The first time I was truly exposed to a nine to five office setting was the summer before my senior year of college.

Each day I observed my co-workers everyday complaining about how tired they were, how much work they had, overall stress and boredom in life.

I wanted to complain about how long I had to sit.

I wanted to ask if it was normal to be feel obligated to go for a walk during my hour lunch break.

Otherwise for eight hours of my day I would only take six steps to the bathroom a couple times.

Nobody else even realized how much sitting they were doing except for one woman who had a standing work station.

On top of sitting at work I had a hellish commute that was over ninety minutes after work and a little over an hour in the morning.

commute

In that summer alone I figured out how to combat the sedentary lifestyle with specific steps to make sure I took care of myself and kept moving.

  • Drive to the suburbs at 5 a.m. to avoid traffic and save a long commute. This way I would only have a long car ride in the evening and not both morning and night. I would get to the gym by 5:40 a.m. where I would workout, eat breakfast and shower.
  • eat small snack meals at my desk and walk during my hour lunch break.
  • BRING MY OWN LUNCHES/snacks. This way with *all of the snacks* I wouldn’t have room in my belly (or nutrition plan) to snack on treats that co-workers brought in.
  • Talk about my fitness goals with  my co-workers to stay motivated

After college I took a job with the same company from my internship.

Lucky for me, the company moved and I was able to take the train to work. This was a positive because taking the train involved walking to the station.

I think people underestimate how much having a train commute to work adds movement to your lifestyle. Walking just five to ten minutes to the stop, taking the stairs, and then walking to the office and taking the stairs could burn around 150 extra calories!

The aforementioned steps I took can be applied to anyone’s life, but here are more general tips I give my clients, many of whom have high powered jobs across the country and little time.

Here are three ways you can thrive in a sedentary lifestyle.

1. Make small promises to yourself

Start treating your body like you would a good friend. Make mini-commitments on which you *can’t* bail.

calendar

Examples of weekly goals:

  • drink one extra cup of water daily
  • eliminate one alcoholic beverage
  • get one extra workout in
  • take the stairs daily

It’s good to practice mini-commitments. Once you one little thing  for seven days you prove to yourself you are capable.

After seven full days you may be inspired to make another small change!

Here’s the trick: you can’t be too drastic with the changes.

This is why I urge one new weekly habit at a time.

By instilling one new habit you are able to see if it is feasible and sustainable. Sometimes multiple new habits are in fact feasible but if you try them all at once, with all the variables it will seem nearly impossible.

Pretend you are doing a science experiment; you have one independent variable a week and you do the experiment and see how it goes. Once you figure out how to nail that habit into your lifestyle you can work on a new one!

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

Seriously, stop. This only perpetuates negative feelings about yourself. If you are constantly measuring yourself up against others, it puts you in a constant state of unhappiness with your own self.

comparison

In the same vein, do not let others influence you negatively. Too often I saw co-workers in my first nine to five job eating desserts in the break room just because their friend wanted to eat them.

“If she is doing it, it’s okay for me to do it too.”

It’s not.

You do *you.*

You won’t regret it.

Avoiding the group mentality and the peer pressure environment is tough, but not impossible.

social drinks

 

I have three clients in LA with high powered jobs often combatting the happy hour scene two to three times a week.

Here are some of the solutions we have come up with together:

  • bring a quest bar to avoid appetizers or late night snack stops
  • nurse your first drink until the group is done with their second round
  • wait to order a drink until everyone is on their second round
  • commit to an early morning workout, let the workout be a positive excuse to leave

3. Set a goal and be the example

While co-workers are the biggest influencers in diets and meal timing at work they can also be the *best* cheerleaders.

Everyone has an “Ironman” friend… the friend who runs marathons every month, the friend who does crazy 5 a.m. workouts, the friend who brings the perfect snacks to work… the epitome of health and wellness…

You can be that friend to someone.

You *will* make someone proud.

Even more, seeing others achieve goals is a huge factor in self-efficacy.

Once you see someone else jump off a cliff into a lake, for example, you will do it too– just not first.

cliff jump

I love doing things that scare me; but I always make my brothers jump first!

 

Setting a goal to run a 5k, climb a mountain, or lose 10 pounds is easier to do when you have an entire crowd of people cheering you on.

Sometimes you don’t know what you are capable of until you try.

Don’t let your nine-to-fave bog you down, set mini-goals, make promises to yourself and challenge yourself publicly for accountability.

Feel free to reach out for personal distance coaching.

As always, #daretomove!

G

 

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