I began this most recent holiday season with a firm personal commitment to not gain any weight, stay away from cookies, bars, pies, cakes and chocolates, etc.
Back at work after the holidays, I just weighed myself this morning and found that I had gained 4 pounds, obviously due to consumption of cookies, bars, pies, cakes and chocolates, etc.
So of course I am now hyper-focused on weight loss and one of my new year resolutions is to lose a certain number of pounds by a certain date. But it strikes me that this is one of my resolutions EVERY year, and each year I seem to be gaining a few pounds. I do my fair share of exercise and generally maintain a moderately healthy diet, and the weight still accumulates.
My work is classic office-bound stuff – sitting at my desk, sitting in meetings, business lunches or short working lunches at my desk. Not a lot of physical movement other than walking to the next meeting. I have friends my age who have more active (and typically less well paying) jobs, and they don't seem to have the same weight struggle.
So as I am beginning to embark on another effort to lose weight I'm starting to wonder if the job itself is what's making me fat.
I've understood for some time that sitting down all day long is one of the worst things for your health, but I haven't done much about.
I know that as we age, our metabolism naturally decreases so we have less and less ability to burn "extra" calories, so I should really be DECREASING my calorie consumption each year, but I haven't done it.
I've read that people who successfully and permanently lose weight often develop the habit of tracking their daily calorie/nutrition intake and physical activity. I downloaded an app for my phone a year ago; rarely used it. They also weigh themselves every day, at the same time of day, and rigorously track their progress or lack of progress. I bought a nice digital WiFi connected weight scale awhile back and fell into the habit of only weighing myself when I thought I had probably lost some weight – I just didn't want to face the bad news.
And here's the kicker – I had convinced myself that the requirements of my job (lots of desk-bound sitting, high stress, long hours, etc.) were making me fat, but I couldn't change anything significant at work. So I was trying to compensate with activities/actions outside the job like intense exercise before/after work, healthy meals at home, etc. But clearly what I've been doing hasn't been enough.
So I'm going to make some changes at work and see what happens. I would also be really interested in any changes you have made (or are thinking about making) specifically at work, to maintain or regain your ideal weight.
Here is a brief list of the changes I'm committing to today:
1. Take hourly walk breaks. Every hour, I will get up from my desk and go for a quick walk anywhere (furthest restroom, copy machine, water cooler, colleague’s desk). My goal is to just move, briskly, as much as possible for at least 5 minutes. Every hour.
2. Stretch or move in place. I'm going to set reminders on my computer to prompt me to stretch and move while sitting at my desk. A quick set of deep knee bends, jumping jacks, simple arm stretches, anything to get the blood and lymph circulating more.
3. No more elevators. I'm going to prohibit myself from ever using the elevator, except in an emergency, and sometimes I'll even walk up and down a few "extra" flights just to get the blood/lymph pumping.
4. Walk at lunch. I typically take about 30 minutes for lunch, so I'm going to use half of it for eating, followed by a 15-minute walk.
5. Eat for Energy. In the past I've made the mistake of focusing on low-fat foods, but I understand our bodies and minds NEED healthy fat and protein to absorb nutrients and operate efficiently. So I'm going to ensure that every meal incorporates lean protein and healthy fat. I also know (but have ignored) that a meal of 400 to 600 calories is ideal for boosting energy – anything more than that causes an energy slump within an hour or two after the meal.
OK so those are my initial commitments. Do you have pother practical ideas that myself and others could apply? These need to be realistic and work-focused, not activities before or after work. I'm really looking forward to hearing your ideas.