Happy Thursday!! I hope you’re having a great week. I love three-day weekends because the work week starts on a Tuesday and it’s Friday again before you know it!
I spend a lot of time at work. I get in at 8:30 and leave most days around 5:30. I’m usually out of my apartment at 6 a.m. for my daily gym workout, and it’s 6:30 by the time I get home at night. It makes for a long day, and most of that day is spent sitting in front of a computer.
When I first started my full-time job, I struggled to find ways to stay healthy at work. I work right in downtown DC and have tons of great restaurants within walking distance (not to mention the food trucks). For a while, the temptation to order takeout for lunch was strong, but I soon realized that it wasn’t great for my waist or my wallet.
Then there was the whole sitting down all day thing. Research shows that sitting for long periods of time can negatively affect your metabolic health. Even if you work out for an hour a day, you can still develop health problems-just from sitting! No good.
Things needed to change, so I changed them. I started packing my lunch and walking around more during the day. It took a little adjusting but since I’ve change my habits, I feel 10 times better. I have more energy and feel healthier overall.
So, without further ado, here are my
Top Seven Tips For Staying Healthy At The Office.*
Eat a Hearty Breakfast
I know you’ve heard it a hundred times, but here it is again: breakfast is, hands down, the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy meal in the morning keeps me on track for the rest of the day. When I first started my job, I bought breakfast somewhere like Cosi or Pret every morning. After a while, I got tired of spending the money, and started bringing in my own oatmeal. I have a small office and am lucky enough to have space in the kitchen cabinet for food I bring in from home. When I get to work each morning, I make oatmeal with the following ingredients:
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 sliced banana
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chia seeds
I combine it all into a pretty bowl—that I bought from Pier 1 specifically for my work oatmeal—and pop it into the microwave on high for four minutes. Perfect!
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the oatmeal I make at the office. Here’s a picture of delicious Pret oatmeal instead.
My breakfast usually keeps me full until lunchtime, which brings me to my next healthy office tip:
Pack Your Lunch
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have a lot of tempting lunch options right around my office. Eating lunch out every day, however, wasn’t doing my waistline any favors. So I started packing my lunch.
I’m a creature of habit, and once I start doing something that works, I stick to it. This personality trait is precisely how I’ve ended up packing the exact same salad every workday for the past month. To save time during the week, I buy and prep all of the ingredients over the weekend. When it comes time to make my salad, I just throw everything into a Tupperware container and I’m good to go. Bringing my lunch to work has not only stopped me from ordering high calorie, high fat takeout, it’s also saved me a ton of money.
If you’re not crazy like me and don’t want to eat the same thing for lunch every day of the week, it’s also easy to just make extra of whatever you’re making for dinner one night, and bring in leftovers the next day!
Eat Healthy and Filling Snacks
I don’t think I could survive the workday without snacks. I usually eat lunch around noon, and if I had to wait until I got home at 6:30 to eat anything else, I’d probably eat my whole fridge.
Snacking is important. Often times, however, people rely on things like sweets and chips when they’re hungry in between meals. The problem with that is that you’re hungry again soon after and tempted to eat even more. That’s why I depend on healthy and filling snacks to keep me going.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Fruit (clementines or apple slices with peanut butter)
- 1 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge on a serving of Mary’s Gone Crackers
- Fage 0% or 2% Plain Yogurt with Granola
- Hummus and Carrots
I also drink a lot of water and tea during the day, which does a good job of filling me up.
Of course, maintaining healthy habits at work isn’t all about eating. You also need to stay active!
Stand and Walk Often
If you talked to my coworkers, they’d tell you that I’m always up walking around our office. I have a reminder set on my computer that goes off every 15 minutes. It’s a big, annoying pop-up box that says “STAND UP AND WALK AROUND!” I know sitting all day is bad for me, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how long I’ve been sitting, which is why the pop-up reminder really helps.
Standing up and moving gives me more energy, even if it means just walking to fill up my cup at the water cooler. My office has email and an intercom system, but I’d much rather get up and walk to someone’s office than sit and talk to them on the phone. It’s the little steps that matter. Even standing up and stretching makes a difference!
Stay Active When You’re Not at Work
This is a big one. The more active you are during the day, the healthier you’ll be overall. I walk to and from the metro every day. Sure, it would take less time to drive to the station parking lot, but the walk gives me some extra exercise. I never stand still on the escalators; I’m either walking up and down them or sprinting up the stairs instead. The escalator at my metro stop in DC has been broken for months. It frustrates me so much to see people run to make the elevator instead of walking down the stairs.
It’s not hard to stay active. You just have to try!
Get enough sleep
When I don’t get at least seven hours of sleep, I’m dragging the next day. And when I’m super tired at work, I’m less likely to move from my desk. Not to mention that I’m MORE likely to crave sweets- my body just doesn’t have the energy to resist them or make the extra effort to eat healthfully. That’s why I make sure I’m well-rested every day, even if it means skipping my morning workout once in a while. I know that getting enough sleep is one of the healthiest habits to keep!
Every once in a while, I’ll order lunch from one of the restaurants near my office, and I’m OK with that. I think it’s important to treat yourself once in a while.
Vegetarian Lentil Soup from Devon & Blakely
And there you have it! My top seven ways to stay healthy at work! I make a daily effort to keep to these habits, and I hope these tips will help you do the same!
Have a great day!
*Disclaimer: The tips I’ve highlighted in this post are ones that have worked for me. I am not a doctor or nutritionist. Please make sure to always do what’s best for you when starting a new routine.