Diana Kelly Levey

The Easiest Ways to Lose Weight at the Office

A man sits at his desk in his office and smiles while he works

October 22, 2019 | Categories: ,

Being stuck at a desk all day doesn’t mean work has to be bad for your weight (or your back).

Nutrition and exercise tips to lose weight at a desk job

Set a timer to get up every 20 minutes or so

You’ve heard this tip before, but it’s worth repeating. Simply standing up more often helps to prevent weight gain versus sitting. We expend a surprising number of calories through non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)—activities like walking to the water cooler, vacuuming, and even toe tapping and fidgeting. This incidental movement can help with fat loss, say The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN. Obese people tend to sit 2.5 hours a day more than their sedentary lean counterparts, research shows. Some fitness bands not only track your steps, but they’ll remind you if you’ve been inactive for a certain period of time. You can set a quiet vibration timer on your phone or a desktop one with your sound turned off (like e.ggtimer.com) that’ll remind you to get up and take a loop around the office. (No time to walk around the office? These foods will help burn belly fat while you sit)

Stock up on healthy snacks

We’ve all had those days where a meeting runs way too long and you don’t have time to grab lunch. Your best bet to prevent a “hangry” (hunger + angry) episode: Rely on fiber-filled, protein-packed snacks that will keep you satisfied on relatively few calories, suggests Lakatos. Keep non-perishable snacks in your office drawer, like pre-portioned nut packs, or lower-sugar granola bars like KIND bars, roasted chickpeas, whole grain crackers, and even a small jar of peanut butter or almond butter. If you have access to an office fridge, stash these nutritious foods: apples, edamame, black bean dip or hummus for your crackers, non-fat yogurt topped with one tablespoon of granola, cucumber slices with low-fat cottage cheese, and raw, sliced veggies like carrots, peppers, and celery.

Sip tea with lunch

Green, black, and oolong tea contain the amino acid theanine, which brings on a state of mental calmness yet alertness. This may help ease anxiety and prevent overeating due to emotional stress, while also making you very alert and mindful of your food choices. When you make good, healthy, rational meal decisions you stay leaner.

Desk exercise: Zip up your abs

“We rely on this and it truly makes a huge flat-belly difference,” says Lakatos. Activate your abs by squeezing them in tight and pulling them back against your spine as you exhale. Picture zipping your abs together by using your muscles to contract your abs by pulling in from the center—think about pulling everything in a vertical line from your belly button up to between your breastbone, while also holding everything in and back toward your spine. Hold for a count of 10 as you continue to exhale. Slowly release and repeat for 10 reps at least three times. “Not only will this create good posture, it will also wake up the abs muscles and make it easier to keep your abs in,” says Lakatos Shames. Bonus: When you’re focusing on flat abs and a tight stomach you’re less likely to overeat at your desk.

Desk exercise: Tone your thighs

Try this thigh-toning exercise under your desk. (Beware wires and remove clutter first!) Stay seated with your feet on floor and back straight. Extend your right leg until it’s level with your hip, slowly lower. Repeat 10-15 times. Switch legs. You’ll feel the burn in your quadriceps.

Desk exercise: Tighten and tone your butt

Tense up gluteal muscles as you sit in your chair. Hold for 10 seconds. Do reps of 10 at a time. No one has to know you’re doing them.

Read the full article on Reader’s Digest.

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