I see it all too often, my clients coming to me saying that they find it hard to keep on track with their health and fitness goals whilst working an ever demanding schedule and increasingly longer hours. The time that we spend at our desk and with our co-workers seems to be increasing along with the demands and stress placed on our body . This combined with wanting to get home to spend time with loved ones means the first thing to generally go after a long day is your health and fitness and this is when it can seem all too easy and convenient to reach for take away and skip the gym when you are leaving the office but this doesn't have to be the case.
Here are my 6 small steps that you can implement today to help get you through the workday and keep your health in tact.
Snack smarter not more
Eat high fibre foods that leave you feeling fuller for longer meaning you won't be hungry as often and won't be as tempted by the chocolates and cookie jar at 3pm. Snacking on high fibre foods such as Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially with the skin on are not only lower in calories but leave you feeling full for hours after so you won’t be running to the biscuit tin an hour later and then eating excess calories. This is because the fibre in vegetables and whole grains causes you to digest them slower than refined carbohydrates like pasta or white rice so always opt for the wholegrain options and fruits and vegetables with the skin on when you can.
Switch to a tea in the afternoon
Having that afternoon coffee will not only play havoc with your adrenals but also cortisol levels as in the afternoon cortisol is starting to lower to help you start slowing down to get ready for bed. That cup of coffee is going to stimulate cortisol similar to if your body was placed in a stressful situation. Instead switch the afternoon coffee for a herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint to help calm the body and keep your adrenals happy.
Fuel up on Lean protein
Having lean protein with every meal such as yoghurt or eggs for breakfast, tofu or tuna with a salad or wholegrain wrap for lunch and steak or salmon with vegetables for dinner is going to help keep hunger at bay but you will also end up eating less as gram for gram protein has been shown to be more filling than carbohydrates and fat.
Get up and move
It can be so easy, when focusing on a project, to go for a few hours without moving. Set a timer on your phone so that every hour it goes off and reminds you to get up and stretch. Even if it is just a walk to the kitchen to re-fill your water bottle/ glass or to the bathroom, this will keep the blood circulating in your body more effectively than if you were sitting down for 4 or 5 hours and not moving.
Make a lunchtime walk date
Going to an exercise class or for a walk in a park at lunch has not only shown to boost productivity in the afternoon thanks to the endorphin boost of exercise, but it will also ensure that at least 2 or 3 days a week you are actually taking a lunch break and aren't working though lunch everyday. Especially in winter when the sun is rising later and setting earlier, it can make it harder and less motivating to want to workout early before work or head to the gym after work in the dark. That is when a lunchtime walk or training session is most effective as it also ensures that you get your daily vitamin D fix especially in winter when it is important to make sure out vitamin D levels don't drop too low. Even if just for 20 or 30 minutes, this will leave you recharged and refuelled ready for a productive afternoon.
Fall in love with H2O
It may seem an obvious one but it is still something that a lot of people have trouble with and don't seem to be drinking enough water throughout the day. Having a reminder on your computer to not only get up and stretch but also drink water is a great little reminder as you can sometimes go for hours without water so this will help keep you hydrated and making sure you're getting in your minimum 2L per day. Being adequately hydrated will also ensure that you aren't snacking unnecessarily. As thirst can be misread as hunger, sipping water throughout the day will help alleviate this.