So you’ve nailed down cooking at home, incorporating health-boosting lean meats, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and good fats into an array of delicious and quick dinners.
Great, right? Well if you’re scarfing down processed foods and sugary drinks all day at the office, you might be negating any health benefits you pull off later in the day.
How can you healthify your work space to both manage a healthy weight and boost your own productivity and confidence?
Check out these 7 clever ideas:
1. Walk More.
It might seem like the last thing you want to do on a tired Monday morning, but making a habit of parking farther away and getting more steps in everyday as you walk to the office can quickly add up to increased calorie burn.
In addition to parking farther away, if you work in an office above the first floor, take the stairs to give your legs a little bit more of a workout during the day.
And while you’re at it, if you don’t actually live that far from your office, ditch the car and opt for walking or biking to work instead.
2. Pack Your Lunch.
The best way to know exactly what you’re eating is well, to know exactly what you’re eating.
Packing your own lunch gives you more control over your dietary intake at work. You can prioritize vitamins and nutrients, and avoid cholesterol, unhealthy fats, and sodium and sugar overload.
Plus, packing your lunch in the morning when you’re not starving ensures you’ll make smarter choices than when you are stressed out at work, filled with cravings, and more willing to run out for pizza, burgers, and burritos.
3. Practice Good Posture.
Good posture starts with first being aware of your bad posture.
Choosing positions and chairs at work that promote good posture means avoiding slumping and slouching, and getting creative.
Standing desks that raise up and down to rest your workplace at a level conducive to your standing height have been shown to help you burn more calories and stand up straighter.
A stability ball or a balance disk, on the other hand, provide an inflatable rubber surface for you to sit and stand to practice balance, strengthen leg, back and core muscles, as well as straighten and lengthen your spine when working.
4. Try Something New.
Ever heard of putting coconut oil in your coffee? This fad, known specifically as bulletproof coffee, carried some interesting scientific backing with it.
Turns out coconut oil is this somewhat magical ingredient that when ingested, instead of it getting broken down and converted into glucose for energy and fat storage, it’s “medium-chain fatty acids” are converted into ketones. Ketones give your cells quick energy and never get stored as fat.
Relatively flavorless, virgin coconut oil with true medium-chain fatty acids can be purchased in many grocery and specialty stores and added by the tablespoon to coffee, smoothies, shakes, you name it.
5. Stock up on Snacks.
Avoid the salty, sugary processed snacks you’ve been getting out of the same vending machine every day and stock up on your own healthy options right at your desk.
When a hunger craving comes over you, be prepared with low calorie snacks packed with nutrients, like a half cup of baby carrots or fresh blueberries, or load up on nuts and fiber-rich foods that help you feel fuller longer.
A 2016 report revealed consistent evidence that a handful of nuts a day actually reduces your risk of developing cancer and other diseases by 20%!
6. Avoid Stress Eating.
Plainly put, work can be stressful. Tight deadlines, nosy bosses, long hours . . . they all add up to stressful tension that you can feel throughout your body.
Oftentimes, people use food as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress and this is no more evident than gobbling up a bag of chips at your desk while you burn the midnight oil.
Avoid stress eating by fighting stress to begin with.
Get up from your desk, stretch, and even put on a heat pad to help release muscle tension in your back, neck, and shoulders.
Practice deep breathing techniques, take 5-minute coloring breaks, and make sure you have healthy, filling snacks on hand that will satiate you long-term and are good for you. A small cup of hot oatmeal, quinoa with avocado, or dried figs are great choices.
7. Stay Hydrated.
Possibly the best way to kickstart new healthy habits in the office (or anywhere) is by boosting your intake of water.
Staying hydrated aids feelings of alertness and concentration, helps with digestion, and prevents you from intaking loads of unhealthy beverages like sodas and fruit juices.
Tips for drinking more water include setting reminders on your phone, using an eco-friendly refillable water bottle (that has you getting up from your desk more often to fill it up) or installing water coolers for the office, and regularly eating water-rich fruits and veggies.
The office can be a difficult place to prioritize health, burn calories, and manage weight, especially if you spend much of the day sitting down, stressed out, or constantly snacking. Switching up a few bad habits and being smart about your activity levels and food options can make a big difference in your overall health and sense of wellbeing at the office.