Beat Your Desk Job Weight Gain

There are numerous articles and infographics about how desk jobs are causing damage to our bodies and slowly killing us. Who knew that sitting down could be perilous and so I have decided to address this topic and put that chair back in its place.

I can relate to the lethargy and weight gain caused by an office job because I spend a large proportion of the day sedentary and hunched over a computer. Therefore, I tried to come up with 95 ways to help you beat your desk job demise. This is in homage to the 9 to 5 work day, however I recognise that many people work a variety of shift patterns but this article is still applicable. I only managed to think of 20 ideas and so hopefully you can add more exercise suggestions in the comments section to increase these quality tips to 95.

Due to the lack of movement by many office workers during the day, coupled with the availability of cakes, biscuits, snacks and sugary drinks a lot of us struggle to keep our waistlines in check. By the way walking to the printer, toilet, kitchen, meetings or to your colleague’s desk is not enough and highly unlikely to get your pedometer to 10000 steps, so you are going to have to do a bit more walking, I’m afraid.

But this is where my article plays a crucial role by offering a mixture of practical and tongue in cheek advice to help you counteract the harmful consequences of your desk job culture. Sit back, relax or exercise whilst reading this at your desk.

1. Use a diet and fitness recording app such as MyFitnessPal to follow a calorie restricted diet. You can record your food and drink consumption as well as the daily exercise that you undertake at work. By keeping track of your eating and drinking habits and your activity levels, hopefully you will be well on your way to keeping your weight under control. I am currently using this app and find it to be very useful.

2. Go to the gym during lunchtime to do an exercise class or use the machines. The new type of gym membership model is more economical and flexible and there is no need to be locked into 12 or 24 month contracts anymore. Instead you can pay a small joining fee and a very low monthly membership amount and cancel or postpone your membership at any time. There is also anytime fitness, where you pay one membership subscription and you can access thousands of fitness clubs.
3.  Go for a lunchtime swim if there is a local swimming pool nearby but if there is none available and you are feeling particularly adventurous and have packed your wet suit then why not go for a dip in your local pond, canal, river or sea.
4.  Go for a walk and buy a healthy lunch or if you have brought food from home just take a walk around the block several times. The fresh air will also do you some good.
5.  If you prefer to live life in the fast lane and want a grittier challenge, change into your running gear and sprint around the vicinity of your office block for as long as you can manage and try and increase the length of time you do this on each occasion. By running regularly, you will be running half marathons and marathons in no time at all.
6.  Start a work fit club and suggest that HR incorporate a fitness plan into all employees performance reviews so that their work performance is monitored alongside their health and fitness levels. This encourages healthy competition in the workplace.
7.  Walk around your office or office building for 5 minutes every hour but if your office is too small, unfortunately you will just have to do a lot more laps but try not to get dizzy.
8. Have a face to face meeting with HR to discuss your concerns about the obesity epidemic sweeping the world, the UK and most importantly your workplace. Being the responsible citizen that you are, you have decided to nominate yourself to champion a new initiative called the overweight/obesity reduction programme where you will personally ensure that strict measures are enforced to ensure that overweight individuals shed some pounds. It would be useful if you could provide evidence that people are getting larger and that you have been affected personally. Perhaps photographs of your expanding waistline and the collection of biscuits and cakes etc in the kitchen area and on your colleagues desks.

You need to persuade HR to implement a company policy where sweets, chocolate, cakes, hot chocolate, concentrated orange juice and any refined sugar etc or basically anything that tastes nice is strictly forbidden and there are to be no exceptions. When HR have authorised this sensible and forward thinking regime, you should of course expect a little resistance and hostility from your colleagues for introducing this programme but you should not be despondent as any pioneer will tell you.

You must ensure that the policy is effectively complied with and that colleagues agree to random bag, coat and pocket searches to confiscate forbidden items which you can donate to charity that aims to reduce poverty. Remember you are on a mission to stop the obesity epidemic spreading and it starts with you and being a trailblazer is a long road with many unwinding turns. So stand firm and do not even allow birthday or any celebration obesity causing treats.
9.  Request that your company buys you a work desk treadmill but it is probably best to walk and not run for numerous reasons whilst you are working. I am not sure if anyone has mastered the art of typing a coherent sentence successfully whilst running as yet but if I am wrong, please let me know. Also they are a bit on the expensive side so your organisation might be reluctant to purchase a treadmill desk.
10.  Strip of your work attire to reveal your tasteful lycra/sportswear underneath. Roll out your exercise mat or unfold your exercise bike and do a 5 minute workout every hour. Do not pay any attention from sniggering colleagues because they are just jealous that they are not as dedicated as you are to maintaining you health and fitness.
11.  Ask permission from your boss, HR and perhaps the health and safety rep for your trusted personal trainer to visit your office daily so that you can undertake a vigorous 30 minute workout session. I advise that you book a meeting room away from the office floor and also invite your colleagues along to make your exercise class a boot camp/group session. It is best to change out of your work clothes first or you could exercise in your work attire or have a dual purpose garment made, a special all in one sports work suit (what a great idea) or if your work culture is more progressive you can just wear sportswear all the time.
12.  Put on an exercise DVD on your pc or select an appropriate YouTube workout channel. Once again do not feel intimidated by the lingering eyes of your colleagues. You are not distracting them because they can easily avert their eyes and carry on with their work. If they object to your dedication and conscientious approach to your health and fitness, this is not your problem. You are absolutely right in prioritising your health. You won’t be able to work if you are off work due to obesity/sedentary related ailments. However you could put up a makeshift barrier to stop prying eyes but if you are undertaking vigorous exercise routines which involves a lot of jumping up and down and heavy breathing, then it might be best to provide your colleagues with noise cancelling ear muffs.
13.  Walk or run up and down the office staircase, the more flights the better. For example there are six flights to get to my office floor. A mere 132 steps which leaves me breathless all the time but I know it is worth it. Just pretend that lifts have not been invented yet and when they are mentioned by anyone, deny all knowledge that you are aware of these rectangular boxes. This attitude helps you keep up the pretence that the staircase is the only way of reaching your office and then you are highly unlikely to be tempted to take the easy route up or down.
14.  If you have to move around the office, you can only do so by hopping or jumping. Surely this must burn more calories than walking.
15.  Do star jumps or burpees or both at your desk every 30 minutes for 3 minutes
16.  Put on a weighted bag when you walk around the office. This throws in a bit of resistance training which helps you burn more calories.
17.  Move the tea and coffee making facilities to a remote place in the office building or even better have a pop up refreshment bar which changes location every 20 minutes so you have to search aimlessly whilst notching up pedometer points, that is if you have one.
18.  Ensure that every item you need to use at your desk requires you to walk and collect it from somewhere. For example if you need to use a pen, hole punch or a stapler, make sure you retrieve it from the stationery cupboard which is on the other side of the building and then return the item once you have finished with it. By adopting this method, you will find that the hundreds of trips back and forth during the week adds up to a lot of walking. If you really want to go that extra mile, have a desk on wheels that you have to wheel backwards and forwards when it is in use/not in use.
19.  Whilst sat at your desk, raise your legs and feet off the ground and place them back and repeat this for 10 minutes out of an hour. If you are like me and are often desperately trying not succumb to an overwhelming cloud of mid-afternoon sleepiness, you have to lift your legs with more energy and stomp them back down to the ground, clap your hands a few times, stretch, jump up and down, spin around, do a few dance moves and sit back down. This particular sequence is designed to make you feel more alert and you will no longer feel that you could drift off at any second.
20.  All great ideas begin in your mind and so instead of exercising with your physical body, it is time do this from a mental perspective. Sit at your desk, close your eyes and visualise yourself running around the park, playing volleyball on a hot beach, competing the bike part of a triathlon, climbing Mount Everest or jogging on the spot by your desk. Carry out this daydream exercise daily and weigh yourself at the beginning and a few weeks later.

Hopefully you found these 20 suggestions an interesting read. Let me know what you think about them. Please also share your tips in the comments section about maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle whilst at work.
Disclaimer: The author of this article, Rachel Garwood is offering suggestions and not advice. Some of the tips are practical and others not to be taken seriously.
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