Posts tagged work
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.
I’ll let you know how I’ve got on with my ditch the plastic challenge in a few days, but first I wanted to give the SIGG bottle I was given a proper review post.
This is the SIGG Active Top 0.75l Performance Purple bottle. It is a 750ml metal bottle with a plastic lid and straw that twists to open/close. To get liquid flowing up the straw simply sucking isn’t enough, you have to give the top a little bite where the ridges are marked, which means this is ideal for using wherever you might tip the bottle – so walking, cycling, running, in the car, in your work bag – anywhere where you’ll be on the move. This little video explains…
The bottle looks fab and it’s so useful. I’ve used it very nearly every day – at work when sat at my desk, when I have meetings all over and don’t get back to my desk in between, at home on the exercise bike, when doing my exercise DVD, when at band rehearsals, when on long journeys in the car. I fill it with water from the tap, squash, juice, lemonade. Since I’ve had it I’ve drunk even more water than before, not that I ever need persuading to have a drink, but because it is there, because it is accessible, I have drunk extra.
I am totally sold on metal bottles. The problem with plastic ones is two fold. The first is that they scratch, dent, and get misshapen fairly easily. Ok so metal bottles can be scratched and dented too but after four weeks of constant use my SIGG bottle is as good as new. The second is that they get stained with both colour and flavour – that is, if you fill one with blackcurrant squash and leave it for a day you end up with a slightly purpled bottle that tastes a little of blackcurrant forever. You don’t have that problem with metal bottles, they are much more easily cleaned.
The lid on this bottle is genius. I did wonder at first – it’s really only a straw after all – but I really like it. It’s great if you’re clumsy like me and are liable to knock over your bottle; even in the open position the was barely any leakage in my bag when it fell over and got jiggled around, and it doesn’t spill when you’re walking and drinking at the same time. And I much prefer this straw like action to the traditional sports tops – this gives you a really good flow of water, you can drink in satisfying mouthfuls, where as I have always found traditional sports tops leave me wanting more and quite often getting a mouthful of air rather than water.
This is actually a massive bottle. It’s biggest downside is that when full it’s very heavy. But I get through the 750ml quickly so it’s not heavy for long! I think, I know, if I was to buy a second one – and I am tempted – I would buy either the 0.5l or the 0.6l version, and refill it more often. I think for carrying around, something a bit smaller would be more appropriate.
I took my bottle when we went to visit our God Daughter earlier I’m February. She “found” it in my bag and as a result of the conversation that followed her mum, my friend Bec, ordered one. Hows that for recommendation?! She said:
Having seen Splodz’s SIGG bottle and then looked at them online I decided despite the cost I needed to get one. I would be the first to admit I usually drink nowhere near enough liquid during the day and so I figured if I spent out on a bottle I would feel like I had to use it!
I have been using my Active Top bottle 600ml for over a week now and on day one noted that I drank nearly four pints across the day (in addition to my coffee intake!), and by my reckoning that’s at least three pints more than usual. I have to say I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my energy levels which I’ve very much welcomed.
The design itself is fab; the “notches” in the lid for Close, Air, Open, Clean makes it, in my opinion, perfectly designed, and with its “bite to open” seal even when I don’t remember to click to close it is yet to leak or spill.
I thought it would be safe from my 19 month old (I’m used to sharing all my drinks), but even just a week in she is already beginning to get some drink out of it. Once she has got the hang of it I will be investing in a bottle for her too.
It could be said that this is just a sports bottle and a very expensive one at that, but I have to say I’m thoroughly impressed with it and it definitely helps me drink throughout the day. It’s fit for all purposes in my opinion.
As you can see the SIGG Active Top bottle is a hit. I think it’s one of those things you need to see or try to get a feel for the quality, the great design, and the incredibly useful top.
I really like my SIGG Active Top Performance Purple bottle, it’s well used and has become part of my routine when leaving the house. There’s a massive range of styles, colours and sizes, and I keep having a look on the website considering a second one. I think I at least need to get one for LincsGeek so he’s got a decent one too. They are not cheap, though, but considering the money saved on disposable bottles and the health gained thanks to drinking loads more I’d say it’s money well spent.
That’s it. The Christmas and New Year break is over. I’ve had a really lovely couple of weeks off. But now it’s back to work. I can’t complain really, the day job is fine, but that still doesn’t stop *that* feeling in my stomach on a Sunday evening – the Sunday night blues plague me once again…
Shoes might help! New shoes always help. Actually I really need to sort out my work wardrobe - one pair of trousers and a couple of ok dresses are not going to see me through to Spring. As always I will start with my feet.
I fancy a pair of brogues. You already know I am totally comfortable in Dr Martens (and I wear those to work as much as possible), but I fancy some shoes. Here are my top three from the Spartoo website:
Here’s a traditional looking brogue by Costa Costa in a fantastically feminine bright patent red. I love them, so shiny, they’d certainly add a pop to any office based outfit.
Still patent (I so love patent shoes at the moment – that’s ok isn’t it?!), these Stéphane Gontard brogues have a softer shape and ribbon laces that make them positively girly. And being black they will go with everything.
But I think these are my favourites:
The slightly higher heel means these chunky western-style brogues by Bronx will just elongate my legs just a teeny bit. I love the detailing on the toes and sides. Yes?
As winter sets in what we eat during the day becomes even more important than in the summer. Those of us who eat at work might find that a sandwich or salad just doesn’t give us what we need – we need something warm, something filling, something that isn’t chips from the local pub! And without proper fitted kitchens in the office we rely on the kettle as our only source of heating up our food.
The Food Doctor have just released these new “Wholesome Pots”. Much like the Pot Noodle “instant hot food” idea, these pots are full of dehydrated food that you simply add boiling water to before tucking in.
The pots contain all natural dehydrated pulses, grains, herbs, spices and vegetables meaning they are a healthy and nutritious snack. They are full of fibre and protein, and provide slow-release energy to keep you going.
But if the thought of “bulgar wheat” doesn’t inspire you, The Food Doctor sent me one of each of the three pots to try on your behalf. And I have to admit I was a little apprehensive. I mean, I have been known to enjoy the odd Pot Noodle, but not for years now. These just seem like a posh version of that – but would they be any good?
There are three flavours which I tried last week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday:
Wednesday: Couscous and Lentil Pot with Tomatoes, Red Peppers and Cumin
This cous cous based pot took just five minutes to rehydrate, and smelt really good. As you can see below this was a cous cous dish with bits of veg in. It was – well – ok. I didn’t dislike it but it wasn’t anything special – it lacked a bit of oomph or something, needed to have a stronger flavour. I didn’t finish the pot, but what I did eat filled me up nicely until tea time - I didn’t need to snack in the afternoon to keep me going (although it was also the day my bike was stolen, so I don’t know how hungry I’d have been anyway).
Thursday: Bulgar Wheat and Quinoa Pot with Tomato, Black Olive and Basil
What is bulgar wheat? Absolutely no idea. I should probably find out.
I wasn’t sure about this pot – I was worried that it would lack flavour like the couscous one. But I was wrong – this was really tasty. The tomato and basil is nice and strong, and the bulgar wheat and quonia (despite not knowing what they actually are), were filling and gave the dish some texture. For the second day in a row I had no hunger during the afternoon (this really isn’t like me!), and this time I had enjoyed my lunch more too.
Friday: Bulgar Wheat and Quinoa Pot with Asparagus, Leek and Mint
Still unsure what bulgar wheat is, I was less concerned about what this might taste like. Of the three this was the one I was looking forward to trying the most anyway (they say “save the best til last”) – I liked the idea of this one with mint and leek and asparagus.
And it was indeed the nicest one of the three. There were lots of veges alongside the bulk and carbohydrate of the bulgar wheat/quinoa (I’m assuming it’s carbs!). As soon as I put the water in I could smell mint, and the herb really came through in the taste. This one is absolutely the best in my opinion, and is the one I will choose in future.
A couple of things in general about these. The fill line is on the outside of the pot (as you would expect!) but as it’s a thick card cup it’s impossible to see the line through to the inside – so one day my food was slightly wetter than another. Also, the two bulgar wheat pots take 10 minutes once you’ve put the boiling water in, still fast for what is essentially a hot meal in a pot, but not totally instant like cuppa soup – make sure you bear this in mind when you’re working out what time to eat!
I’ll definitely be keeping a couple of these in my desk drawer for days when I really need some hot food at lunch time. But these aren’t just good for lunch at your desk, they are great when you’re away from home (you always have a kettle in a hotel room) or if you just fancy something quick and easy in the evening.
Each pot costs £1.39 or £4.99 for four from The Food Doctor website, or for the same price (singles only) from Tesco.