- Eat a healthy breakfast. Mom was right on this one: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Eating in the a.m. stabilizes your blood sugar (which can head off cravings) and may prevent you from overeating later on. If your stomach does a flip-flop at the thought of eating first thing in the morning, take something with you from home, purchase something healthful (like fruit and yogurt) on the way, or stop at your office's cafeteria (if you have one). Try to eat within an a hour of getting to work. If all else fails, have a small mid-morning snack, such as string cheese and a few whole-grain crackers. Just don't allow your hunger to get out of control. You're unlikely to make smart choices at lunch if you're listening to your growling stomach instead of the little voice telling you to eat sensibly.
- Don't get taken over by take-out. Everyday you will inevitably be approached by someone who utters the words, "We're ordering from _____ (fill in the blank with a deliciously fattening deli or horribly high-cal Italian eatery). Do you want something?" And as you consider the turkey on whole wheat and carrot sticks you brown-bagged, you will most definitely be tempted by the convenient offer because, "Oh, my, how wonderful a slice of nice hot, cheesy pizza would be right about now." But resist! This is one I learned from experience: Not only will getting daily take out catch up with your waistline, it will wallop your wallet, too.
Of course, no one can just say no eating out or take-out all the time. It's just a matter of doing a little homework so you can make the best choices among what is available. Acquaint yourself with nearby eateries and the healthiest choices at each. This could be as simple as snatching those take-out menus from the break room and making a few notes on what suits your taste buds and your diet. Or, obtain your own copies for your desk and highlight the best choices for quick, easy reference.
- Get some fridge benefits. Take advantage of the availability of a communal fridge by stocking diet-friendly staples -- not six packs of soda. Stock snacks such as string cheese, low-fat yogurt, and reduced-fat pudding cups as well as stowing away lunches that need refrigeration such as salads. Just make sure your name is on your stash or someone else will surely eat it.
- Don't shell out candy at your desk. You'll find some of your coworkers keep an always-filled a candy dish on their desk. And it's tempting to join in the sugar-sharing by providing one, too. But while a dish overflowing with chocolate candies is a sure-fire way to make new friends, it probably won't help your weight-management efforts. It's tough to resist something that is constantly within view and at arm's reach. Consider this oh-so-healthy alternative to sweets: I was surprised to find the receptionist at my temp job had begun keeping a bowl of fresh fruit at her desk instead of the usual candy. While I was speaking to her, a coworker helped himself to an apple, and mentioned that his new daily fruit habit had helped him lose 3 pounds over the last six weeks.
- Get up. Walk around instead of e-mailing, instant messaging or calling coworkers. It's way too easy to rely on the phone and e-mail to communicate with colleagues instead of doing the legwork. After all, that's what those modern conveniences are for, right? Well, if it means you're plastered to a desk chair for the next eight hours, maybe convenience isn’t worth the true cost of a sedentary lifestyle. Simply walking around the office to take someone a print-out or ask a question contributes to your total daily activity; every little bit of movement counts, no matter how insignificant it seems.
Tip: Eat a well-balanced lunch comprised of a lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Both will help you keep your blood sugar at an even keel and your energy level up.
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