January has come and gone, and with
it many fitness goals and lifestyle resolutions will have gone out of the
window. You may start off the new year with the best intentions; you buy a gym
membership, purchase trendy workout gear, do some big grocery shops, and try
your hand at batch-cooking some healthy recipes. But as most of us know, it’s
all too easy to slip back into old habits and find ourselves stuck in an
unhealthy rut. No one knows this more than those of us who work office jobs.
We begrudgingly set our alarm clock for an early start, wake up (shattered), crawl out of bed, muster the
energy for a shower, get dressed, probably skip breakfast, and head to our
morning commute. By the time we crawl through the rat race and get to work, we
go for a caffeine fix and start to feel hungry. What’s most convenient? A bacon
sandwich? A croissant? Sure, you’ve got lots on this morning, better get to it!
Before you know it, it’s lunchtime
and you’re starving. You haven’t brought any lunch in so you head for the quickest
choice – perhaps it’s a sandwich and a packet of crisps from the shop, or a
curry from the canteen.
You fight through the afternoon,
hitting the 2pm slump, needing some energy, and head to the vending machines
for a sugar fix, followed by more caffeine.
Then, finally, it’s home time. You
arrive home and can’t be bothered to do a big grocery shop, never mind go to
the gym. You might settle for a ready meal or a takeaway and end the night with
a few beers or glasses of wine. Until you wake in the morning and the whole,
vicious cycle starts again.
Sound familiar at all? If you
identify with any of these unhealthy patterns, or you’re simply looking to improve
your daily routine for a healthier lifestyle, here are a few tips to get you
off on the right foot:
Preparation is Key
Those people you bump into in the
kitchen at lunchtime who are heating up their homemade delights aren’t just
saving money by bringing in their own food – they’re usually eating something
healthy and nourishing.
When you decide to pack your own
lunch, you’re taking control of what you eat and have a choice of what goes
into your food. The key to bringing in your own meals is organisation and
preparation. Set some time aside the night before, or on a Sunday afternoon,
and cook large batches of healthy meals you can divide into containers. This
way, you’re prepared for the day ahead and won’t be tempted to buy unhealthy
Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day
Start as you mean to go on and make sure you get up in time
to have breakfast, and not just any old breakfast. Think eggs and avocado, a
fruit salad, or something that’s healthy and quick to make.
If you don’t have time to make breakfast on a morning, try
prepping it the night before. Recipes such as overnight oats, smoothies, and
fruit with yoghurt can all be created beforehand and stored in the fridge,
ready to grab before you leave.
Stop the Hunger Pangs
If you find yourself peckish before meals, having some
healthy snacks to hand can help to combat hunger pangs that could lead to
sabotaging your healthy eating plan.
Try bringing in some nuts and fruit you can keep by your
desk, or some chopped veg and hummus you can store in the work fridge. Be
cautious of how many nuts you eat, as even though they’re very nutritious,
they’re also high in fat and calories.
Cut down on Caffeine
If you’re a self-professed coffee or tea addict and need
your regular caffeine fixes to get you through the day, you may be setting
yourself up for failure. Drinking too much caffeine can result in energy slumps
throughout the day, leaving you feeling dependent on your next cup and
potentially wreaking havoc on your sleeping patterns.
Try drinking herbal teas throughout the day instead of regular
teas or coffee, and replace caffeinated soft drinks with flavoured sparkling
water instead. It may be hard at first, particularly if you find yourself
suffering with the unpleasant side effects of caffeine withdrawal, but
eventually your body will adjust. Your wallet will also thank you!
When you’re winding down from a long day at work and you
finally get home, it can be easy to have a no-fuss approach when it comes to
dinner. That’s fine – dinner doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal cooked from
scratch every night. Make sure you’re prepared and have some quick things in
stock you can make a swift meal from. For example, a tuna wrap with sweet
potato wedges, or a chicken stir fry.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, starting a new routine is a
difficult challenge. You’re essentially rewiring your brain to form new habits,
and this can take some time. Stick with it as much as you can and you’ll eventually
start to see some subtle differences, from sleeping better to feeling fitter.
What are your thoughts on trying to maintain a healthy diet
whilst at work? Let us know on Twitter @viking_chat.