Changing a lifetime habit can seem difficult, but let me assure you, it is possible! Changing your lunchtime habits is an easy way to help you restore balance in your life and bring your life back into your own hands.
While we all know life is all about balance, it's often easier said than done. There's so much we're trying to manage - our work, family, friends, health, social media feeds and our favourite book characters. However, almost a third of our lives are spent at work. Scary, huh? How can we possibly create a happy work-life balance when so much time is spent at work?
Between trying to keep our bosses happy and our families smiling, it can sometimes feel as though we forget to look after ourselves. Whether that means skipping lunch or spending all day attached to a computer screen, the long-term effects are often more damaging than we realize.
It’s time for a change. I’ve compiled a list of easy ways to change up your eating habits so you can bring happiness and health back into your balanced life!
Sitting is Worse for You Than You Think
Almost 86% of America’s workforce sit whilst working. That’s a worrying figure, as a number of studies have shown that sitting too often can cause a whole load of diseases like musculoskeletal diseases and heart conditions.
While we’ve heard that kissing burns calories, sitting is an activity (or rather, inactivity), that does not. You actually burn more calories chewing gum than you do by sitting down! After sitting down all day working and then sitting down while eating, we’re not expending a lot of the calories we’re consuming, which can result in unnecessary and easily avoidable weight gain.
When it comes to lunchtime at work, we usually have a measly half an hour to sit and eat and so, spend most of that time just doing that. During that time, we may eat enough for three meals because we're so hungry by the time we eat or, in hopes that we'll keep our hunger at bay till dinner time. The only problem with this approach is that studies have shown that actually eating several smaller meals throughout the day is a better way to consume fewer calories.
Having a big lunch can leave you feeling a little drowsy. Eating a meal that’s full of sugars, fats, or unrefined carbohydrates causes the body to produce high levels of serotonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy. When this hormone is combined with a warm office, your poor eyelids don’t stand a chance.
Staring at a computer screen all day is bad for you in more ways than one. Continual exposure to electric lighting, such as a laptop screen, has been proven to interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm. This is the part of the body that regulates your sleeping schedule, energy levels, and appetite.
If you are choosing to eat out, you should be careful of where you choose to eat! We all go out for an unhealthy lunch every now and then, but indulging too often can lead to the early onset of heart disease. Fast foods, such as a fried chicken and french fries, contain lots of oxidized fats that can cause the arteries to become blocked.
What Can I do to Change Things?
1. Think twice before skipping breakfast
Skipping breakfast is one the most common causes of overeating throughout the day. It can also make it more difficult to focus and lead to sugar cravings, which is never good news!
2. Keep Healthy Snacks in Your Drawer
Sweet temptations are everywhere you look in an office setting. I recommend bringing in some healthy snacks to fend off hunger cravings.
Stack your drawer with items such as:
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds and pumpkin seeds
- Kale chips
- Home-made bliss balls
- Cut-up veggies
3. Leave Your Workspace During Your Lunch Break
Don’t let the weather put you off; spending just a few minutes outdoors can help to lower your blood pressure.
In fact, the relaxing qualities of nature are so powerful that even looking at a picture of the countryside can help to reverse the effects of mental fatigue.
4. Buy a Refillable Water Bottle and Keep it at Your Desk
Staying hydrated is crucial if you’re trying to maintain a healthy body and mind. Keep a reusable glass bottle, and keep sipping throughout the day to stay hydrated.
5. Search for Healthy Restaurants/Cafes Close to Your Workplace
Finding the time — and energy — to prepare a nutritious meal for your lunch break can be easy. In situations where you do turn up to work empty-handed, it’s always useful to have a pre-prepared list of some of the best local eateries at hand. This way, you’re less likely to end up in a fast food joint, and more likely to eat something that helps to fuel your body.
6. Cook Enough for Leftovers
Finally, one easy way around having to prepare your lunch every evening is to cook more food for your dinner. Any leftovers can then make their way into your lunchbox for the next day.
What do you do to change your workday lunchtime habits? Let me know in the comments section below.