Everybody who has ever worked a desk job knows how hard it can be to live a healthy lifestyle in an office environment. Taking care of yourself can be really difficult when you’re focused on your career. Combined with your many responsibilities at home, your dedication to your work can make it easy to put healthy choices on the back burner. But it’s important to find ways of keeping your body healthy, so you can avoid the inevitable absences that come from illness.

One of the biggest health risks for office workers is obesity. That’s followed closely by diabetes and heart disease. The reason for this is because you work at least 8 hours a day sitting down, with very little physical activity. And eating healthy is an equally difficult challenge. Who has the time to put together a healthy meal and take it to the office where you spend your entire day?

Well, staying healthy at work doesn’t have to be as difficult as that. What you need is nothing more than a little strategy. Remember that the goal isn’t to be a health nut – it’s to eat smart. So, when it comes to food and drinks, strategy can make a very big difference.

With that in mind, here are xx tips to help you live a healthier lifestyle in your office.

1. Have a Healthy Eating Schedule

A big part of eating healthy is to eat on time. That’s because when we feel really hungry, our tendency is to eat whatever is available – even if it’s unhealthy. And we also tend to eat too much when we’re very hungry. By keeping a regular meal schedule, you can better control what you are eating, and you’ll take less time to feel full. That means you’ll eat less, and there’s no question that food quantity is as serious of an issue as food quality.

An important first step in establishing your healthy eating schedule is to have a complete and nutritious breakfast. Yes, that probably means you’ll have to wake up a few minutes earlier. But eating a good breakfast sets the tone for a healthy day, and it ensures you’ll have the energy when you get to work to avoid the vending machine and all its naughty temptations.

Another important point is to avoid eating meals at your desk. The logic behind this is that when your mind is divided, you’re less likely to notice the triggers that tell you you’re getting full. This means you’re more likely to overeat. So, eating time should be dedicated eating time. This is one area where multitasking isn’t good for you. This also means its okay to eat out with your friends. There are plenty of healthy choices at most restaurants, so just use your common sense.

2. Control Your Caffeine Intake

This one is a sore spot, even for me. How in the world can you get your day started without a cup of coffee? I know I can’t. But experts agree that limited consumption of caffeine is acceptable. You just have to limit yourself.

One cup of coffee to get yourself moving in the morning should be enough. Anything more, and you’re probably going to have a caffeine crash in the afternoon. Remember, what goes up must come down. So, the higher your caffeine intake, the harder the crash later on.

Besides, there is a whole list of side-effects that come from excessive caffeine intake. These include anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, addiction, high blood pressure and rapid heart rate. I love coffee too, but I don’t want it to kill me.

3. Snack Smart

It is an unrealistic expectation that you’re going to forgo junk-food altogether. Let’s face it, when your coworker comes in with a plate of cookies, you’re going to have one. But an occasional indulgence is nothing to worry about. You can, and should, enjoy the yummy side of life. But you have to eat junk-food in moderation. A little bit of sugar goes a long way. The same can be said for salty snacks. Excessive sweets can lead to diabetes, and high sodium can result in high blood pressure. Both can make you fat, and that increases your risk for all kinds of serious health problems, including heart disease. So, enjoy a little bit of junk-food, but know when to stop.

Having said that, when it comes to snacking, there are a lot of other options out there that are actually good for you. Fruits and vegetables – both fresh and dried, nuts, even carrots and celery with a dip – are much better choices. And they can help to energize you in ways that junk-foods can’t. Good nutrition makes your body and brain function better, so eating better snacks can actually make you better at what you do.

4. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!

You’ve heard it a million times, now. Drinking lots of water is good for you. Health professionals recommend drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day.

There are many listed health benefits of staying properly hydrated. Amongst these are good joint health, maintaining moisture in your mouth, nose and eyes, it makes your skin healthy and beautiful, it protects the brain, regulates body temperature, flushes out waste and much, much more. Conversely, not getting enough water can result in high blood pressure, lack of energy, confusion, and irritability.

But it can be hard to keep track of how much your drinking when you’re on the job. How can you keep up with your water intake throughout the day? Well, it does require a little planning. But, it’s not that hard. At a minimum, you’re looking at about a liter and a half during your work day. All you need is a half-liter (500 ml) water bottle and the alarm on your phone. Set 3 alarms – for 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Your goal is to finish – and refill – your bottle by each of these times. Do this, and you’ve accomplished your goal.

You can even make it fun by competing with your office mates to see who can drink more, or who can finish their 1.5 liters faster.

In conclusion, maintaining your health at work is an important part of your work day. That’s because if you’re not healthy, you can’t work. An enormous part of that is controlling what you put into your body. You don’t have to be cruel to yourself, but you do have to have a strategy and use common sense. Taking these simple steps can help you develop a healthier, happier lifestyle!

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