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How do I Lose Weight at a Desk Job?

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
How do I Lose Weight at a Desk Job?
How do I Lose Weight at a Desk Job? Photo Credit: Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Americans are more sedentary than ever, and an office atmosphere certainly doesn't help -- the American Heart Association estimates that sedentary desk jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950. But even if you spend your days in an office, it's no excuse to forgo a healthy diet and skip exercise altogether. The result could be a healthier weight and body, even if you have a cramped schedule -- and an even more cramped cubicle.

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Packing Lunch

Your office probably has a wide array of food choices available come lunch time. Whether it's ordering in, heading out with your coworkers or even dining on items from the vending machine, it's easy to indulge in things that are not good for you. By packing your own nutritious lunches and snacks at home, you can better control your calorie intake and eat more healthfully. Bringing in some turkey on a whole wheat pita or some leftover stir fry, for example, can prevent you from ordering fast food, which can be high in calories and low in nutrients.

Active Breaks

You probably get a couple of breaks and a lunch hour at work. Make them count for burning calories by choosing to take active breaks -- breaks where you move your body. Whether it's walking a few flights of stairs, heading outside for fresh air or making the rounds to deliver verbal messages instead of sending emails, you'll score the benefits of physical activity. If you have enough time, you can even sneak to the gym during lunch instead of hanging out in the break room.

Office Training

Even a small office space can be an ideal place for doing some basic strength training exercises. Some won't even require any equipment -- lunges and squats, for example. Others you can do just using your office chair. Taking a break for eight to 12 triceps dips on the edge of your chair or straightening your legs in front of you for leg extensions can help you sneak in some strength training even when you're stuck at your desk, suggests the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. You can also stash some weights under your desk for quick bicep curls.

Teaming Up

Your coworkers can become partners in weight loss, so invite them to join you. Having accountability and a support group can make your efforts more effective as you spur each other on. You could even institute a weight loss group or competition so others can benefit from lifestyle changes. Having others on your side may be the extra push you need to skip the donuts in the conference room and snack on unbuttered popcorn instead.

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