by Nicole Flannigan
Now that the New Year is in full swing and we have all climbed back on the treadmills and weight machines, it’s time to make sure we can keep going. The most difficult part of changing your habits is the change itself. The best way to make a lasting difference in your life is to change things a little bit at a time. Even when you have the workout part down to a science it’s what you do outside the gym that counts as well. We all know that exercise is not the only answer to solving our weight loss problems. With a well-balanced exercise and nutrition plan you will get much more out of your workout and your everyday life.
It is not your imagination, sitting at your desk all day can really make your behind as wide as the chair that you sit in. Many people who work in an office building don’t get much of a chance to be active throughout the day. As a result, that nine to five job just gave them an extra 10 to 20 pounds. Here are some ways to whittle that waistline while you’re hard at work:
• Reduce those rolls: Replace that ordinary desk chair with a ball. By trading your chair in for an exercise ball you will help your posture and strengthen your core improving your stability and burning calories.
• Walk and talk: If you tend to take a lot of calls during the day, get a headset and walk while you talk. Get a pedometer or Fitbit and track how many extra steps you take in a day. An Extra 500 steps per day burns about 25 calories. Over the course of a whole year that can mean a weight loss of up to two pounds without even changing your diet.
• Schedule snack time: An American Dietetic Association report found that 75 percent of workers ate lunch at their desks at least two to three times per week. Instead of trying to multi-task, minimize mindless eating by making time to step away from your desk for snacks. If you are aware of what you eat you’ll be less likely to nibble all day.
• Go Green: Drink green tea! A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who drank tea that was fortified with green tea extracts every day for three months lost 2.4 more pounds than those who drank plain tea. Also antioxidants found in green tea may stimulate the body to burn fat and increase metabolism.
• Keep the candy away: Give your willpower some help and keep that candy in an opaque jar. If you can’t see it, you won’t want it. If you have a sweet tooth, try hard candies rather than chocolates. Hard candies last longer and have fewer calories.
• Make your fitness a group effort: When you go out to lunch with your coworkers, walk instead of drive. Better yet, get some of them to take up a class with you at the local gym after work. Working out with a partner helps to keep the commitment for you and your friend.
Changing your habits at your desk can help you to burn a few extra calories and save you from consuming a few hundred. So, what can you eat that isn’t going to add too many calories and still leave you feeling satisfied until your next meal? A small, 100 calorie snack can stave off hunger but sometimes that exact amount can be hard to eyeball. You could pay more at the grocery store for those pre-measured 100 calorie packs, or you could just make your own. Here are a few snack ideas that will keep your waistline and your wallet in check.
• Starbucks tall skinny latte: get that caffeine fix you crave along with 10g of protein and about a third of your daily calcium needs.
• Quaker instant oatmeal (regular style): high in fiber and protein and it’s good for breakfast or a snack.
• Yoplait light yogurt: packed with calcium and vitamin D.
• Banana: quick, easy and filling plus the potassium in bananas will help prevent muscle cramps later on.
• 3 cups air popped popcorn: light, fluffy and filling so go ahead and nibble mindlessly.
• 1 cup of baby carrots with 2 tbsp hummus: this snack is healthy and energizing which will help you keep going through your six o clock spin class.
• 1 cup of raspberries with 2 tbsp of plain yogurt and 1tsp of honey: this snack mix satisfies your sweet tooth without hurting your diet.
• 18 fat free Rold Gold Tiny Pretzel Twists: kill a carb and salt craving in a single snacking.
Trade some of these snacks for those vending machine packs for a more energizing and satisfying break from your work. To make it easier pack your snacks ahead of time. Make enough for the week and just grab them as you go for work. Things like popcorn and oatmeal can be stashed in a desk drawer for a quick and healthy pick me up if you are feeling hungry between meals. Eating more often will keep your feeling full so you will be less likely to snag a snickers for the drive home. Keep your cravings controlled and your commitment on the top of your list and you will stay on the right track to a healthy lifestyle. Remember that the little changes you make each day will have a lasting impact.