Tips and Tricks for Staying Fit At the Office
Two weeks ago a Great Challenge (#LTADARESU) with an amazing reward (a pair NIKE Air Max trainers) started and I?m happy to announce that a few of my lovely readers have already begun to actively participate in it. Today the adorable Sarah from Seriously Shallow published a post regarding the Healthy Living Goal she?s set for herself and all I could say is ? Keep it up, S.!
However, when the #LTADARESU Challenge was launched a couple of my readers, now full-time employed, asked me to give them some advice for how to keep up with their Healthy Living Lifestyle when they are spending most of their time in the office. The main issues raised were mainly regarding their inability to make better healthy eating choices, having to spend 8 hours a day behind a desk. Also, with all the meetings, projects and responsibilities they have, they mentioned that they hardly have time to ‘mindfully’ think about the food they should have and that they rarely can enjoy a proper meal outside the office. Instead, they are going for the easiest options ? munching on a slice of pizza or a tuna + mayonnaise sandwich while typing down an important e-mail. A friend of mine who recently started a new job also complained that she was gaining weight despite the fact that she was ?under? eating during the day to save enough calories for a fancy restaurant meal at dinner.
Two years ago when I started my first full-time job at a Consultant Company this was also the first time I found myself struggling to maintain a healthy living lifestyle. Previously, when I was still doing my degree in Loughborough University I had developed a healthy living routine ? eating 5 smaller meals a day, going to the gym 5 days a week. Not only was I feeling great, but my body was toned and perfectly shaped. However, when I started spending day in, day out in the office all of that changed. Rather than having a proper breakfast at home I was having coffee+’organic? (or in other words processed) biscuits with the colleagues. Rather than going out to have a proper lunch, I was having another cup of coffee and some more of the ?supposedly? healthy biscuits, vindicating my ?poor? decisions with the lack of time. Overly stressed whether I?d be able to meet the fast-approaching deadlines, I also became way too negligent when it came to my H2O consumption (more about the importance of water here). And, guess what, the moment I entered my flat (which would be around 9PM) all I wanted was to indulge in some nice and tasty food, while enjoying a glass (or a bit more) of Pinot Gris. Also, as by the end of the day I was always way too hungry and exhausted, I started regularly skipping my evening workouts. You can probably guess what the final results were, especially for someone whose body was way too used to working out. Also, I started sleeping poorly, feeling quite sad and miserable most of the time. Well, this kept on for around three months until a friend of mine reminded me of the ?Food Combining Principle?, which motivated me to modify my lifestyle for good. It was time for me to thrive again and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Today I?ll be sharing with you a few tips and tricks I learned while woking in an office in order to stay fit+healthy, while also being focused while completing your everyday tasks.
1. Plan Your Day Ahead
Rather than deeming your everyday strict work schedule something that works against you (in regards to your healthy living lifestyle) it?s time that you see that it can actually work to your advantage. The best thing about working full-time is that your day is ?structured? – you are aware when your meetings will be held and you certainly know when your deadlines are. Similarly to the way you manage to organise your daily work assignments you have to get your meals + workouts organised too.
Personally, I found it easier to have breakfast at work. Though I used to love my morning cereal, as I?ve mentioned before, I?ve completely omitted from my diet the colourful cereals, which are rich only in sugar + preservatives. Also, I’ve stopped combining milk with anything but honey (more about that here). If you’d like to have a filling breakfast, go for yoghurt+unprocessed oats+honey instead.
And if you are wondering what I mean when I talk about processed food – I found a great example:
My personal preference, however, is the lighter breakfast, which ensures that I’ll be hungry enough to have a proper lunch around noon. So, every other day, I stocked the fridge at the office with full-fat Greek yoghurt (why full-fat? here), seasonal fruits, and, of course, always had some honey on the shelf. Depending on the season and my mood my breakfast varied. I?d have yoghurt+berries+honey; yoghurt+banana+honey; I?d prepare a freshly squeezed citrus fruit juice; or if I felt like it I?d have a smoothie. No matter what my choice was I always ensured to have a breakfast rich in fibres and vitamins in order to provide my body with the energy it needs to help me stay focused up until noon. Also, when you develop the routine for having breakfast, you’ll boost your metabolism and calm your body down. Yes, if you regularly skip breakfast your body will start stocking the food you later on provide it with, beware that you might choose not to feed it any time soon.
Get Snacks: raw nuts, dries fruits (apricots, sultanas), fresh fruits, a piece of whole wheat bread + home made pesto/salsa, chocolate.And if you are flashing a puzzled expression now ? no, chocolate is not that bad for you as it will quickly provide your body with some energy, and will also trigger a smile on your face. Just ensure that the chocolate is plain ? without any nuts, fruits and caramel in it. Only the plain chocolate (be it the milk or the dark one) answers the food-combining principle we?ve previously discussed. And ultimately, no matter what your snack choice is try and have it around 3-4 o?clock. This ensures that you?d have already digested the food you had during lunch.
P.S. When you select your snacks ? make sure to get as much as you?ve planned to have this exact day and not more. Under stress we tend to overeat, so buy a smaller chocolate (40 gr.) and a smaller package of raw nuts which is a little trick to restrain yourself from overeating. And just like that when you ensure to eat enough healthy foods during the day, you also ensure to have smaller meals during dinner. And what more would you and your body want?
2. Find a buddy to join you in this healthy living adventure
There will also be at least one cheeky instigator at the office who will be constantly ordering fast food, regularly indulging in crisps and croissants, drinking soda and concentrated juices. For example, my boss always stocked the desks with nice biscuits, expensive chocolates, cakes, etc… and I do know how difficult it is to say ‘NO’. But you know, if you look around the room I’m pretty certain that you’ll find at least a couple of people who?d be willing and actually rather excited to join you in this healthy living adventure. If you find a buddy for support, you?ll find it easier to stick to a better diet. You can always go out of the office to get some lunch and help each other stay away at least from some of the tasty temptations that could be found around the office.
3. Every time you get the chance – Stand Up and Walk Around
Take the stairs – as often and as much as you can! Go to the water machine every 40 minutes or so. This will help you consume enough water during the day (how to calculate the amount of water your body needs here) + you?ll do your body a favour giving it the chance to freshen up! For example, something I was regularly doing was volunteering to buy my colleagues lunch. The days in which I didn?t feel like going out to a restaurant during my lunch break, I scribbled down the orders of my colleagues and walked around the streets to get whatever they had requested. I was speeding up my pace in order to get all the orders for around 30 minutes and then have 30 left to enjoy my lunch at the office kitchen. Yes, it was 2 in 1 ? not only was I doing some cardio while walking quickly, but so I was having my lunch far away from my desk. Remember that when you’re having food in front of the lap-top or any other mind distractor (TV) it’s highly likely that you?ll overeat. To avoid overeating, ensure that your mind is focused on the food rather than on some other device. Then have a 10 minutes chat with a colleague before you head back to your desk all ready to finish your daily tasks.
4. Exercise regularly!!!
Until you actually sit and plan when you’ll be doing your regular workouts, I’m sorry to break it to you, but, no, you’ll never be able to find enough time. So, starting from today – find a workout that will make you smile, a workout that you won’t regard as yet another chore. Choose Zumba, Kangoo Jumps or Aerobics ? the options are limitless and all in your hands. Also, I?m pretty sure that near your office and home there are at least a few sport centres which you can start regularly visiting. My choice when I was working was to attend Zumba classes every Monday and Friday at 19h. Every Wednesday morning, I was completing an HIIT at home. The thing is that when you work in an office you spend most of your time comfortably seated behind a desk… and if you don’t find some time to give your body the exercises it need, with time it will become lazier and lazier. Cellulite lumps will slowly appear and it will be much more difficult for you to get back into shape.
Really, it?s all about planning and being willing to actually change your lifestyle for good.
Are you in for that positive change?
And while still talking about fitness I want to share a few photos of the girls (here) who have decided to participate in the #LTADARESU Challenge. They are such a healthy living inspiration!!! They’ve been hash-tagging the steps they’ve chosen to undertake in order to achieve their Healthy Living Lifestyle goal! Check out their tweets here.