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Staying Healthy at Work

January 27, 2011

I’ve been thinking about writing a post about eating well, staying fit and general health at work for a while. It seems very appropriate to write about it today as I’ve spent all day faced with a whole plethora of temptation food-wise: massive cakes from CostCo; biscuits; chocolates, warm bread and cheese etc etc. Several people were leaving my company today and they all celebrated by trying to feed the rest of us up!


I started my current job in September 2009, a year after I started my weight-loss journey and I had already lost over 3 stone. It was the first proper 9-5(ish) desk job that I’d done in a while, previously I had worked in a call centre for a few months and worked for a supermarket retailer in one of their stores for two and a half years. A job with regular hours definitely has its upsides – I can schedule regular exercise easily, my meal times are regular and I’ve more time to go shopping and cook healthy food. It also has its challenges, today being an example of one of them! So I thought I’d talk about what works for me and what I’d like to improve on in terms of keeping fit and healthy at work.


1) I always take my own lunch and snacks (and keep some spare for emergencies)

This way I can guarantee that I always have something that I like and I’m not tempted by the canteen food (our canteen does amazing pizzas – I salivate every time I see someone with one). I eat a filling mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to keep my blood sugar levels steady and my energy levels up. I can’t stand being hungry at my desk as I lose concentration and just want to go to sleep. It also helps me to avoid the ubiquitous Quality Street tin. I keep extra snacks in my drawer just in case hunger hits or I want something to eat while everyone else is chowing down on cake and biscuits.


2) Take regular breaks and get away from my desk at lunchtime

This definitely comes under the category of something I want to improve on. Sitting at a desk all day is really bad for the circulation and staring at a screen non-stop does nothing for the eyes. I suffer with poor circulation, so I’m really trying the make an effort on this one. I do small exercises at my desk every half an hour (discreet foot circles and bum clenching as well as stretching my arms) and I aim to get up from my desk for a few minutes every hour. This means my colleagues are getting a lot more cups of tea made for them! I’m also aiming to leave my desk for at least 15 minutes at lunchtime. Today I went to the market to buy some parsnips (more on that tomorrow).


3) Improve my posture

I’ve got in the habit of crossing my legs, so much so that I find not crossing my legs really uncomfortable. I know I could be storing up problems for my back in the future, so I’m trying to nip it in the bud now. I’m sitting straight (with a natural curve in my spine – pilates style) with my feet flat on the floor and my knees at right angles. I’m having to be very strict with myself on this one – it’s such a hard habit to break!


On to food. Today I finished the last of my grain of the week – Buckwheat. It’s the first time I’ve tried it and the verdict is … blah. It’s OK, but definitely not as nice as quinoa, pearl barley or brown rice in my opinion. I tried to jazz it up today with some chopped red pepper, mushrooms and cucumber and served it with chickpeas and hummus – it was still so-so.


Mid-afternoon I had a tiny banana with some brazil nuts.



I was trying to demonstrate the tininess in this photo – it was just a bit bigger than my (fairly small) hand.


I made the most delicious recipe ever for dinner this evening – African aduki bean and sweet potato stew. Alison pointed me towards the recipe when I mentioned in an earlier post that I’d bought I tin of Aduki beans that I wanted to find something to do with. This recipe made two large portions:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • half red pepper
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 tin aduki beans
  • 1 tin chopped tomato
  • 2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter
  • pinch each of ginger, chilli powder and black pepper.

1) Chop the onion and fry in a little oil until translucent;

2) Add into the pan all the other ingredients (except the peanut butter);

3) Simmer for 30 minutes;

4) Spoon out a cup of the cooked liquid and mix into it the peanut butter. Add the mixture back into the pan and stir. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

I actually made this a couple of hours in advance and reheated it when I got home from circuits. I think the taste and texture was better when it was reheated. I can’t describe how yummy it was – creamy, tasty and filling.

The original recipe suggests a larger quantity of peanut butter and serving with some whole peanuts. I’m not a huge fan of peanuts, but I think the amount I used was perfect to get the flavour and consistency I liked.

I served with some lightly boiled (I really must get a steamer at some point) broccoli:



I can’t wait to have the portion I put in the freezer some time soon. Huge win!!

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 28, 2011 6:43 pm

    Those are great tips! As I read #3 I realized I was TOTALLY slumped over in my chair! haha, now I’m sitting up nice and straight 🙂

    I always try to keep an apple or a cliff bar in my desk for emergencies!

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