I never realized just how big an impact your day-to-day work routine can have on your body until I transitioned from a college job in customer service where I was on my feet all day to an office job post graduation where I sit at a desk all day. I affectionately (or not so much) call this the corporate 15. It wasn't until I started having trouble fitting into certain clothes that I knew I had to make a lifestyle change. I couldn't rely on my job for exercise anymore (literally running back and forth taking care of customers before), so I would have to stay active and healthy by other means. This is still a work in progress for me, but I wanted to share what has helped me so far. I can tell a difference in how I feel not only on the outside, but on the inside as well.
1. Make extra trips to the copier. This might sound silly, but anything you can do to get up and moving is better than nothing. In our office, the copier is a decent walk from my desk so I will make more frequent trips to pick up my printings rather than letting it accumulate for one big trip. If your office is much smaller and walking to the copier is only a few steps, take a stroll around the office or around the outside of your building instead. The key here is to break the sedentary cycle and not be sitting still for extended periods of time.
2. Mindset is everything when it comes to the gym. I don't know about you, but when it's time to shut down and head home, I change into comfy clothes as soon as I walk in the door. At that point, I'm mentally checked out and ready for a lazy evening. I'm much more motivated to go work out at the gym, or outside weather permitting, if I bring a change of clothes with me and go straight from the office. The accomplishment you feel afterwords is one of the best feelings too, and you don't have to feel guilty for watching a little TV then. If you're a morning person, then by all means hit the gym on your way into the office! I just like my sleep too much :)
3. Meal prep and pack healthy lunches. This is one of the biggest changes I have made in my routine so far. For me, Sunday is my meal prep day when I take care of most of my cooking for the week. This not only frees up time during the rest of the week but also ensures that you have a delicious and healthy meal ready to go, which cuts back on the temptation to swing by a certain restaurant for a burrito bowl (wonder what that could be, hmmm). Plus, you save money for other things, like shopping, wink wink. If you do go out for lunch though, and are lucky enough to have places very close by, walk instead of drive.
4. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Another change I've made in my eating habits is to eat smaller portions more frequently. This will help prevent those mid-afternoon hunger pains that make concentrating on work nearly impossible because all you can think about is food! I like to have my breakfast around 8:30, usually Greek yogurt, fruit and granola, salad for lunch around 12:30, an afternoon snack, usually fruit, around 4:30, and then dinner at about 7:30. This keeps me feeling consistently full without being stuffed and uncomfortable from a huge meal.
5. Get plenty of sleep. This is one of the hardest habits to break, especially if you are just transitioning a 9-5 job from one where your schedule was all over the place. If I don't get enough rest the night before, I definitely feel it at work. It makes me sluggish and impairs my concentration, and sometimes I even feel sick from it. I had started noticing that on some mornings, I would constantly wake up at a certain time before my alarm was set to go off. Being stubborn, I would go back to sleep for those extra 20 minutes and then feel awful when trying to wake up again. Using a sleep calculator like this will help you determine what time to go to sleep based on when you need to be up so that you get full REM cycles and wake up fully refreshed for the day.
What are some of your tips for staying active and healthy with a 9-5?