We live in a “technology industrialization” era that has globally provided people with opportunities to increase their income, work for themselves and make a decent living all from a computer and/or smart phone. This movement isn't slowing down either.
Whether it’s a conventional desk job at a fortune 500 company in North America, a start-up in Ghana, a call center in India, or even an entrepreneur sitting in a coffee shop on his/her laptop in South America, technology has made it possible to earn an income as long as you have a strong wi-fi connection.
Along with these technological advancements, comes a sedentary lifestyle. You know sitting at your desk all day for 8, 9, or more hours tapping away at your keyboard going from your work screen to Facebook to see if anyone commented on your status update. (Maybe, that’s just me). We spend more hours at our jobs sitting than we do getting physical exercise.
In a 2012 article, Forbes magazine published an article, “10 Jobs That Are Making You Fat”. The common theme of these 10 professions is not only the sedentary factor, but there’s a significant stress factor. Sitting and/or high stress is a recipe for health and wellness disaster. Let’s not forget about other occupational factors that contribute to weight gain and stress such as: traffic (long commute), office parties, break room treats, vending machines, high caloric restaurant lunches with colleagues, snacking at the desk, mean bosses or co-workers, deadlines, demanding clients, etc.
My first career I was a public school teacher (insert stress face here). My weight would fluctuate and I was stricken with extreme fatigue and exhaustion daily. I literally had no energy to exercise after or before work (At least during the first semester. The second semester I usually found my mojo and was at the gym/track daily). Even though being an educator was super stressful, I was always up on my feet. I never sat down during the day. I also made sure to avoid the teacher break room which was usually wafting with smells of donuts, greasy tamales a co-worker’s aunt cooked, or left over cupcakes. Avoid the break room at your job. It’s a caloric sabotage nightmare
Just say no the break-room treats.
After earning my Master’s degree in Public Health last year and switching careers, I now work for a health agency and have a desk-cubicle job. I’ve been in this position for a year and it’s taking a lot to get used to being in a confined space, by myself and… sitting. I literally cannot sit for extended hours. I have some type of sitting ADHD. This ADHD works in my favor as it allows me to get up and get moving throughout the day and get the blood flowing.
Here are some of the ways I stay healthy at my job and avoid that dreaded “desk job weight gain”.
I bring my own food every day. I eat, small, nutrient-dense meals every 2-3 hours. This actually helps me from crashing at 3 p.m. and reaching for sugary coffee or something sweet from the vending machine. I also drink water all day. No sodas or juices. Just water.
Sample meals and snacks:
Breakfast (7 a.m.): Protein, fruit smoothie
Mid-morning snack (10 a.m.): Plan Greek Yogurt with 1 cup of blueberries and a pinch of mixed nuts
Lunch (12:30 p.m.): grilled chicken with 2 servings of vegetables and ¼ sweet potato
Mid-afternoon snack (3:30 p.m.): Kellogg’s protein shake or a protein bar with an apple
**Eating this way keep my metabolism up and allows me to not overeat. I also save eating out at restaurants with co-workers for only Fridays. When I do eat out at a restaurant, I practice portion control.
I still stand up for several minutes every hour at my desk.
My office is on the 2nd floor, but I’ll walk the stairways up to the 3rd, 4th, and sometimes 5th floor to use the restroom several times a day.
I have a set of 3 lbs dumbbells at my desk and I do bicep curls, triceps, squats, overhead presses, stretches, knee lifts and toe touches, several times a day, inside my cubicle.
I go for a walk in the parking garage (if the weather permits) or I walk in the hallways of my building.
**I live in Texas where it’s so hot in the summer, so walking outside isn’t possible unless I want to be a hot, sweaty mess. So I usually will walk just 1 lap in the parking garage and then walk inside my office building in the A/C. During the Fall/Winter, I can walk for 30 minutes outside in the cooler temperatures.
Stand up often at your desk or even purchase an adjustable workstation for your computer.
A little effort leads to big health-wellness gains. We all have to work and/or are building a business which requires us to sit down for extended period of time. Taking frequent “exercise” breaks and making sure to have healthy meals and snacks, while avoiding the breakroom sugar treats, are just a few ways to avoid occupational weight gain.
Let me know on Facebook, Instagram or You tube in the comments section how you manage to stay fit at your desk/stressful job.
Be Healthy. Be Well.
Follow Health Wellness Lifestyle TV on Social Media and subscribe to this Blog