Lack of time is one of the most common issues people have when it comes to exercise. Spending a great deal of our waking hours at work often increases the need to get creative when it comes to activity. Things like taking breaks to walk around the building, getting out of your seat to talk with a co-worker instead of picking up the phone, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator are all strategies that we can easily put into play despite a busy schedule. And although exercise is important in weight management, it’s certainly not the only factor that determines your success. What you eat and more specifically portion size can play a major role when it comes to battling the bulge.
The good news is that you can still enjoy all the foods you like while making small changes to the overall amount of food on your plate (USDA, 2011). Larger portion sizes can really pack on extra calories-which have a tendency to add up when we are not paying attention. To help make us more aware of what we are eating or drinking on a regular basis, we can start by keeping a food journal. You can do this on paper by simply writing down everything you eat along with quantities; or electronically through one of the many free dietary tracking apps available online. This accountability can help guide our food choices and ultimately prepare us for improved weight loss results.
A busy lifestyle often coincides with having little time to prepare meals at home. We typically find ourselves grabbing meals on the run and dining out more frequently when time is a factor. The fast food industry has taken heat in the past for contributing to the increasing waistlines of Americans and many establishments now offer smaller portion options (light & fit selections, lunch-size meals, dessert bites, etc.) as regular items on their menu. Nevertheless, the ultimate responsibility rests with us as consumers to make better choices to fit our needs. Franchised restaurants usually have their nutritional information either printed directly on the menu or available online so customers can preview options that fit their nutritional goals. Keep in mind that bringing your lunch to work just a few times a week may also be part of a healthier strategy to save both extra calories and money.
Balancing a healthier lifestyle with a busy work schedule can be challenging but certainly worth pursuing. Healthier employees are usually happier and more productive members of the team-qualities that are always valued in any work environment.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Nutrition Education Series-Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less, DG TipSheet No. 18, December 2011.