How to lose weight while working
Aug 14 2017 By Carina Khoury - Dietician
The 21st century has witnessed some of the biggest changes to human civilization ever in its history.
From the computers to the internet, one of the most visible results from our advances in technology is the sharp rise in desk jobs and office work. The numbers of people sitting at a desk and working away on a laptop are so high that medical issues have begun to arise as symptoms of such work. How to lose weight at work has become a serious issue that companies and individuals have been trying to address.
Sitting at a desk all-day can be very problematic for your body. From the lack of movement to poor diet options and the psychological stress of staring at an artificially lit screen for 6 to 8 hours a day, sometimes longer. There are numerous studies that have shown the effects of such sedentary work. So what can be done to negate the effects of a desk job?
Well there’s quite a lot that can be done. A stationary job doesn’t equate to a stationary lifestyle. There’s plenty of advice on how to lose weight during working hours. The basics always remain the same, a healthy diet and much exercise. Let’s break it down into those two categories.
One of the biggest excuses we hear when asked how to lose weight during working hours is that they do not have the time to cook up a healthy and nutritional meal. However, making a home-cooked meal is easier than it seems if you give it some thought and planning.
- Pack you lunch box with a colourful salad plate, a protein-rich source (like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans or lentils) along with a carbohydrate rich food (whole grain rice, quinoa, pasta, potato, or whole wheat bread).
- Avoid and keep empty calories such as sweets, chocolates, pastries, chips and carbonated beverages out of your reach as these offer no nutritional value and instead fill your body with salt, sugars, saturated and trans-fat all of which lead to fat build-up.
- When thinking liquids, think water, unsweetened green tea and black coffee.
- Drink plenty of water. You can flavour your bottle of water with some lemon or lime slices, cucumber, ginger, and mint leaves.
- A latte has sugar and milk that adds to your daily caloric intake. Juices too, while healthy if made fresh, mostly contain just as much sugar as a can of fizzy drinks.
- A hot mug of coffee can pick you up midday while a healthy cup of green tea or flavoured water not only fills and hydrates you but gives you antioxidants that help fight cold and flu symptoms.
- Choose nutritious snacks that you bring with you and store in your drawer to help fight hunger pangs.
- A handful of dried fruits and nuts, a cup of low fat yoghurt with some fresh fruits, some vegetable sticks with low fat labne, guacamole or hummus dip are loaded with filling nutrients such as fibres, good fats and proteins.
All of these small but effective choices you make contribute towards losing weight while still at the office.
If you are required to sit and stare at a screen all day, it can be pretty hard to get your body moving. But that is only if you don’t let yourself get creative at the work place.
There are some simple and effective exercises that you could regularly do in your office. While these moves shouldn’t replace a more vigorous workout routine, they can complement one.
- Walking: Simply getting up from your desk to stretch and take a quick walk around the office is an easy solution on how to lose weight during working hours.
- Glutes exercise: while staying in a seated position, squeeze your glutes by contracting your muscles and hold for 5 seconds, then relax for five seconds. Do this at least 15 repetitions three times.
- Leg Lifts: Sit up tall and straighten one leg so it’s parallel with the floor, flex that foot, and hold for five seconds. Lower it slowly and repeat with the other leg. Do 12 repetitions of lifts 3 times.
- Wall sits: Boost your strength by standing with your back against the wall, and then slide your back down the wall while bending your knees. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor and hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- Abs: Just silently contract and hold your abdominal muscles for 30 seconds at a time, and repeat for 5 sets.
- Stair Climbing: If walking around the office seems a bit conspicuous, use the stairs to get to your office. A good walk up a flight of stairs burns a lot of calories and while you may look beat and exhausted the first time around, keep at it and soon enough, you’ll be really good at it.
- What if you worked in a ground floor office or in a high-rise building? Well then get outside. Go out for a quick walk, just a few minutes of activity, two to three times a day can increase your physical and mental well-being manifold all while burning plenty of calories.
So while it may seem like there’s not much hope for an executive working at a desk, to lose weight, you only need to plan ahead a little and move about a little. Staying healthy is easier than it seems. The basics always apply and all you need is the motivation. Keep a little desk mirror as a reminder that you are doing this for yourself.
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