid having your snacks lying around on your desk so that you are not tempted to reach for it absentmindedly while you are focused on your work. On the same note, avoid eating your lunch at your desk while you work. Enjoy your lunch and give yourself a mental break.
Do frozen wisely. This is one of the easiest and most economic solutions during a busy workday - popping a frozen meal into the microwave. If this is your routine, take extra time at the supermarket to scan the nutrition labels and select healthier frozen options that are lower in fat and salt and smaller in portion. As tempting as it may be to pick up that no-name frozen chicken or beef pot pie for $1.99 sans nutrition label, it's not worth it! Add a fresh fruit to fill up your stomach if you still have room.
Hydrate with water. Water helps regulate your body temperature, keeps your skin moisturized, and helps your body flush out waste. Many people do not drink enough water while they are at work, and this would mean they do not drink much water at all during the waking hours. Being dehydrated can lead to fatigue and more snacking. More often than not, you see people toting a can of pop or a cup of coffee rather than a glass of water around the office. These other beverages may have high sugar content and empty calories that can affect your productivity at work. Caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee and tea in small amounts can increase your alertness and ability to concentrate, but in larger quantities it can cause headaches, irritability, and nervousness. Keep a large bottle of water by your desk and make sure you get up to refill it at least once a day.
Get moving. While your company may have rules about how many 15-minute breaks you get and how long your lunch time should be, there are ways that you can make healthy use of that time. Keep a pair of walking shoes by your workspace and partner up with a colleague to go for a walk during your lunch hour - getting some fresh air can also help release some of the pent-up stress of a hectic work day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator if this is an option for you, and opt to park your car further from the building entrance. Another easy thing to do is to get up and walk over to talk to your coworker rather than email when he or she is just down the hall.