Saturday, March 17, 2012

The downside of a desk job

Anyone who has a desk job can tell you that it certainly seems hard to stay healthy and even harder to lose weight when you sit at work all day. You’re not burning many calories at work, but you don’t want to hit the gym right after work either. On those days when the job was crazy you’re so mentally exhausted from work that the motivation to go out for even a quick jog just isn’t there.

I’ve been learning that recently.

I worked as a television reporter for two years, lugging the equipment all over the place and conducting interviews. Then, when I got back to the newsroom, it was up-and-down out of my chair, getting file footage and editing the video. Some days I wasn’t sitting for probably more than 10 minutes at a time.

Now it’s pretty much the opposite. I get up every now and then to walk 20 feet to the copier. I am stuck inside the 50x50 foot office. I’ll walk to the break room a few times a night to fill up my water bottle or I’ll go to the bathroom once or twice and that’s the extent of my movement.

It’s been an adjustment.

Another switch for me is that I’m eating at my desk. While reporting I’d grab whatever I could – fast food or a bag of pretzels. Usually something that’s easy to eat in the car or on the run.

Since working in the office setting, I’ve discovered the importance of eating healthier snacks at work. When I first started, I brought some of the typical junk food I used to eat – Doritos, soda, hot pockets – but those things now add to my waistline faster than I can work them out of it.

I’m not counting calories at work, but now I try to pack four-to-six, individual (healthier) snacks to eat.

Today, for example, I brought a couple of granola bars, a stick of string cheese, some carrots and peanut butter, a banana, and a couple pieces of pork along with some vegetables. Some of those items may not be perfectly nutritious, but they’re probably better for me than my trademark Ramen noodles and Pop Tarts.

When it comes to eating healthy at the office, a big part is just learning to make wiser decisions in the grocery store.

Instead of getting the box of snack-sized chips, I bought a big bag of frozen vegetables the other day. I pack it for work in a Ziploc container and warm it up in a microwave for a few minutes. It’s quick, easy and healthy.

There’s no doubt: the veggies don’t have the flavor that a bag of Doritos has, but since I’m not as active as I was before, I guess it’s a fair trade to make.

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