You can try to make deskercise happen: Seated leg extensions while on a conference call? Sure, why not. But, still, since your desk job is mostly sedentary, you’ve got to be strategic with your time throughout the day if you want to lose weight, says Scritchfield.
“Unless you plan to get a more active job, you will have to get your activity elsewhere,” she says.
These R.D.-approved strategies will help you lose weight even if you sit at a desk all day long.
1. Prioritize 30 Minutes of Exercise
Give your daily schedule a good look and try to find 30 minutes to work out five days a week, says Scritchfield. Cut out anything that’s less important than your health, like scrolling social media or watching TV. If you can’t live without the latest Netflix original series (damnit, Stranger Things), then exercise while you’re watching television, she says.
2. Turn the Stairwell into Your Gym
When you get to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, Scritchfield suggests. Heard that one before? Thought so. She also says that you can squeeze in that 30 minutes of exercise a day by spending 10 minutes walking up and down the stairwell three times a day (or just 30-minutes straight, she says. Trust, you’re going to feel this.
3. BYO Vending Machine
Turning a desk drawer into your healthy eating paradise can keep you out of the chips and cookies in the office vending machine, saving you tons of calories. Stock your personal snack machine with dried fruit, nuts, non-buttery popcorn, and tea. For more ideas, check out these healthy, R.D.-approved snacks you can keep at your desk.
4. Drink 91 Ounces of Water per Day
According to the American Council of Exercise, active women should be drinking at least 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, every freaking day. While you should be doing this on the weekends too, sipping water throughout the workday can fight off fatigue, prevent dehydration headaches, and (hopefully) keep you from snacking when you’re not hungry. The sneaky side effect: Those extra trips to the water fountain (and, let’s be honest, restroom) will help you log more steps.
5. Chase Your Snacks with Protein
When you feel a snack attack coming on, combine your go-to fruit (or that cookie from the break room) with a protein. That’s because the muscle-building protein takes longer to digest than carbs and sugar. So you won’t feel the blood sugar spike and crash that follows. Nut butter, nuts, seeds, beef jerky, or even a hard-boiled egg will do the trick.
6. Bring Your Lunch
While taking a break from your desk is a great way to kick stress and bank more steps, that fast-casual burrito will likely clock in above 1,000 calories and make you feel sluggish in the afternoon. Instead, brown bag one of these six lunches nutritionists eat when they’re crazy busy. Still need a breather from your desk? Take your DIY lunch outdoors.
7. Stand at Your Desk
Research shows that you might only burn an extra nine calories per hour while standing at work than if you were sitting. But before you shrug off that miniscule calorie burn, you should know that standing improves your blood-sugar levels, which is good for weight loss, too.