8 tips to help you avoid gaining weight while working a desk job

By Amelia Knott

March 17, 2016   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Office life doesn’t help to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The tempting vending machines, the break room coffees with doughnuts, the complimentary lunches and catered events, not to mention the sedentary lifestyle – they’re all potential factors for gaining weight. How do you break your habits and avoid gaining weight at the office? Here are 8 tips to help you improve your office lifestyle and lose a few pounds along the way.

1. Avoid office temptations

You probably realize that vending machines and break rooms are your worst temptations. They’re usually brimming with high calorie treats, fatty snacks and lots of candy that offer a perfect excuse for taking a break from work and indulging in life a little.

Avoid looking at the vending machine – sometimes just glancing at it can make it too tempting to resist. Stop teasing yourself and openly avoid these spots. If a colleague’s candy jar proves too tantalizing for your own good, just stop walking by their desk and choose a different route to your destination.

2. Move it

That’s right; your sedentary job is bad for you, so make sure to take full advantage of every opportunity to move yourself a little. During your lunch break, head out for a quick walk outside and then go back to your desk using the stairs instead of the elevator.

Make sure to also take frequent breaks from your desk and move at least once every 60-90 minutes. Don’t let yourself get caught too long sitting still at your desk. Set a timer to remind yourself to move; set a goal and track your progress every week. Also, drink lots of water. Sooner or later, you’ll have to move in order to use the restroom.

3. Bring lunch from home

This is the single most important factor in gaining weight while working an office job. It’s easy to develop a habit for take out, restaurant lunches or cafeteria treats. However, most of the time, you’ll be stuffing yourself with too many calories (and questionable ingredients!). Control what you eat by bringing lunch from home. When preparing lunches, remember to include a source of lean protein, as well as some fruits and vegetables. Make it fun and buy yourself some fancy lunch boxes or Tupperware for easy packaging. Develop a routine and pack your lunch the night before – it can be leftovers or a dressing-free salad. Having your lunch ready in the morning so you’ll have no excuse for eating out.

4. Take exercise breaks

Don’t worry, it’s not like you’ll be sweating it out for real. Simple exercises using office equipment like chairs are just perfect for stretching out and boosting your blood flow — which essentially means higher productivity. Have a look at your schedule to see where you could fit a few minutes of these exercises. Remember it, and break the sitting routine with a series or two. After a stressful meeting, feel free to relax using a quick yoga routine. If you work in open space and feel that exercising at your desk would make you look weird or distract your colleagues, arrange for a standing desk and use it interchangeably with your regular one.

5. Don’t sacrifice workouts

Working full-time often means making some sacrifices for getting some personal activities done. If you’d like to squeeze in a run or gym session before work, accept it – you might need to wake up way earlier than you ever imagined. Don’t resign from working out just because it seems that you’ve got no time left from work. You do, and even if it means waking up early, it’s definitely worth it. Develop a routine that works for you and stick to it. You’ll feel a surge of satisfaction every evening knowing that you’ve been productive at work and also got to work out.

6. Stock up on healthy snacks

Another important point about eating is bringing lunch from home. That isn’t enough to quench a day’s hunger, so make sure to pack some snacks, too. You need the energy or you’ll end up feeling drained and stuff yourself in the evening, which will only help you gain weight. Choose fresh fruits or vegetables, but avoid sliced carrots and apples if you work at a quite office; there’s just no way to eat those silently. Nuts are a good idea as well; they’re wonderful for your brain and keep you full for a long time.

7. Know when you’re mindlessly snacking

work lunch

This is a key realization that will help you avoid gaining weight at the office. It’s easy to start eating out of boredom or pure disinterest. If you catch yourself doing exactly that, you’re already on your way to success. It’s time to observe yourself and start controlling these behaviors. Whenever you feel the need for snacking, try chewing gum instead. It helps you to stay focused, especially on tasks that require continuous monitoring. If you’re experiencing lots of stress, you’re likely to be snacking. too. Instead of angrily devouring a bag of chips over a difficult meeting with a client, try other methods for relaxing. Step out of the office and call a friend. Returning to your desk, you might discover that the craving simply disappeared.

8. Keep yourself hydrated

This is key for your overall health and well-being. It’s easy to forget drinking enough water during busy days, so make sure to keep a large bottle with you at all times and constantly sip at it. Choose water, light green tea and infusions over coffee or sodas. Sometimes thirst gets mistaken for hunger and only motivates you to ingest some extra calories you don’t really need. While the eight-glasses-a-day rule is challenging, try to keep yourself hydrated and you won’t be losing on anything.

Keeping yourself in shape at the office isn’t a piece of cake. It’s easy to lose track of what you eat and have an irregular diet where you frequently stuff yourself with excess calories and then feel nauseous at the mere thought of ingesting all those leftover conference cookies. But follow these rules and you’ll be on your way to developing habits that will effectively prevent you from gaining weight – and might even help you to lose some!

Amelia Knott

Amelia Knott is a team member at a free ABN lookup tool – aubiz.net. She is interested in healthy lifestyle and self-improvement which she combines with her passsion for blogging.

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