Many people welcomed 2014 with an enlightened sense of determination to make profound changes in their lives and get healthy. Now that we are six weeks into the year, however, resolve and tenacity are beginning to wear thin. Sheer willpower can only take you so far. So what to do now? One of the most profound actions you can take to ensure continued success is to set up your surroundings and schedule to align with your goals. Let's start with your office. Here are five tips and tricks you can implement to improve your health while at work!
1. Be Prepared
Review your schedule for the following week. Mentally run through the days and visualize everything that you intend to do in this time frame. Do you have sufficient time to rest your mind and nourish your body with food between meetings, presentations, and deadlines? If not, make edits to your schedule and plan your work more efficiently. You will never be able to consistently make healthy choices on the fly due to factors beyond your control. You must make a plan ahead of time to guide you in times of doubt and stress. Then, all you need to do is execute. Planning in advance will bring you confidence and peace of mind which, incidentally, are conducive to your well-being.
- Check what is due and calculate how long it will take you to complete the work. Then, spread out the workload in your calendar over several days. As the deadline approaches you will not need to compromise break times to complete the assignment making it easier to stick to your plan.
- Few meetings are so important that they cannot simply be moved to an alternate time. Change meetings that interfere with your healthy plans.
- Prepare tomorrow's meals the night before. This way you won't have to waste any time wondering what you should have for lunch.
2. Schedule Meals Like Meetings
Set reminders in your schedule at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to eat a small meal of 250 to 350 calories. The time can vary depending on when you ate your breakfast and the intensity of your morning workout but you should never allow more than three to four hours to pass without eating something nutritious. You need to feed your body and your brain so you can stay alert and engaged throughout the whole work day. Progressively fueling your body will stabilize your energy levels throughout the day so you won't experience the after lunch lull. Just as you would set an agenda for a meeting, prepare your meals ahead of time to know exactly what you will be eating and have it readily available. This will abate the chances that you might succumb to a Snickers bar!
- Add a cup of vegetables to your lunch to feel more full.
- Focus on nutrients more than calories. A handful of grapes and a handful of M&Ms will have different effects on you both physically and mentally.
- Stock up the company refrigerator with plenty of healthy food. The best way to insure yourself against giving in to temptation is to have healthy alternatives readily available.
3. Exercise during lunch
Speaking of the after lunch lull, do you often feel tired or experience a "dip" in the afternoon? This can be easily avoided by exerting some energy during lunch. Energy begets more energy. Your presentation will be a breeze if you are feeling that endorphin rush from your run. Just like your meals, treat your workouts as important meetings. Alternatively, go for a walk during actual meetings. The main goal here is to stay active as much as possible.
- Remember to get up and stretch often!
- If you have a gym at your office, use it for the convenience.
- Be realistic with your expectations. Commit to two or three workouts a week on your calendar and adjust according to your personal goals.
4. Change One Bad Habit
Everyone has a routine vice they partake in. Maybe you drink a Frappuccino every morning. Or perhaps you're a frequent afternoon visitor of the vending machine? Try switching this up for a healthier alternative. Head to the cafeteria and grab an apple or a bag of carrots. This way, you stick with the ingrained habit of leaving your desk for a snack at this time, yet you substitute a healthier option. This can be applied to routines you keep any time of day. Small changes --> big wins!
- Replace cream in your coffee with almond milk.
- Instead of grabbing candy, eat some grapes that you've stocked in the fridge.
- Work on just one habit at a time. Attempting to change too many things at once will only confuse you and not yield any sustainable benefits.
5. Deftly Maneuver Through Office Traps
I am referring to all of the donuts, pastries and cakes that seem to constantly be making an appearance. Remember, these are not treats, they are traps! Don't follow the masses to the bagel spread. Head to the refrigerator, where you've placed your healthy alternatives in preparation for situations just like this one, instead. The ability to systematically foresee and avoid giving in to these temptations is integral in your long term success.
- Think about changing the culture in your workplace. What about bringing in Greek frozen yogurt instead of ice cream to go with the birthday cake?
- Avoid the area where tempting treats are laid out. Out of sight, out of mind.