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Wed 13 Nov 2019 09:41 AM

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5 tips for 'staying healthy' in the workplace

A practical 5 step guide designed to show you that you can maintain your health and get results whilst managing the pitfalls of the office environment

5 tips for 'staying healthy' in the workplace

Georgina Lee: The Inside Works, Nutrition Consultancy. 

You’ve set yourself new health goals and are keen to stay on track, but certain situations can challenge you more than others, and this is never more apparent than in the workplace.

You’re quietly tapping away when someone pops a glazed pink doughnut on your desk or another team meeting means a conference room full of goodies. 

This practical 5 step guide is designed to show you that you can maintain your health and get results whilst managing the pitfalls of the office environment.

1. Beat the peer pressure and say no

How often in a busy office is there a birthday party cake, a colleague who suggests a take-out or fast food lunch or someone returning from holiday armed with boxes of chocolates? It never ends.

Just say ‘no’. No need to overthink or justify your choices.

If someone slides a slice of cake on your desk and it’s not going to make you feel good, put it back. Be warned some colleagues may not like that you're going to eat the salad you brought from home instead of the pizza. They may even sound genuinely concerned for your wellbeing: 'come on, it's Thursday' or 'go on, it's Suzie's birthday one won’t harm you'.

Eventually, when you've held firm a few times they will begin to realise that you mean ‘no’. Acceptance will set in and you can feel quietly smug that you have gone against the grain.

If you really stay the course, I guarantee you will start noticing those cake pushers starting to follow suit. Now you're a fire starter.

2. Be prepared

Failing to plan is planning to fail. In an office environment where your diary is packed with meetings, a constant flow of people asking you questions or last-minute requests, your ability to get a decent lunch break is hard.

This can mean grabbing something in a coffee shop, ordering in or reaching for the quickest fix. Sadly this may equate to a rushed blueberry muffin or chocolate bar; that may leave you feeling somewhat lacklustre.

Plan your approach. Plan your meals and bring something from home. Meal prepping doesn’t need to be boring or hard work. Plan some meals using simple ingredients and prep for 2-3 days; you will feel amazing once done. If you need snacks then go back to basics and bring in portable foods like apples, yoghurt, nuts. Don’t overcomplicate. You’ll be more inclined to stay on track and not be derailed by the office sweets if you fuel yourself well during the day.

3. Get off your...chair

How easy is it to get sidetracked and suddenly before you know it your eyes are glazed, your back is bent over stiff as a board and you’ve forgotten the last time you moved your legs.

Sometimes the most obvious things are dismissed and you may think you have to go hit the Body Pump classes for an hour to make an impact on your health. Wrong!

Start looking for opportunities to move; take the stairs, offer to do the coffee run, park further away and grab any excuse to walk around.

Movement throughout the day will have a huge impact on your health, moods, energy. You’ll feel great and less likely to hit the chocolate at 4pm.

4. Recognise why you are eating

Work can at times be monotonous. It can be these moments of boredom, stress, habit that we start reaching for the sugary snacks or we treat ourselves to the caramel frapalacaccino...it has been a tough day after all.

Just consider your eating habits and be conscious of how much you are consuming that isn't a result of you being hungry.

  • Do you tend to go for a mid-afternoon chocolate hit to 'get the energy levels up'?
  • Do you hit the vending machine when you're at a loose end?
  • Do you tend to treat yourself when you've had a busy day or week?

Sometimes, just not eating at your desk can be a help; you may think you’re too busy to take a moment but the benefits are huge. Sit away from the screen and eat, you’re less likely to overeat, more likely to enjoy your food and go back to work with a more relaxed mind and a satisfied, rather than stuffed feeling.

5. Create a community

Sometimes being on a health kick can feel a bit isolating. Get your peers involved and start to encourage some healthy vibes in the office.

  • Replace the chocolate stash with a daily fruit bowl that’s visible & accessible.
  • Start a lunch club where each person brings a plate of their favourite nutritious foods and start sharing.
  • Encourage healthy catering with local supplies for events & conferences.
  • Where possible eat with your colleagues and enjoy the social aspect that food brings.

Start today and take charge of your health regime, you will feel fabulous once you do.

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