This winter, especially for those living in the Northeast, has felt like the longest winter ever. With long, dark, cold, dreary days came comfort foods and cozy oversized sweaters. Now that spring has sprung, the reality of falling off our New Year’s goals is hitting hard. This is the time of year when most American adults decide to crash diet to try and lose 10 pounds in a week, but it’s important to remember that research shows you will grain that weight back just a quickly.
Instead, focus on making healthy choices throughout the day to achieve your goals – starting with your habits at work.
The average American working full-time spends 45-50 hours a week at the office, meaning we are eating most of our food away from home. If those long hours are spent going from meeting to meeting or conference call to conference call, traditional meals might be out of the question some days. Make the most out of the time you have with these tips.
Before you go to the office you likely know how many hours you are going to be there and what you schedule for the day looks like. If you know you have a hectic day and might be missing a meal, make sure you pack or are able to purchase balanced snacks.
What is a balanced snack? One that contains carbohydrates (preferably from whole grains), lean protein and heart healthy fats. A piece of fruit with nuts or nut butter, whole grain crackers and a small serving of cheese, dried fruit and a good quality jerky are all good examples.
If you have a balanced snack available, you can eat this quickly before or after a meeting limiting the tendency to binge from starvation. Balanced snacks through-out the day can be just as good if not better then full meals.
Has half the day gone by and you realize the only thing you have had to drink today is your morning coffee? Dehydration can lead to a decreased ability to make good decisions, including healthy food choices.
Just like making a plan for snacks make a plan for hydrating. If your office has a water cooler or fountain bring a bottle from home and set a goal to drink an appropriate number of bottles a day depending on the size. If you don’t have access to drinking water bring some from home, the biggest bottle you can carry to get you through the day.
The actual amount of water needed a day varies greatly depending on your size, the climate and how active you are. Average recommendations are 15-16 cups for men and 11-12 cups for women.
Get Rid of the Candy Jar
While they look cute and festive sitting on the reception desk, candy jars can quickly become the down fall of your wellness goals. The easiest way to limit temptation is to not have it there in the first place.
If you are the one that manages the office snacks including candy, replace it with whole seasonal fresh fruit or dried fruit and nuts. If you are not the one providing the candy but are tempted by it on a daily basis suggest that your office tries healthier treats for a month. If no one complains, make it a permanent switch.
Look beyond the candy jar at office lunches and celebration too. Order BYO salads instead of heavy sandwich platters or frozen yogurt bars instead of cake. Start small until you create a culture of wellness in your office.
You can’t always control how long you are at the office, but you can control what you eat and drink while you are there. It can seem like one more thing to do in an already full day, but taking care of yourself can improve focus and productivity.