10 Ways to Lose Weight While Working a Full-Time Job
We’ve all heard of the ‘Freshman 15’, which is the dreaded college weight gain that has us constantly saying we need to lose weight. But, have you heard of the ‘Secretary Butt’? They are similar concepts only the Secretary Butt happens to us full-timers who have a career where we sit on our butt. All. Day. Long.
When I started my full-time desk job I quickly went from an active lifestyle to an almost entirely sedentary lifestyle. After all, I do have my own office and student workers to run the majority of my errands.
About a year into the job I noticed that my pants were fitting more snug. A few people even mentioned that I had gained weight. Within that first year, I gained a solid 15 pounds.
I knew the weight gain was due to my new lifestyle and lack of healthy daily habits. Since I’m not a gym rat and I already felt stretched thin with working full-time and investing in my extracurricular activities (which takes up all my spare time), I needed to find a way to combat the Secretary Butt and lose weight.
So what exactly is the Secretary Butt?
The Secretary Butt, which doesn’t exclusively apply to secretaries, happens when a person spends the majority of their day sitting. This differs from the Freshman 15 because in college we walk to class and move around daily. That’s not always the case with our full-time desk jobs.
Think about it. How often do you walk around at work? We get in at 8:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm. We’ve maybe only gotten up a few times to use the restroom, take lunch, and go to a meeting (where we sit). That’s a lot of time just sitting down.
All that sitting causes our body to slow down and retain weight. Our butts begin to take the odd shape of our chair and our stomach forms rolls. Unless we dedicate time after work to exercise, which is something I’ve always struggled with, the weight gain could become inevitable.
The good news is that we don’t have to conform to the Secretary Butt! Just because our jobs require us to sit for the entire day doesn’t mean it’s too late to fight off the pounds and lose weight. All it takes is some good habits to combat the typical office lifestyle.
Here are the 10 ways I personally fight against the Secretary Butt.
1. Bathroom Workouts
Why workout in the bathroom? Won’t people see me? Won’t people laugh and judge me?
The answer is maybe. But, who cares! We all know that the best way to lose weight is to exercise. When I decided that I wanted to lose the 15 pounds that I gained, I knew I’d only let myself down if I tried to commit to a daily workout.
That’s when I thought of the idea of having mini bathroom workouts. Since the bathroom is the only time that you are guaranteed to get up, it’s the perfect time to get your body moving.
These are so easy, most can be done inside the stall away from judgemental eyes. I’ve tried many different exercises during my trips to the bathroom and these are the ones that I had the most success with:
This one saved my butt. Literally! If you only pick one bathroom exercise, pick this one. Squats help reshape the butt (which could be flattened from sitting so much) and it works out your thigh and leg muscles. I started doing 5 squats every time I went to the bathroom. After a few weeks when the squats got easier, I changed it to 7.
This is a simple exercise that anyone can do, even in heels (but still be careful). Just stand up straight and bring one leg up to a 90-degree angle, then switch. No need to jump or move at a fast pace. Remember, the whole point of this is to get your body moving. I do 5 knee-ups on each leg, so 10 in total.
These may be the only workouts that can’t be done inside a bathroom stall. But, if you can do them, your body will thank you! I committed to doing 15 jumping jacks every time I used that bathroom. That’s it. Only 15. It takes 15 seconds and it gets the body moving.
These three exercises are plenty to do in a single trip to the bathroom. They are low impact and still show results. If you often wear heels or a dress to work, find a way to modify these exercises or pick new ones. There are plenty of easy and quick exercises to choose from, these three just happen to be my favorite.
If you stick to these daily bathroom workouts everytime you use the restroom, your body will feel more energized and there’s a serious possibility that you will lose weight just like I did.
2. Drink Water
I know. I know. Drinking water is all the rage these days. Water seems to be the magic ‘cure all’ solution to everything. We know that water is good for us, but how can it help us lose weight?
Water helps the body to feel full. Instead of snacking on chips or candy during the day, drink some water first and maybe the cravings will go away. Water also aids in digestion.
A poor digestive system leads to constipation and bloating which both aid in weight gain. If you keep a refillable bottle of water at your desk, not only are you reminded to drink water but your insides will flow better.
If you are drinking plenty of water each day, that means more trips to the bathroom, which means more bathroom workouts! It really is a win-win.
3. Morning Stretch
If you’re anything like me, you aren’t a morning person. I have a bad habit of rolling out of bed and rushing to get ready in 15 minutes. It really is a terrible way to start the day when there isn’t enough time for a good morning routine.
One thing I love doing is a morning stretch. I’m not talking about yoga or anything elaborate. I’m talking about simple junior high p.e. type stretching. This takes me about 10 minutes each morning and it instantly wakes my body up.
To make sure I don’t forget to stretch, I lay my yoga mat out in the middle of the floor the night before. I also prepare something to listen to during those 15 minutes. Sometimes its music, Netflix, or a morning devotional.
Lately, I find it exciting to listen to a few chapters of the bible. I have enjoyed stretching so much, I decided to make this a habit.
4. Meal Prep
For me, meal prep is my only guarantee that I won’t eat out every meal. Yes, meal prep takes time. No, I don’t enjoy cooking. What I do enjoy is saving money and (trying) to eat healthy. The only way I can do this is if I meal prep on Sunday’s for the entire work week.
For breakfast, I typically do a green smoothie (often made the night before work). My smoothies consist of either spinach or kale, strawberries, banana, mango, and chia seeds.
For lunch, I don’t get very creative. I either go with baked salmon and broccoli, pasta and broccoli, or chicken and broccoli. If I’m feeling fancy, I throw in carrots or cauliflower. The point is, find what you enjoy eating (something preferably on the healthy side) and meal prep that.
Don’t think you have to stick to the same basic foods that I cook. Remember, I don’t enjoy cooking! Find yourself different recipes and get creative with it, especially if you’re a foodie. It also helps if you eat healthy foods that will aid in weight loss.
Recommended: The Keto Diet is also a great option when considering meal prep. Check out Keto Diet Fundamentals for more information (This article was originally published by HVMN).
5. Healthy Snacks
My biggest downfall at my desk is snacking. I love chips and anything salty. When I was in college, I use to buy the party pack of chips and eat them all by myself. Well, I can’t do that anymore. One day my body decided that chips would make me gain weight.
During my first year working at my desk job, I indulged in chips and candy daily. Cutting out my unhealthy snacks was one of the hardest steps for me. I felt so hungry in between breakfast and lunch.
I knew I had to fight back against my cravings so I went to the natural food market and bought a bunch of healthy snacks. My favorite snacks include nuts, pistachios, kale chips, butter-free popcorn, and fruit. Another easy option for a snack break is tea. Tea is amazing for stress relief and health. For more on how tea can help with your wellness, check out: Tea’s Amino Acid for Overall Wellness
I even dedicated a specific drawer in my desk to be the snack drawer. Now when I get hungry, I reach for my healthy snacks, drink some water, and I’m good to go. Cutting out the unhealthy snacks has really helped me to lose weight.
6. Fitbit steps challenge
Out of all the 10 options, I’m sharing with you this is by far my favorite way to lose weight because it’s when I started seeing the most results.
If you’re unfamiliar with Fitbit, it’s a little watch-type device that tracks your steps. If you know other people with a Fitbit, you can enter a challenge where whoever has the most steps at the end of the week wins. It’s a great motivator and reminder to get up and walk around.
Before I had a Fitbit, I thought it’d be a waste for me to get one because I sit all day. I ended up getting one for my birthday so I had no choice but to wear it.
Well, the competitor in me decided I didn’t want to lose my weekly challenge so I started making more excuses to get up and walk. I’d get up to shred paper, deliver documents to other departments, and walk to a farther water fountain.
Not only was I making my 7,500 steps, the Fitbit encouraged me on my journey to move around more. I feel confident saying that Fitbit helped me lose weight more than anything else I’ve committed to.
7. Move around every hour
Sometimes at work, the day flies by. We get so busy and involved with projects that we stand up maybe once or twice during the workday. Not only is it bad for our bodies to sit for that long, it confines us to our office or cubical, which can get depressing.
Set an alarm for every 50 minutes to stretch or walk around. If you work in front of the computer for the majority of your day, you’ll want to do this to give your eyes a rest.
By simply moving every hour, you’re keeping your muscles moving and taking a mental break from the pains of the workday. The extra exercise will also help you lose weight and it gets you more steps on your Fitbit.
8. Park far
This is an easy one that can be done anywhere you drive. All you have to do is park in a spot furthest away from the entrance. This forces you to walk a few extra feet every day and is an easy way to get your blood moving.
Honestly, it’s that simple. Just park far and walk. It won’t kill you and it’s a great way to lose weight!
9. Walk on purpose
At my job, I send a lot of documents to various departments. We can either do it through campus mail or take it ourselves. I choose to walk it myself. This gets me out of the office, adds steps to my Fitbit, and I get to take a breath of fresh air when I go outside.
While there are papers and deliveries I can have another person or a student worker do, I almost always volunteer myself to do it.
By walking on purpose, I get my body moving but I also have something to look forward to. Sometimes it’s just nice to get out of the office.
10. Walk during lunch
I’ll admit that I don’t always do this. But, back when I was determined to get healthier, I was walking the full 30 minutes of my lunch break. I would leave sneakers and a change of clothes at my desk and I would walk around the building. During the summer when it was too hot I would maybe pick only 2 or 3 days to do this.
This walk was not only good for me physically, but mentally. For those 30 minutes, I was out of my office and I didn’t have work on my mind. Walks during lunch provide the perfect refresher for the second half of the day and if you have a Fitbit, it’s a boost on your step goal.
Additionally, while you walk you can do something productive during your lunch break to really utilize your time.
Alright! Those are the 10 things that helped me when I decided to lose weight and fight back against the Secretary Butt. Have you tried any of these tips? Do they work for you? Let me know below!
Good luck on your healthy journey