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Strategies to lose weight if you have a desk job

Lana Bandoim's picture

Losing weight sounds simple on the surface, and many claim all you have to do is eat healthy meals and remain physically active throughout the day. However, it is not easy to accomplish this in today’s busy world. Many people are confined to desk jobs and are limited in the efforts they can take to lose weight every day.


The problems with desk jobs

There are several ways desk jobs interfere with your health and fitness habits by limiting weight loss efforts. Your desk keeps you confined to one space and inhibits your ability to get enough exercise during the day. It also affects your diet habits and makes you more likely to resort to junk food or unhealthy snacks.

You are sitting all day. First, you are prevented from being physically active. The act of sitting is bad for you and will interfere with your ability to lose weight. Studies show that sitting all day increases numerous health problems.

You have less time. Working from 9 to 5, not including overtime or counting your commute time, is a serious drain on your free time. This means you have less time to prepare meals and maintain a healthy workout regimen outside of your job.

The day is demanding. Desk jobs are stressful and demanding. They wear down your motivation and self-discipline over time. They decrease your inspiration to lose weight.

Temptation is everywhere. From the vending machines down the hall to the sandwich shop across the street, the office environment is filled with unhealthy temptations. It is not easy to resist them as you struggle through your day.

Strategies for success

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Fortunately, there is still hope for those who have desk jobs. If you have a desk job, you just have to compensate for it with one or more of these strategies. You can continue to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet.

1. Prepare your meals in advance. You know you are not going to have much time during the week, so you want to try to prepare as many of your meals in advance as you can. For example, on Sunday night, you could cut fresh vegetables or make a big pot of soup that serves as your lunch for the entire week. Also, each night when you get home, you could prepare and portion three meals for yourself the next day. Once the meals are prepared, you will be less tempted to indulge in junk food. It is always easier to make healthy decisions in advance.

2. Keep healthy snacks in your desk. You are not always going to have time to prepare your meals, and even if you do, there is always the chance that hunger will creep up on you in the middle of the day. Instead of relying on a vending machine full of potato chips and candy bars to address these hunger pangs, you can keep an assortment of healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, peanuts or almonds, in your desk. This way, you will always have a reasonable option.

3. Make use of a standing desk. If you were not forced to stay seated all day, you would not have as many problems. So, why not stand? Standing workstations are becoming more popular, and you can probably talk your way into getting one if you cite the physical health benefits. There are many types of standing desks and standing workstations available. From manually adjustable standing desks that convert from traditional desks to standing models or L-shaped standing workstations, you can find one that works for your office.

4. Use your lunch break to work out. This option depends on your lunch allotment and your physical location, but you can make it happen. You can try to fit in 20 to 30 minutes of intense exercise. Not only will this help jumpstart your metabolism midday and knock out your workout during your working hours, it will also give you more energy to beat your afternoon slump. If you make it a habit, it will get easier to follow through with the plan every day.

5. Get up and stretch every 30 minutes. Sitting all day is draining, so you do not want to forget to move. You can set a timer, and every 30 minutes force yourself to get up and move around. You do not have to do anything complicated. You can walk around the block or do some pushups and sit-ups around your desk, but even a quick stretch is enough to get your blood flowing and keep your energy up. Even small amounts of physical exercise add up over time, and you will feel better doing it.

6. Walk whenever you can. It is more difficult in an office environment, but that does not mean it is impossible. Make a special effort to walk wherever you can because it burns calories, keeps your metabolism active and will give you more energy. For example, you can park your car far away or start walking to the office. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can walk around the block for some fresh air or walk to the other side of the office instead of sending an IM. Any excuse is a good one if it means you get the chance to move around.

These strategies are not a guarantee of success, but they can help you overcome some of the biggest and most annoying problems associated with working a desk job. Combined with a stellar diet and exercise program, you will be able to start shedding the pounds quickly even at work.

Image from Pixabay.com and used with permission.



I try my best to get up and walk around the office when I can. It makes such a difference to my energy levels!