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Losing weight may seem like a difficult uphill battle that requires planned meals and long workouts. Aside from those two things, weight loss also requires discipline and mental toughness to get through the hurdles. Certainly, all those factors together may seem daunting, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. Most people don’t realize that the little things count, too.
There are many small changes to your lifestyle that you can do to lose weight and become healthier overall. Here are some small, simple habit changes that you can incorporate into your day and watch your weight begin to drift away.
Healthy Habits To Help You Lose Weight
Habits are behaviors that the brain has made automatic. Sometimes, habits have become so ingrained in us that we don’t realize a number of them can be unhealthy. To counter them, you can adopt smaller, positive changes to your lifestyle. Instead of trying all-or-nothing diets and workouts that can be hard to follow, these small changes can last for a lifetime, helping you move more, lose weight, and look and feel better.
Get Up From Your Desk
Let’s begin these habit changes by regularly getting up from your desk to stretch your legs. Sitting and staying in one position for too long can lead to numerous health risks, including muscle soreness and strain, headaches, back pain, development of varicose veins, and so on. It can even lead to a higher risk of detrimental health issues such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
Getting up from your desk once in a while allows you to stretch your muscles, reducing aches and strains. It allows your blood to circulate better around your body. Take the moment to walk around the office or even a short walk outside. Being on your feet helps reduce your screen time too, allowing your eyes to take a break from monitor glare.
If walking around isn’t entirely possible for you, another thing that you can do to be more active is to switch your office furniture to ergonomic ones and adopt the sit-stand method of working. This involves alternating between sitting and standing as you go through your tasks, encouraging you to move more at your workstation.
Take Exercise Breaks
Aside from taking regular breaks at work, something that you can do to be more active is to incorporate exercise breaks. This doesn’t mean that you have to take yourself to the gym in the middle of your workday, although you could do that too if you have enough time in your hands. For most office workers, however, hitting the gym can be difficult to squeeze into their schedules. Exercise breaks can be an alternative to that.
Doing desk exercises, stretching exercises, and the like, even just for a few minutes, can help a lot with weight loss and your overall well-being. Not only does it help you shed off extra calories but also, the more you move, the more you can improve your posture, increase your productivity, and have a better mental performance.
You’ll also notice that the more you do simple exercises at work, you’ll experience fewer body aches and pains. To exercise at work, you can store some portable fitness equipment at your desk, or you can simply use your desk, chair, and other office items.
Staying hydrated is highly vital. When you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, your body can confuse hunger with thirst. That ‘hunger’ can cause you to snack more when all your body wants is to be hydrated. Additionally, numerous studies noted that if a person doesn’t drink ample water, the body may have to store carbs as fat, and the body cannot efficiently change carbs into energy without enough water.
Drinking water can also help keep you away from unhealthy drinks that are loaded with sugar. Water has zero calories, as opposed to sweetened beverages that are full of calories. If you find yourself having difficulty drinking enough water throughout the day, start by having a personal tumbler or reusable water at your desk to have a physical reminder to drink. You can also make use of water-intake mobile apps that give you reminders that it’s time to energize your body with some water.
Prepare Your Lunch
It’s very tempting to just buy lunch outside or get food delivered to your office. However, doing so not only drains your wallet but also makes you gain weight with the amount of sodium, fats, and the like contained in them. When you prepare and pack your own lunch, you can control the quality, portion sizes, and even reduce the amount of sugar, salt, and fat that you’re consuming.
Making your own food ensures that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and that you’re getting the right nutrients. If you don’t have time to cook before you leave for work, you can always meal-prep your food in batches and freeze them for a whole week or so. Making your meals ahead can help you reach your nutrition goals, allowing you to avoid unhealthy options and leading you to make more nutritious choices over the long term.
Avoid Working Lunches
Speaking of lunch, one thing that a lot of office workers tend to do is to eat while working, or in other terms, do a “working lunch.” Office workers tend to believe that eating at their desks makes them more productive but in reality, it is a recipe for disaster. Making a habit to eat lunch at your desk can decrease your productivity, increase your stress levels, and make you even more fatigued. Plus, it also means that you’ll stay seated for longer, adding to the risk of sitting disease.
Taking regular lunch breaks away from your desk can help reduce your stress and re-charge you for the rest of your day. When you’re not facing your computer screen and only focused on your lunch, you’ll be able to avoid accidentally eating more than what you need. Moreover, taking a regular lunch break can help clear your mind, give you a fresh perspective, and make you feel refreshed to go back to work.
Snacking is something that’s difficult to avoid, and it can be a very tough one for anyone trying to lose weight. Instead of reaching for those cheese-flavored chips or gummies or shell-covered chocolates, reach for healthier snack choices instead. Snacks that are good for you and can help you feel full include nuts, apples, hummus, peanut butter, yogurt, crackers, bananas, berries, snap peas, granola, cheese, and more.
Preparing and pre-portioning your snacks can also help you avoid mindlessly snacking which means grazing and munching throughout the day. Snacking intentionally with your prepared snacks is much better and can help you lose more weight. It keeps your energy stable, letting you power through the day and preventing you from overeating at proper meals. Try to snack every three to four hours and focus on your snacking by concentrating on your food and getting rid of distractions.
Decompress Between Work and Home
When you’re stressed at work, you are more likely to gain weight as you’re likely to be inactive during your downtime. A research study found that stress at work can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as more sitting, less exercising, and having a more sedentary lifestyle. Being highly stressed can also give you the urge to eat more.
It’s important to draw a line between your work and your time at home. Leave your work matters in the office and de-stress at home by exercising or doing meditations. Having personal time for yourself without thinking of work can reduce your stress levels, effectively stopping you from using eating as your stress outlet and reducing your inactivity due to fatigue.
Boasting about working overnight or overtime isn’t something to be proud of. According to research, those who sleep five hours or less put on two and a half times more belly fat. Meanwhile, those who sleep better at night with eight hours or more pack on less fat than that. Moreover, the quality of your sleep can impact your food choices during the day. Even just a few nights of sleep deprivation can lead to an almost immediate weight gain.
When you tend to sacrifice sleep, you’re more likely to make up for it by consuming fatty and sugary food. By having better sleep habits, you’re more energized and you’re more mindful of your food choices. It’s also important to stick to a sleep schedule, even on the weekends. This can help your body learn to rest and maintain your weight control.
Weight loss doesn’t mean drastic diets or putting long hours in the gym. A more effective approach in losing weight is to make simple, small changes in your lifestyle, allowing you to develop healthier habits and make weight loss practices that can last over time. It may be a journey and it may be difficult on most days but always remind yourself that all the little changes can add up and make a big difference to your overall well-being.