10 DIET SECRETS for Office Workers

Gaining weight when you are at a desk for endless hours is easy, losing it is not. Sitting at your desk, shifting a computer mouse around burns calories, however they won’t compensate for the number we consume in a day.

Sad but true. Studies reveal that desk-bound jobs are amongst the worst when it comes to packing on the pounds no matter how dedicated we may be to lowering the calorie content of our meals and snacks.

Also, if you have long working hours late into the evening, or if you are on business travel, and end up eating late dinner; or if you go for beer drinking sessions with colleagues/friends, late night supper, and much more not have sufficient time to exercise, you are definitely going to be packing on the pounds.

In the majority of women they will be putting on fats around the hip, butt and thighs (a.k.a. saddle bags, thunder thighs or bubble butts), and the fat on men is at the lower abdomen (a.k.a. love handles).

If you’re not going to have enough time to exercise frequently, it is important to watch your diet if you don’t want to be packing on weight towards obesity.

What is important is the nutritional content of the meals and snacks rather than just the number of calories. To keep your metabolism firing while you are sedentary depends on a diet that keeps it nourished and that means eating more fats than you are probably used to consuming and a whole lot less starchy carbohydrates than you might imagine.

We have put together a list of 10 DIET SECRETS for Office Workers below on tips for losing the weight, and burning fat just by dieting, specially for desk-bound white collar office workers.

chicken-riceOffice workers should limit starches like bread, pasta, rice and other grains. Instead, eat carbohydrates from vegetables and limit starches to one or two a day. (Photo: Hungrygowhere)

#1 – Limit Starch

Carbohydrates should always feature in a healthy meal or snack but the starchy ones (bread, pasta, rice and other grains) need to be carefully monitored as they can all too quickly upset blood glucose levels, prompting weight gain when we are sedentary for many hours. Get the bulk of your carbohydrates from vegetables and limit your starches to one or two meals or snacks per day.

E.g. Eat Chicken Rice, with less rice. Or your favorite char kway teow, simply eat only half that portion.

The idea is to cut down on carbohydrates. Don’t eat more carbs than you can burn.

#2 – Focus on Fats

Fat provides the largest energy reserve in the body and because it is slowly digested in the stomach, extends the amount of time that energy can be utilised.

Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (oily fish – Salmon/Tuna, seeds and a few nuts) have been repeatedly shown, through extensive study to increase endurance and encourage stored fat to be burned for energy.

You may also wish to consider a supplement to meet daily requirements of these fabulous fats.

#3 – Avoid Sugar Cravings

It’s all too easy to reach for a sugary snack when you are at the desk and need a little something to keep you focused and energised for a while but the resulting surge of sugar in the bloodstream merely encourages a greater need for more all too soon.


Kopi-O and Teh-O. (Photo: everydayfoodilove)

#4 – Bin the Fizz

Treat colas and other fizzy fruity drinks as the enemy no matter how low or zero cal or energy-enhancing the manufacturers tell you they are! They are sugar, plain and simple or some chemical variation of sugar which the body treats in the same way and benefits little from. That includes ‘bubble tea’ too, which actually packs a lot of calories from the milk and sugar.

Drinks rich in caffeine (e.g. Coke, Pepsi) may help to keep you focused during a shift but a natural fruit and vegetable smoothie offers a great deal more nourishment without the sugar and the waistline-expanding properties.


The caffeine from these drinks – Kopi-O kosong (Black coffee without sugar) and Teh-O kosong (Black tea without sugar) make perfect drinks for weight loss. Caffeine increases metabolism, and promotes weight loss. (Photo: Khabrain Manchester)

#5 – Consider MORE meals

You’ve probably heard the advice that eating small meals throughout the day is how you win the battle of the bulge. Frequent snacking, as long as it’s healthy, keeps your metabolism humming, staves off hunger, and controls blood sugar.

If you’re going to go the mini-meals route, your biggest danger is eating too much. Focus on keeping them small – Quality, calories, and portion sizes ultimately make the difference.

#6 – Consider LESS meals

Many females find the habit of having two really good meals a day and leaving around five hours between each works well for waistline management.

A filling breakfast and proper lunch rich in protein and good fats provides plenty of energy to get you through the day. Unless you have a physically-demanding evening ahead, a light meal or snack in the evening won’t see you heading to bed feeling overly stuffed and uncomfortable.


The above is what you would call a healthy meal – Salmon (Omega 3 – healthy fats + Protein), and lots of greens. (Photo: lifehack)

#7 – Pack your own lunch

Sticking to your diet at work can be difficult, especially in Singapore. Convenient hawker centres, coffee shops situated nearby your office, easy for you to just indulge in a plate of comfort food like laksa, hokkien mee, roti prata, etc.

Unfortunately, hawker food can also be unhealthy food. High in calories and sodium, these 18 hawker foods can be the hurdle between you and your weight-loss-get-fit plan.

On average, a woman should be consuming approximately 1,200 kcal of food, and a man, 1,800 kcal of food to either maintain or lose weight. (This value is dependent on the body weight of the individual).

The solution will actually require some discipline. At the start of each week, bring in a five-day supply of cottage cheese, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, deli meats and any other healthy perishable goods you can snack on, and leave them in the office fridge.

A proper healthy lunch will greatly reduces the chance of a mid-afternoon energy dip.


Rye Crackers with seeds make a perfect healthy snack

#8 – Say YES to Snacks!

Stock up your desk drawer with snacks! Make your snacks protein-rich (jerky, a couple of rye crackers with nut butter, a handful of almonds or sunflower seeds) to keep the sugar monster at bay. Alternatively, high-fibre snacks (a piece of fruit, celery, cherry tomatoes, raisins or berries) works well too.

#9 – Consider Supplements

Dietary supplements that helps to blunt cravings: Fish Oil, Chromium, Lipoic Acid

Metabolism boosting supplements: Caffeine, Acai Berries, Green Tea Extract, Vitamin B-12


Snacking late at night. (Photo: AWDnews)

#10 – Try Not to Eat Late

After a long day and particularly if you are travelling and don’t get to your night stop until late, it is mighty tempting to order a burger and fries or a club sandwich from room service or opening the mini fridge heaved with fizzy drinks, salty snacks and milk chocolate goodies, finish off a few emails or watch a bit of TV and then head to bed.

Or even MORE tempting, in Singapore it is all so easy to head down to a nearby 24-hours eatery to have late night supper (PS – there’s even a 24-hours prata buffet restaurant – Don’t do it if you are dieting) and there are also those eateries that open till late 4am (e.g. Upper Thomson road stretch of eateries – Bak chor mee, Soya bean curd, etc.).

If you are trying to lose weight, these kinds of meals won’t help in any way. Better to stop off en route and have dinner earlier or if a late meal is your only option, lose the burger bun and the fries and ask for more salad or coerce the kitchen into making you an omelette.



Featured Image, purchased via 123RF for usage on this webpage only.

The diet plan that works for EVERYONE. DailyMail.co.uk. 8 June 2015.

Diet & Exercise Plans for Office Workers. LiveStrong.com. 14 October 2013.

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