There are many things that make losing weight difficult. Motivation to eat healthily and exercise more comes and goes for all of us for many reasons. Sometimes it’s the weather – how hard is it to say no to a big baked potato at lunch time or a massive hot chocolate in the afternoon with our current climate? Sometimes it’s our lifestyle – it is more difficult to make good food and drink choices when you are busy and overtired. And sometimes it is the very fact that you are surrounded by food and drink all the time – it’s not easy to give into temptation when you can smell the chocolate!
For me and hundreds and thousands of people, what we do for a living hampers our weight loss efforts. Well unless you are a chocolate taster or a professional fast food eater your actual work isn’t the problem, it is the nature of what we do. Sitting at a computer for eight hours a day is a recipe for snacking, for drinking high sugar drinks, for giving in to temptation without even realising it. Especially when you work in an office with lovely people who provide cakes, biscuits and sweets weekly if not daily to help make everyone smile. And then there is the commuting. Not a problem I have any more as I’m only a short drive (or a long walk) from my office, but I admit there are always sweets in the car to help make journeys more bearable!
I mean, just look at this totally amazing cake… yes… look… drool… wish… want…
…I can confirm that this was quite possibly the nicest chocolate cake I have ever tasted. It was moist, had chocolate butter cream inside and on top, and of course Maltesers topping it off. So good. It was made by a colleague’s partner for our Red Nose Day bake sale (we raised just under £150 by the way!). An extreme example of how work can lead to over eating for sure (unfortunately the fact that calories consumed for charity don’t count is a myth), but there are often cakes in our office and when they are home made it is incredibly hard to say no. The fact is when someone brings in a home made cake I don’t want to say no, I want to eat it.
It’s not really the odd slice of cake that’s the problem, though (so colleagues, if you’re reading this, please continue to bake bake bake!) – we have weekly Weight Watchers Pro Points and Activity Pro Points that we can use to treat ourselves on occasional naughtiness like that. Not a problem, it is a lovely thing to share tea and cake with friends and I shall continue to do so when I fancy something that I’m offered. But it’s the fact that we’re sat on our bums moving little more than our fingers, that it’s too easy to not go out for a walk at lunch time thanks to a combination of the amount of work and the weather, that when we’re at work we eat for the sake of it. It’s the extra cereal bars, chocolate bars, cans of coke, full-fat lattes.
So what can we do? The best thing, of course, is to take all the food for the day to work with you. That should include a nice healthy but filling lunch and some healthy snacks for those grazing moments. Easier said than done and something I’ve been really bad at recently – getting into the habit of taking a packed lunch is key. And when you don’t have time or there’s nothing in the house? There are lots of healthy choices around, you just have to make the right decisions. This was an absolutely gorgeous Rainbow Salad from M&S with some honey and lime dressing – really tasty, I’d choose that one again. And thin cuppa soups are a brilliant way to “eat” without adding too many calories or Pro Points to your daily total – I always have some of those in my desk drawer.
I also try to keep a supply of healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, low calorie cereal bars and that sort of thing in my desk drawer – keeping snacks like that close to hand makes it easier to say no when someone offers to get you something from the corner shop.
The only way to lose weight successfully is to take in fewer calories than you burn off, so moving around is an absolute necessity. There’s not much chance of me getting a stand-up desk at work (not that I’ve asked), but I’m trying to see what things I can get done stood up, such as reading through reports and other documents. Organising any meetings away from my own desk also forces me to walk about, and of course making sure I take my hour for lunch and go out for a walk into town (without going into the cafes and coffee shops!) is great.
So now I’m after some inspiration. What should I keep in the house to create lovely things for midday eating in the office? What are the best healthy choices if you need to buy lunch? And what other things do you do to help curb your office over eating? Feel free to comment below.