When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to say that "people who sit all day long will eventually have a bigger bottom." I'm not sure how she meant for me to interpret this at the young age of eight, but I visualized that sitting on a chair (big and flat) will ultimately make the same impression on a person's bottom - making it big at flat. She was a medical secretary and had to sit for most of her work day. This probably explains why she would never sit still, always busy doing something, when she wasn't working. It's been quite a while since she stopped working, but as it turns out my grandmother, who is still alive and well, was on the right track...your job CAN make your butt big - but not because of your chair.
Science Daily recently posted a release that suggested the workplace is causing us as a society to become fatter - worse than where we were 30 years ago. Why? Well, we all know that sedentary activity level does nothing for us. And the workplace, at least for those of us who sit most of the day, has quickly migrated to a more sedentary work environment that it ever was before. We have everything we need at our desk. Why should get up and move around? Email, the internet, cameras on our computers to video conference are all incredible advances in convenience and work productivity.
Compound this with the ever-growing size of breakfasts (i.e. super-sized specialty coffee drinks, bagels, pastries) and lunches (jumbo sandwiches and salads that taste too good to be healthy), and voila - big butt!
If you're reading this, you care. You're also most likely aware of the bad habits you may (or may not) have, or are looking for a little direction with getting back on the straight and narrow.
If you're work week is crammed, getting in regular workouts may not be realistic, but getting away from your desk two or three times a day could actually help shape your body a lot faster than you might think!
Let's get a little perspective with how easy it is to give our bodies a boost:
10 minute brisk walk (for a 150lb person)
Calories burned: 57
10 minutes walking up a hill (for a 150lb person)
Calories burned: 164
5 minutes walking stairs (for a 150lb person)
Calories burned: 51
10 minutes stretching (for a 150lb person)
Calories burned: 79
15 minutes pushing a baby stroller (for a 150lb person)
Calories burned: 121
This is just an estimate for a 150lb person. In general, if you weigh more, you burn more. Weigh less, burn less. Individually, it doesn't sound like a lot, but add it up and the benefits will show. For instance, add a 10 minute walk four times a week in addition to what you're already doing and you'll shed a couple pounds in six months. Not bad. Want to see the big impact a little bit of effort could do for your body? Here is a really simple calculator to try out .
I know a lot of people who are physically very good to their bodies. They may not be able to workout every day, but they try to stay consistently active. That said, a good portion of those people throw it all away the moment they start eating. We all experience the immediate gratification of exercise. Our muscles are fatigued, are hearts are pumping and the sweat dripping down our face is telling us we've done something good.
Watching what we eat doesn't share the same type of immediate gratification. When we deny ourselves the foods that our bodies crave, we're cranky and irritable. We're less likely to stick with a healthy nutrition plan because we tend to feel better when we eat foods that aren't the best for us. That said, for most people (in and out of the office), healthy eating is the lynchpin to a healthy body. Start slow. Rather than overhauling your diet in one fell swoop, start making week-by-week adjustments.
What are the three weaknesses in your diet today?
Start by strengthening one. If you know you shouldn't drink soda, start by cutting it out. You may have more to work on, but focus on this one. If soda is not your problem, the look to where you could use some work. Maybe it's eating too big of portion sizes, needing to have dessert, or the inability to get anything other than a specialty coffee at your favorite coffee shop.
After one week of curbing your craving of one weakness, start strengthening another weakness while maintaining the first. After you've mastered weakness number two, move onto number three. Maintain these three for six weeks. You'll be happy you did!
We've all got weaknesses, comfort foods, dietary distractions. What are yours?
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