[By Marie Chua]
Many of us spends over half of our lives at work, it’s no wonder that poor eating habits at the office can be a major strike against a healthy lifestyle. Some of us may not even be conscious that we are falling into these diet traps until it’s too late. To save our waistlines, find out why your job may be your diet’s worst enemy and what you should do to fix it today!
1. You Sit at Your Desk All Day
Literally. Many of us don’t realize just how long we spend at our desks, moving little more than our fingers across our keyboard. Going to the bathroom and grabbing lunch just doesn’t cut it! And we wonder why we pile on the pounds?
Solution: Get up from your desk often — this will help release your muscles while giving your back and eyes a break. Use this time to either walk around the office or stretch. Walk to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an email; ask to have a “walking meeting” outside instead of in a conference room; and take the stairs over the elevator. We’re also fond of quick workouts that you can do during your lunch break like going for a run, power walk, or 30-minute gym session.
2. Happy Hour & After-hours drinks go straight to your waistline
After a long day at work, the call of happy hour may seem like all you can muster.
Solution: Instead of going from sitting all day at your desk to sitting on a bar stool or your couch, make time for something active. Keep a gym bag stashed under your desk as a visual reminder to hit the elliptical after work, or make a date with a friend to go to a yoga class. And because everyone deserves the occasional happy hour, schedule it for after your workout and choose diet-friendly cocktails. Go for wine spritzers, and steer clear of beverages with high calorie sodas.
3. You Eat Out All the Time (and at Your Desk)
Even if you go to the healthiest restaurant on your block, you can’t always trust that every dish is going to be diet-friendly. Hidden calories come in the form of added fats or sugars, and there’s no telling how much sodium may be added to a dish.
Solution: Eat a good breakfast at home and keep meals at work light and health-friendly. Consider packing your own food to work. If that seems impossible, make a goal of bringing your lunch at least three times a week. When you do go out, eat small portions and opt for fresh vegetables and fruits. Avoid carbohydrates which may make you feel sleepy after lunch.
4. Unlimited Office Snacks
Many offices keep the kitchen stocked with soda, candy, crackers, and chips — it’s a nice perk but not if you’re trying to be healthy!
Solution: Resist the urge to munch on junk all day long by bringing your own healthy snacks from home like nuts, fruit, or yogurt. If you can’t always resist the craving for the ships lying in your office pantry, be conscious of what you’re eating. Give yourself room to have a snack-sized serving instead of grabbing a handful anytime you go into the kitchen. Another tip to try is to keep yourself hydrated all day long by drinking lots of water. Not only will it keep you healthy, water can also act as an appetite suppressant, preventing you for grabbing the nearest snack next to you.
5. Social Pressure
Birthday celebrations, office-sponsored happy hours, and Taco Tuesdays can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet. And, let’s face it, no one likes to be excluded from some good office fun!
Solution: Learn to say “no”. If you’re adamant about eating healthy, politely decline any dessert or junk food offerings, but opt to mingle with your co-workers. If you’re worried that people might find your behavior to be rude, opt for a small serving or just let your co-workers know you had a huge lunch. But, if you’d just like to take part in the festivities, do it without guilt — just keep things in moderation. You can make up for it by having a healthy lunch and dinner or hitting the gym after work.