How to stay healthy when you work in an office

I’ve written about how to stay healthy when you work from home in the past and that’s all based on my experiences as a freelancer working from a cosy home office. Occasionally I pop into someone else’s office for a roadmapping session, freelance shifts as a journalist or just to get out of the house. This change in scenery is often great for my productivity but it throws up all sorts of other challenges when it comes to eating well and exercising.

Take your own food

I really can’t stress enough how important it is to take your own food to work. don’t rely on sandwich deliveries or popping to the shop. Not only are you more likely to find yourself reaching for processed foods but you’ll probably overeat too. Making your own food ahead of time at home can help kill cravings, keep you full and fuel your body so you don’t get the dreaded 3pm slump. Take a look at these easy slow cooker recipes for some tasty make-ahead inspiration.

Avoid the treats

A slice of cake once in a while never hurt anyone but when there’s someone in the office having a birthday each week, you can be all-too tempted by cake on a regular basis. Learn to say no. I know co-workers can be masters in peer pressure so make you stand known. You don’t eat cake. When you do everyone can rejoice but, for the most part, you don’t.

The same goes for the bowl of sweets in reception, the hand-baked goodies left in the staff room and the offer of a sugary latte in the afternoon. Just. Say. No.

Think about the alternatives

If you do want to get in on the fun that is a coffee run or trip to the cafe down the road, think about what you’re going to have before you’re put on the spot. Go for a fancy green tea when you go out for coffee or just have your coffee black. At the cafe opt for soup or a jacket potato (without cheese, sorry) rather than a burger or calorie-laden sandwich. You can join in and you can treat yourself but if you do, make sure it’s not on a daily basis.

Make your commute your exercise

This is easier said than done if you have a 30-mile commute but if you live nearby to work, make an effort to walk or cycle. I really enjoy biking to work, especially in rush hour as I can cut through the traffic really easily. It’s also really easy to push myself and better my time every time I set out on my commute.

If you do live too far from work to cycle then consider popping your bike on the train, getting off early and cycling the rest of the distance.

Stand up

Sitting is what’s killing you. Request a standing desk or, at the very least. make sure you’re getting up regularly and walking around. Read this piece for more detail on the dangers of sitting.

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