Losing Weight At Work: How to Stay Healthy at Your Desk Job
Sitting at a desk or working in an office doesn’t have to mean that you gain weight. In fact, it shouldn’t be an excuse! Here’s how to keep your body moving, energy flowing and nutrition in check throughout the work day.
How fat builds
When you consume food or drinks, your body breaks it down and converts it into their respective proteins or carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are those that are easy for your body to break down and these are immediately converted into sugars. Complex carbohydrates take longer but the same outcome is achieved in the end. The biggest difference between these two is that when your body digests a complex carbohydrate from your food or what you drink, it does it more slowly which means the sugar that is released into your bloodstream, the glucose, is released slowly over a longer amount of time. Simple carbohydrates, when broken down, release all of that sugar energy into your blood immediately. It is for this reason that when consuming a highly sugary drink or food you get an immediate burst of energy followed by a crash.
Keep in mind, that's only one part of the puzzle. The energy has to then be used by your body. On average it takes about 500 calories just to power your brain so even if you are sitting perfectly still at your desk, you still need calories to keep things working. But beyond that you need energy to go about the rest of your day, to do things physically, and that energy comes from what you drink and what you eat. If you don't burn off all of this sugars that is released into your bloodstream immediately, the excess sugar gets sent on its way through your liver and your pancreas. When this energy isn't used immediately, it gets converted into fat and gets stored somewhere in your body for later use. The problem is, if you don't exercise regularly and burn off what you are consuming, and in particular if you consume highly sugary drinks or foods with preservatives in them, you get a build up of that extra sugar and subsequently that extra fat.
So how do you get rid of it?
Change Your Diet
When at the office prepare to change your diet! It’s the most straight forward way to start shedding the pounds. If you can’t seem to make a drastic, positive change all at once, consider simply focusing on greens, perhaps a salad, in the meal that you bring into work. Bringin food to work is another very important part of loosing weight at a day job. If you don't prepare meals you will likely end up buying something from the nearest restaurant or fast-food chain, which only worsens the problem of fat burning.
Yes, you read that right! Believe it or not, it may be healthier for your body to be engaged regularly in snacking on healthy foods and beverages. Of course, this isn’t true if you snack on chips and soda all day long. While eating many meals may not rev up your metabolism or make you burn fat, experts say it could help you in other ways. The longer you wait between meals, the hungrier you get, and then you’re more likely to overeat. Snacking on healthy foods and beverages can prevent overeating.
Grab a Healthy Beverage
Drinking water has been shown to suppress appetite and decrease the amount of food you consume at meal time. In fact, studies show that people who drink two glasses of water immediately before a meal eat 22% less than those who don't drink any water at all. Consider keeping a water bottle filled by your desk to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Otherwise, if your work provides perks like free healthy drinks - be sure to take advantage of it.
Go on a Walk
During your lunch break and any other break you might have, work in a quick walk. Moving around is really all it takes to get the blood flowing, to engage all of your different muscles, and help burn off that energy that you consume. As soon as you sit down at your desk all of your leg muscles are disengaged. The simple act of going on a quick walk jump-starts your body so that it's burning more calories and compensating for the time you spent sitting.
Walk around the Office
Whenever possible, walk around your office. If you have something to share with someone, don't send them a follow-up email asking if they received your message or if they got the documents. Walk to their desk. The simple act of getting up regularly to walk around goes a very long way toward burning fat.
Even if you don't have an official standing desk, you can make the most out of anything that you can stack on top of your desk on which you can place your keyboard or monitor. If you are in the middle of a conference call, get headphones with the microphone attachment and a very long cord so that you can walk around your office while still on the phone, or simply stand at your desk. Try alternating between sitting and standing at work this week and pay attention to how much better you feel by the end of the week.
Anytime you have a regular break, anytime you go to the bathroom, or go to the break room, use that opportunity the same way people use commercials at home: work in a few squats. Taking a break to just do 10 squats in a row every time you get up for something will get your whole body sweating, i.e. burning fat (without drenching your work clothes and leaving some stench behind). Who knows, you might even start a new fad at work!
Not into the squatting idea? When you take your regularly scheduled breaks, or you have a moment in between meetings, use your office or maybe the lawn outside of your office building as an opportunity to do some core work. Core work engages the body and its entirety and it doesn't have to be something incredibly difficult. Most people in their work clothes won't be able to do full exercises, but no matter what you are wearing to work you can find a discreet place to hold your body in the plank position for a few seconds. There are plenty of core exercises that can be done with just your body and a small amount of space. Try to get creative!
Sitting and Standing - It Matters!
When you sit and stand, this process uses a lot of core leg muscles and core abdominal muscles. So be cognizant of how you sit down at your desk or in a chair during an office meeting, and how you stand up. Try to avoid using your arms. As soon as you focus entirely on using your legs to stand yourself up or to sit yourself down, you will notice a difference. It might not be the same as dedicating time to do squats, but if you get up multiple times throughout the day, this simple technique will add up throughout the week.
Want To Make Your Office Healthier?
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