5 ways to improve your health at work

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Hands up if you are stuck in an office right now? Most likely you have been there since 8 and are not getting out of there anytime soon. You have already had a couple of coffees; you ate lunch at your desk and your pedometer is showing that you have walked just over 2000 steps today. Welcome to life as a typical office worker. You are not moving very much, you are eating way too much and your health, energy and weight are suffering as a result. What you need is The Office Diet Solution to get your office life organised so that it is more conducive to weight control, optimal energy levels and feeling at your best every single workday.

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Here, are 5 ways to improve your health at work.

Prioritise movement

If you get up in the morning, get straight into the car or the train, walk the shortest way possible into the office and then repeat this on the way home, chances are you are walking less than 2000-3000 steps each day. Unless you are then spending two hours or more exercising, you are likely to be slowly gaining weight. The significant reduction in movement on a daily basis a result of long commutes, serous time limitations and extended working hours means that we are moving less than ever before and gaining lots of weight as a result. So if you have not done so already, get a pedometer or start to track your steps using a monitoring device. Basically the more you the better, ideally 8000-10000 steps per day minimum and if you have days in which your steps are notoriously low, it simply means you mean to make them up on other days and weekends.

Stand up more

In addition to the lack of general movement, the other significant factor driving office weight gain is the extended number of hours we spend sitting. More and more research is emerging to show how detrimental it is for our metabolic rate (how many calories we burn each day) and again long periods spent sitting cannot be undone by a trip to the gym or PT. If your job requires you to spend many hours sitting at a desk, it may be time to consider a standing desk such as Varidesk. Not only do you burn almost double the calories per hour standing than you do sitting can also be of benefit to your neck, hip and back long term.

Get away from the desk

Whether it is because you are too lazy to leave the office or because you are trying to cram as much as you can into the workday as possible, eating your meals and snacks in front of the computer is a recipe for disaster when it comes to weight control. Not only are we not mindful of what we are eating and more likely to overeat later when we eat in front of a screen, but it also means we feed into further inactivity and grab quick meals on the run which are not necessarily nutritionally balanced. Do yourself and your work a favour and take at least 10 minutes away from your desk at meal times to savour a proper meal, move a little and ideally get out of the office for some much needed Vitamin D.

Take lunch seriously

While breakfast is always talked about as the most important meal of the day, for office workers I would argue that lunch would go pretty close as being just as, if not more important. When we do not consume a well-balanced meal 4-5 hours at most after breakfast we leave ourselves vulnerable to low blood glucose levels and overeating later in the day. This means that a quick sushi roll or fruit salad just won’t cut it. Ideally we need some carbs, protein and veges or salad by 2pm at the very latest ideally enjoyed away from the desk. In fact, from a metabolic perspective it could be argued you are better to enjoy an early substantial lunch at 12pm and ditch the late morning snacks altogether. Even if you can only salvage half an hour, it is your lunch break so take it!

Keep away from the feeders

It maybe the baking queen who makes sweet treats every week but never indulges herself; it may be the fundraising chocolates, the unhealthy vending machine or a the biscuits supplied by the office but office environments are notorious for seeing us consume foods we never usually would simply as they are within easy reach and we are tired, bored and/or hungry. A general rule of thumb to avoid being a victim of tempting office treats is to remember it is work, not play and keep your treat calories for after hours; keep food well out of easy reach and get into the simple habit of saying no. Once you say no the first time, it gets a lot easier after that. 

Could your workplace be a healthier environment? Susie is available to speak on improving health in work environments as one of her corporate talks, The Office Diet Solution. For more information, to request Susie’s Speaking Pack or to contact Susie about speaking at your next event, click here.