The sedentary lifestyle of Western societies is one of the main causes of overweight and obesity . If we add to this a bad diet, we have a cocktail that is not exactly good for our health.
The change in living habits related to the “industrial revolution” first and the “technological revolution” second, has caused many individuals to have a sedentary job, which affects their health and general well-being.
The problems of sedentary work
The physical and psychological benefits of physical exercise and physical activity are numerous, but there are many people who do not do any sport at all and have worrying sedentary habits. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sedentary lifestyles are among the four highest risk factors for death. This same organisation states that between 1980 and 2008 the rates of obesity in the world have doubled due to this factor .
In Europe, the European Heart Network (EHN) has drawn up a list of countries with the highest rate of sedentarism, and Spain is in fourth place with 42% of the population not practicing physical exercise . People with a sedentary job (for example, office work) spend 40 hours a week in front of the computer. But then they come home and spend their leisure time logging on to the tablet, watching TV, etc.
This behavior and these habits bring with them negative consequences such as diabetes, heart problems, back pain, vision problems or overweight and obesity.
How to Lose Weight While Working
Fortunately, to avoid overweight (and other health problems) it is possible to modify a series of habits that minimize the negative impact of sedentary work.
So if you spend long hours sitting at work and want to keep the weight off and avoid fat accumulation, you can follow these tips.
1. Increase your NEAT
One of the best ways to lose weight is to speed up the metabolism . This does not mean exercising alone, which accounts for 15-30% of total caloric expenditure. It means that the basal metabolism, i.e. the calories consumed at rest (because the body needs energy to perform essential metabolic functions, e.g. breathing), accounts for 50-70% of our calorie expenditure.
One of the best ways to increase basal metabolism is through NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), which are simply the everyday activities we do that affect the amount of calories we burn. For example, climbing stairs, or walking to work. Therefore, if your office is on the sixth floor, do not use the elevator. Also, if you can avoid the car and ride your bike to work, you will be increasing your NEAT and therefore your basal metabolism and calorie burn.
2. Doing high-intensity exercise
As mentioned in the previous point, physical exercise accounts for 15-30% of total caloric expenditure. However, not all forms of exercise help us consume calories in the same way. Weight training helps build muscle, which means that the more muscle mass, the more calories burned at rest.
In addition, intensity training also promotes post-exercise fat burning, so after the training session, we continue to burn calories for the next 24 hours . This means that, while we are working sedentary, our body takes advantage of this to recover, repair muscle tissue and burn calories.
3. Eat fat-burning foods
To lose weight you don’t have to live in “fasting mode” or eat only salads. Thermogenesis, the caloric energy we use when we digest food, represents 10-15% of total caloric expenditure and helps us to burn fat. The body must be well nourished because physical activity or work demands that we have enough energy to carry out our tasks.
That is why it is good to eat some natural foods that help us to be more satiated , accelerate the metabolism and allow us to burn fat for different reasons.
- If you want to know what these foods are, you can read our article: “24 fat-burning (and highly healthy) foods”
4. Do not consume sweetened beverages
If there are foods that are fat-burning, there are also foods that are the opposite, and sugary drinks are an example of this .
These types of drinks provide unnecessary calories and also cause the glycemic index to rise, causing what is known as hyperglycemia. an increase in blood glucose. This causes us to have a greater need to eat when we spend some time favouring carving , and makes us continue to eat foods rich in sugar and fat.
5. Take your food home
A good way to avoid overeating is to take your food from home . If we go to a restaurant at lunchtime with our colleagues, we may exceed the daily calories needed. In addition, we run the risk of having dessert, which will usually provide extra calories.
If you take a tupper to work, you can make a careful selection of what you are going to eat. If you don’t want to get fat, you may choose healthier foods.
6. Eat five times a day
One of the keys to increasing thermogenesis is to eat five meals a day , which helps to prevent excess calories from building up in a few meals. By eating five times during the day, the body will spend more time digesting food and therefore increase calorie expenditure. This does not mean that you have to eat five big meals, but that you have to spread out the calories of a day over five meals.
Breakfast has proven to be essential for burning calories throughout the day, so it’s not a good alternative to skip it. If you want some healthy snack ideas, you can read our article: “7 healthy snacks (very easy to prepare)”