Working the rather sedentary 9-6+++ (because let’s be honest, who clocks off at 5pm these days, unless you start the day earlier or your logging into conference call from home) does present with unique challenges to health and weight.
I know. I’ve been there and I’ve struggled this struggle. I also learnt a thing or two along the way, and have helped my busy nutrition/PT clients to find a happy balance.
Here are my top tips:
1. Your health matters.
To implement and create new healthy habits, you need the mindset – whatever it is that you want to achieve needs to be a priority. Don’t be afraid to invest hard earned cash into your health. After all, greater markers of health are linked to better cognitive function, energy and metabolism = better health + better job performance. Win, win!
2. Healthy prep.
Buy fresh fruits, berries, veggies and chop em’ up for the days ahead. Make friends with your Tupperware! Prepare a few healthy dinners in advance such as healthy butter chicken and other curries, homemade baked beans, stews, casseroles, soups, etc. Finding your healthy prep routine does take time. Some people are naturals. Others take longer to find their groove. I’m of the latter! But be persistent because you’ll save time in the long-run and be healthier for it.
3. Schedule your workouts.
Schedule a few exercise sessions each week and make these regular. If you’re an early riser and prefer to workout before work, make sure you do it! If you need your sleep-ins (my hands up!), two sessions after work or during your lunch break, plus an extra one on the weekend, might work better for you.
If you need more accountability, personal trainers are your go-to! I’ve helped so many people with corporate jobs stay on-track.
4. Night-time routine.
Your night-time routine is your wind-down. It sets the scene for a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep and the day ahead. Switch off the blue-screens (computers, tablets, TV, etc.) well before bed to allow your melatonin to rise and your cortisol to settle. If you have late-night online meetings or appointments, consider some blue blocker glasses.
Spend some time organising your snacks and meals for the day ahead. And write down any niggling thoughts so they don’t keep you buzzing through the night.
5. Have a back-up.
Freezable foods can be a life-saver in the evening. I used to keep a packet of frozen vegan burgers. Freezable vegetables are also great!
6. Take mobile breaks.
Take regular breaks from your desk and get moving. Go for a short walk, got to the toilet, whatever it takes to get you moving. However, limit how many short walks are to grab another coffee or snack.
7. Walk at lunch.
Whilst not always feasible during winter, I loved the rejuvenation a short walk would provide in the middle of the work day.
8. Sip on water.
Do you somehow feel more hungry when sitting all day? Try sipping on water instead, schedule your meal breaks and stick to it!
9. But don’t let yourself become ravenous.
If you’re starving, you may be more likely to eat fast and eat more than you actually need. Slow down, and listen to your body ques.
10. Enjoy a balanced lunch.
Make sure you eat a sufficient lunch, complete with protein and healthy fats. A balanced lunch will keep your blood sugar levels stable and help you avoid the 3 pm crash.
11. Supplement as needed.
Try a good magnesium powder to assist with stress, constipation, muscle spasms, neck pain and energy levels. Slippery elm is also helpful to keep things moving.
12. Be your own biggest cheerleader.
Be kind and gentle with yourself. You’re doing your best! Just keep at it. If you overindulge, miss a few gym sessions or lose your cool – forgive yourself and gradually get back on the health bandwagon. Remember finding your unique healthy balance that fits with your unique lifestyle and biochemistry takes time.