Ever heard of the ‘freshman-15' well it doesn’t always end upon graduating college.
You may have noticed your clothes fit a little tighter now compared to day one of your career. While there could be many factors playing a role in this change, your office lifestyle could be driving the sabotage train.
Does this look familiar to you?
8AM– Either skip breakfast or quickly eat the closest thing you can find to food as you hustle to the office (usually a breakfast bar or a bagel)
11AM– Start talking with coworkers about where to grab lunch (ok this probably starts around 10AM)
12PM– Pick up a salad, sandwich, etc.. from the closest deli/fast food spot
2PM– Starting to feel the post-lunch slump–- time for Coffee!
3PM– Oh look! Cookies left over from a training/meeting earlier today. One won’t hurt.
6PM – I’m tired, I’m starving and I don’t want to cook. Takeout/Delivery it is.
It’s so easy to fall into a routine when the majority of those around you are practicing the same habits. If there is anything you take away from this article today, it’s that you don’t have to be like everyone else! It’s OK to stand your ground and make your own choices about your health.
"Other people's opinions of you are none of your business" - Rachel Hollis
I hope you find the following five tips helpful. If this is newer to you, try tackling just one at a time. No need to dive headfirst into all five at once; take it slow and progress will come.
1. Eat a protein-packed breakfast
Starting your day with protein will help balance out your hormones and will keep you fuller for longer. Feeling satisfied early in your day can also prompt more mindful decisions as the day progresses.
Proteins provide our body with structure and strength; make hormones and enzymes; make immune system chemicals; and produce transport proteins, among other things.
Give these protein packed options a try: Greek yogurt with fresh berries, whole grain toast with avocado & egg, veggie loaded egg scramble or egg muffin cups, overnight oats, chia seed pudding, breakfast “cookies”, cottage cheese with fresh fruit, protein smoothie packed with greens, peanut butter & banana toast.
2. Bring snacks
Get ahead of the afternoon slump with healthy, ready to eat snacks that give you the boost of energy you need to power through the rest of your day. Having healthy options available will help deter a trip to the vending machine, or the cookies sitting at your neighbor’s desk.
Opt for snacks like nuts (a handful), homemade trail mix, turkey and cheese rollup, Greek yogurt/cottage cheese and berries, string cheese, hummus and veggies, banana/apple & natural nut butter, hardboiled egg, protein shakes.
3. Pack a well-balanced lunch of protein, veggies and healthy fats
It’s easy to fall into the routine of picking up lunch from a local salad/sandwich shop, after all, it’s your social time. News flash, you can still go on the walk with others even if you packed your own lunch!
Salads don’t have to be boring. Pack them with colorful veggies, lean protein and a serving of healthy fats. Wait to dress them until time to eat to prevent soggy greens syndrome.
Soups are your new best friend. Not only can they fulfill multiple meals, but they are loaded with vitamins, minerals and good solid nutrients. Plus, they are easily transportable and typically can be eaten hot or cold.
One pot/pan meals are a life saver. Limited clean up and all the delicious flavors make this meal & leftover combo a homerun. Choose a lean protein (fish or meat) and your veggies. Opt for a vegetable with some body such as broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, or mushrooms.
4. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
·Water makes up over half (50-65%) of who we are. Not taking in enough water, causing dehydration, could have negative physiological effects.
As a baseline, most adults need to drink around 2L (8 cups) of fluid each day, however, your size and activity level can have an effect on your actual hydration needs.
It can be tricky for our body to distinguish between hunger and thirst. Tune into your fluid intake and if confronted with a pang of “hunger” ask yourself if you’re really in need of food, or if it’s something else.
5. Take a walk
Our bodies were not built to sit hunched over at a desk for 8+ hours a day. When we sit, our muscles (especially in our lower extremities) are not activated/are not doing their job, not to mention the fact that most of us have terrible posture when sitting at a desk/computer. As a result, we are more susceptible to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and depression, as well as joint and muscle problems.
Keep your brain sharp, and your muscles moving, by getting up out of your seat every hour. Take a walk around the floor, visit a friend, take the stairs, and if you’re really bold do some squats and side lunges at your desk.
Progress is progress, regardless of size, so long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other.