If you are struggling to lose weight and work in an office environment, you may want to consider whether your workplace habits are contributing to your scale’s refusal to budge.
Not only does spending eight or more hours a day working at a desk help to promote an overall sedentary lifestyle, but it also leaves you vulnerable to making detrimental choices in regard to consuming convenience foods. Fortunately, you can take advantage of several key strategies for shedding weight while still maintaining employment in an office-centric position. As outlined in the five workplace weight loss tips outlined as follows, you will first need to understand how you might be sabotaging your progress before taking the initiative to begin healthier practices.
1. Maximize Your Walking Time In The Workplace
Weight loss roadblock: When working in an environment in which desks and cubicles are close together, tasks are routinely performed in front of a computer and elevators are readily available to get you where you need to go, opportunities to stay in shape through walking can be quite limited. Because some weight loss programs incorporate walking as a low-impact but calorie-burning form of exercise, you may be hindering your progress simply by staying put for most of the day as you eat breakfast, lunch and snacks. Pounds may even begin to pile on over time.
Strategies for success: Incorporate physical movement into your workday as much as possible, even if this means making your daily routine a bit less convenient. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, take a stroll outside on your lunch break, park your car at a good walking distance from your office and get up to stretch and walk around your workspace every so often. Keep track of your progress with a pedometer, and aim for a specific walking goal such as 10,000 steps per day. You may be surprised at how a bit of effort goes a long way!
2. Plan Your Lunches Each Day
Weight loss roadblock: When work gets busy, you can easily find yourself making unhealthy choices for lunch simply due to convenience factors. If you do not take the time to bring prepared meals to the office each day, alternatives such as grabbing chips or candy from the vending machine, ordering high-calorie lunches from nearby restaurants or picking up fast food on your lunch hour may serve to sabotage your efforts to maintain a healthy weight. Just a few extra hundred calories per day adds up faster than you might think.
Strategies for success: Stock up on healthy foods at the grocery store, and plan out your work lunches so that they fit in well with your weight loss goals. If you are pressed for time in the mornings, make your meals at night and refrigerate them in storage containers before taking them to work the next day. Pack lunches that include healthy, energizing and filling foods such as vegetables, Greek yogurt, whole-grain bread, berries, lean meats and small portions of nuts. Choose low-calorie dressings and condiments, and consider a few pieces of dark chocolate for a treat.
3. Stop Eating While You Work
Weight loss roadblock: Not only does working a demanding job put you at risk of depending on convenience foods, but your busy schedule may also influence the habit of eating while you complete tasks at your desk. When you’re working on a labor-intensive project and feel that you do not have the luxury of stopping for a balanced lunch, it becomes all too easy to compensate by munching through a box of cookies or polishing off finger-foods such as French fries that allow you to eat and work simultaneously. As a result, tracking food intake becomes difficult.
Strategies for success: Avoid the excess consumption of empty calories by committing yourself to taking short breaks, walking away from your work and choosing snack and lunch options that won’t knock your diet off track. Keep food away from your desk or cubicle if you are prone to multi-tasking in regard to eating and working. If you make the effort to eat in a dedicated snacking area, even for only a few minutes at a time as your schedule permits, you can be much more mindful of what you are actually consuming.
4. Stay Accountable With Help From Co-workers
Weight loss roadblock: The weight loss journey can be challenging if you are going it alone, and this is particularly true when you work in an environment with a number of other people. Spending a good portion of your day with co-workers who are not trying to lose weight or who freely share food with the office may leave you without the emotional support that benefits your efforts. Furthermore, if you choose not to confide in fellow employees about your desire to shed pounds, you lose the opportunity for accountability.
Strategies for success: Seek out one co-worker, or more if possible, who also wishes to improve eating habits and reduce weight. Use the “buddy system,” and go for walks together, keep each other accountable on what you eat at work, talk outside of work when motivation is needed and share updates on your overall progress. You are less likely to indulge in pizza or burgers for lunch when you have a co-worker who is willing to eat salad along with you. Losing weight as a team not only discourages feelings of isolation, but can also be fun!
5. Don’t Give In To The Temptation Of Office Sweets
Weight loss roadblock: Working with other people means that in-office or restaurant celebrations for birthdays, holidays, promotions, retirements and more are bound to occur on a steady basis. These mini-parties often involve the serving of sheet cake, cookies, cupcakes and other sweets that are detrimental to weight loss. Sometimes, these treats can remain in the office for several days, testing your ability to resist temptation. This is only made harder if you also work in an office where muffins, bagels and danishes make a regular appearance in the mornings.
Strategies for success: If you either don’t have the willpower to avoid office sweets entirely or are concerned about being viewed as unfriendly for not participating in festivities, come up with a smart plan for managing your intake. Take a tiny piece of cake, or eat half of a cookie or muffin while saving the other half for another time. If your weight loss plan involves counting calories, you may even be able to indulge in a full-size treat provided that you budget it into your daily intake.
As you embark on your journey to lose weight while fulfilling your duties in the workplace, keep in mind that progress can take time. Do not get discouraged if your new, healthier habits yield gradual results rather than quick ones. Stay on course, and remember that losing weight at a slow but steady pace is more likely to be sustainable in your daily life.