3 Ways to Maintain Your Weight While Working Behind a Desk

Original Post from Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life by DLM Writers

desk jobIf you have ever changed jobs you know the transition can often mean big changes to your daily schedule and habits. Due to the advancement of technology, many people are finding themselves behind a desk rather than out in a field or on the go. While I am thankful for the technological advantage of our current time, I cannot help but notice the alarming rate of obesity.

After college I noticed many of my friends heading out to sedentary jobs, many of which were behind a desk. Over time I noticed almost all of them slowly gaining unwanted weight and I knew exactly why; none of them changed their habits. They were so used to being very active as they spent most of their day walking to and from class, going to the gym and going out at night. Now all they were doing was going to work, sitting on their rump and then going home to sit some more.

I recently relocated and found myself at a desk job similar to all of my friends. However I knew that I didn't want to gain the excess weight as they had. So if you have recently changed jobs or have been at a desk for some time and have put on some weight, here are some tips I utilized to maintain my weight despite my activity levels decreasing drastically.
  • Eat Less

    I know this sounds easy but consistency is key. If you were like me, running around on campus 5-6 hours per day required a lot of food energy to maintain my weight. As you can imagine my food choices were not the healthiest and I usually went for the most calorie dense bites I could find. When I began my desk job I had to make a conscious effort to eat less at first but in time the habits were ingrained in my psyche and it just felt normal. Here's what I did.

    • I consumed fiber rich foods – I decided to stick with foods higher in fiber to keep me full. Instead of eating my usual pop tarts and cereal for breakfast I made sure I ate more fruit and veggies. The extra vegetables added a lot of bulk to my diet which allowed me to feel full on a fraction of the calories. Fruit and veggies contain more water than other foods which also helps with satiety. This made adherence easier.

    • I lowered my meal frequency – I knew that I wouldn't need to be consuming the same amount of calories as I was in college so I dropped my meal frequency down from 5 meals to 3 meals per day. This was an easy way to cut back on the calories.

    • I ate more lean protein – Protein is the most satiating of the three macro nutrients. It's a good idea to eat lean protein with every meal due to the hunger blunting effects it can have.

  • Move More

    So how do you move more when you are chained to a desk all day? Here is a concept you must get creative with. Depending on the rules and structure of your workplace, you may not have the freedom to move about as you'd like. Here is what I did to ensure my expenditure increased somewhat.

    • I walked a lot – I found the bathroom farthest away from you desk. Each time I had to relieve myself I walked clear across the building. During both of my fifteen minute breaks, instead of sitting around in the lounge I would head outside and walk a few laps around the building. This always woke up me up and the fresh air was nice.

    • I took the stairs – Working in an office on the tenth floor posed a great opportunity. I took the stairs every morning. Sure, it took longer than the elevator but I burned a few extra calories in the process. When it was time to retire for the evening I also took the stairs down.

    • I asked to have my desk raised – Working while I stood gave me a little more freedom to move around as opposed to keeping my rump parked in the chair for 2-3 hours before going on break.

    • Add An Extra Day Of Training - If you are participating in a regular workout routine you can always add an extra day to your schedule. By making this change you will increase your expenditure, which will decrease the likelihood of gaining any unwanted body fat.

    • One way I increased my activity was by going hiking every Sunday afternoon for about an hour. When it was warm enough I would go for a swim in the lake. Just adding a little more exercise can really add up over time.

  • Do Not Snack At Your Desk

    Mindless eating is the epitome of unwanted weight gain. 99% of those around me that are overweight have some kind of snack at their desk. None of them have apples or bananas to munch on; it's always an energy dense bag of candy or chips. When you eat out of boredom you develop a bad habit of curing your boredom with food. Don't get into this habit by allowing no food at your desk.
Give these tips a shot if you find yourself chained to a desk for any substantial period of time. Unnecessary weight gain does not have to happen.

Written on 7/27/2009 by JC. JC is the author of JCDFitness, A No BS Approach To Looking Great Naked. Photo Credit: star5112