Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Exercise and Fitness

How I Learned to Stay Fit while Working a Desk Job

Guest Blogger: Leslie Johnson

Staying healthy can be a big challenge if you work an 8-5 desk job.

When I got my first desk job, I found out very quickly that it wasn’t easy to maintain a healthy body weight, much less shed any excess weight at all. It sounds obvious now, but I had no idea that spending that much time sitting in front of a computer could have such a huge impact on my health. After only a few months at the job, I found that I had gained a few pounds, despite having a fairly disciplined diet.

I decided then that I needed to take my health to the next level since I took a job that almost required me to exert as little physical activity as possible. I had to act to preserve my health. I tried many different methods before I arrived at a system that started yielding results; here are some of my more successful methods. I hope they help you as much as they helped me!

Taking regular walk breaks

I found that much of the lethargy and general listlessness I experienced in the office could be remedied with a few breezy walks a day. I figured if my coworkers could take regular smoke breaks, why shouldn’t I take regular walk breaks? I decided to head outdoors every two hours for at least ten minutes for taking a brisk walk to help get my circulation flowing and burn at least a few calories. Luckily I worked in a downtown area that provides plenty of walking for pedestrians; so this exercise was fairly hassle-free for me.

I found that I was pretty energized after my walks. Not only did I feel good about getting some low-impact exercise, but I was grateful for the break away from my computer screen.

Eating two small meals

Lunch was often the biggest meal of the day for me. I’d wake up and eat maybe a bagel or some yogurt with fruit, and then I’d wait it out until lunch when I’d go to a restaurant with some coworkers and order the most filling thing on the menu out of sheer hunger—my dinners were rarely the size of my lunches. I decided to halt this practice when a coworker told me about splitting their three typical meals into a series of smaller meals to be eaten throughout the day.

I tweaked my coworker’s plan for my own needs by splitting my lunchtime in two. I’d have a small lunch meal around 11 or so, and then another small lunch around 3pm. This way I spread out my calorie intake and gave my body a chance to metabolize my food. Better yet, I never had to worry about the crash I felt at work after eating a huge lunch!

Cutting out the sodas and sugary snacks

Perhaps the biggest challenge I (and my coworkers) faced at my office was avoiding sugar. When you’re working at a desk job and need constant energy, it’s easy to forgo unsweetened tea or black coffee in favor of a sugary soda or a jazzed-up coffee drink with cream and sweeteners. It’s even harder to pass up the sweets and candies that my coworkers brought in the office on a regular basis—things like cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and the like.

As hard as it might be to avoid these kinds of sugary sweets, the fact is that you’re better off without them. After abstaining from sugar for a few weeks, I saw my weight begin to stabilize, something that I hadn’t seen in months. I started drinking plain black coffee and eating plain yogurt (with maybe a little honey) instead of lunging for the donuts whenever they were brought into the kitchen. It was hard to kick such a bad habit, but it was also encouraging to see how positively my body responded to my choices!

About the Author

Leslie Johnson is a freelance writer and journalist who writes about physical and mental wellness for Feel free to send a comment her way!

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