Dieting with Obstacles - Office Work is an Obstacle in my book

05-03-2009, 08:01 PM
I know this part of the forum deals with more serious health issues that hinder weight loss. But, after 18 months of being an office worker, and not being able to lose an significant amount of weight, I think this is a different kind of obstacle.

I've read on different websites about office work and weight loss. And, most of the tricks they offer are things I'm already doing. I don't eat out. I bring my own food. And instead of eating one big meal at lunch time, I keep my food in my desk drawer and "graze" throughout the day. This is what I eat in a typical work day. I eat cereal before I leave the house. It keeps me full usually till 10:00 or so. (I start work at 7:30) Around 10, I have an apple. Then around noon I have cheese crackers. (I count out 54 of them, 250 calories worth.) Around 1:30 or I have carrots and celery sticks. Sometimes I get cherry tomatoes, but that's more a once in a while treat then anything. Then, around 3:30 or so I have an orange. I get home at 5 and usually not too long after that I eat dinner. What I eat varies. I am fond of big salads with grilled chicken and baby oranges. I'm not talking about the mandarin chicken salads you get at fast food joints. I make the salad myself. I also like veggie burgers. Tater tot casserole is also something I like to make. Alfredo wheat pasta is another thing. These are the foods I probably cook the most for dinner. But that doesn't mean I limit myself to those. I usually cook a big batch of something on Sunday afternoon and eat it for dinner all week long. I stick to small portions. I do a little snacking through the evening... But not much. The food I snack on most when I'm at home is Craisins. I also like dried apricots and sometimes I buy rice cakes. If I'm feeling particularly hungry I spread a little peanut butter on a rice cake.

The office I work in does not have donuts every day. We have Bagel Friday once a month where they bring bagels, donuts, muffins in. But we are limited to one thing per employee. On bagel Fridays I have a bagel. But I always use the low fat cream cheese. We also don't have cake every time it's some one's birthday like a lot of offices do.

My job is very tedious. (I draw maps, requires a huge amount of attention to detail and concentration.) So, those office exercises people recommend online don't work for me. How am I supposed to swivel my chair for ten minutes while drawing on my computer screen? It just doesn't work. I'm not on the phone. People say use a headset when you talk on the phone so you can keep your body moving. That doesn't apply to me. I would sit on an exercise ball, if my boss allowed it (she doesn't, she says it looks unprofessional.)

We have a workout room... with one treadmill in it and nothing else. I used to use the treadmill on my breaks. But now there's another employee that uses it and she always gets there first. I don't know this woman at all. SO I don't really feel comfortable trying to talk to her about working out some arrangement where we can both use the treadmill. But... even when I did use it every break, I didn't lose any weight.

I bought a calorie counting device that I can wear and it will supposedly tally the calories I've burned throughout the day. But I was disappointed when I read the instructions and saw that for it to keep count I have to update my heart rate every 30 minutes. In other words I have to tell it how many times my heart is beating a minute. And there is no way to enter your weight into the thing. So it doesn't even give an accurate count.

I do plan on getting a pedometer soon.

I used to come home and run every night for a half hour. Lost nothing... I used to come home and crank some music and dance for an hour... lost nothing.

I have at least maintained my weight. So that's better than gaining I suppose. But I'm not happy with my body and really want to change it. I used to have a very physical factory job. Even though the job was exhausting, I've never looked better. Now I sit at my desk all day and have no metabolism.

If this is relevant... I also work underground in a windowless room. So I get no sunlight throughout the day. I've been told that alone can play **** on a person's metabolism.

So, I guess what I'm asking for here, are success stories. Has anyone else been in the same boat. If so, how did you overcome it? What kinds of exercise did you do? What kinds of food did you eat. I'm desperate here.

05-04-2009, 11:05 PM
I have a few suggestions ~ forget the treadmill and just WALK: you can do on the spot walking (like in the WOTP dvds with Leslie Sansone), or go speed walking up and down halls or outside ... say around the block. Do this on your breaks, short stints for the coffee breaks indoors and a longer one at noon; and after work or dinner in the evening. I see lots of folks doing that here. They plug in the MP3 players and get those arms in motion and speed walk around the neighbourhood.

The other thing is your lunch: 250 calories of highly processed crackers could be improved. How about some protein for some of that? You know a salad with tuna or salmon would be nice. Make them ahead with romaine lettuce or coleslaw in containes in the fridge: this will last a week (always use ROMA Italian type tomatoes as they don't go mushy when stored in the fridge). How about eating some of those leftovers for your lunch instead of the dinners, mixing it up a bit. Try cheese, hard-boiled eggs, leftover lean meats in your salads too. Soup is also a good choice for lunch as well.

05-05-2009, 01:54 PM
Your diet looks to be way heavy in carbs. Dried fruit is not as nutritious as fresh fruit, no as filling. You lunch needs major improvement. How about some yogurt and dairy in there? If you don't eat the right kind of foods, it can hinder your weight loss.

05-06-2009, 11:31 PM
Not to sound ungrateful... But I don't know what you guys mean by my "lunch." I don't eat lunch.

The first reply said something about taking the leftovers home from my lunch. There are no leftovers. I take a bag of food to work every day with everything in it I plan oneating, and that's what I eat throughout the day. I rarely have anything left.

I know what I eat for dinner could be better. I love Campbell's Chunky soup. Maybe I'l try eating that for dinner and see how it goes. I know it's no excuse but when I decide what to cook for dinner I also have to take into consideration what my husband likes. He doesn't do healthfood.

I did skip out on the crackers today though. Even though they are low fat they are still really processed.

05-06-2009, 11:57 PM
Weight loss is 90% diet, 10% movement; or your weight loss begins in the kitchen, is another way of saying it.

Others have pointed out, you're eating way too many carbs and not nearly enough protein. You're just not feeding your body what it needs for optimal health and weight loss.

05-07-2009, 08:08 AM
I do take Hemp Protien Powder every day as a suppliment. But it's obviously not enough. I absolutely love salmon. Maybe instead of my crackers I'll try salmon and shopped up egg whites.

I've heard protien shakes and bars are bad because they are so processed and usually contain a lot of sugar.

I've never been a big meat eater. I was even a vedgetarian for a few years when I was a teenager. Maybe that's part of my problem.

05-08-2009, 01:36 PM

I'm new, but thought I would jump in. I work in an office. I have tried the grazing thing, but that just doesn't work for me. I end up grazing on things I have no business eating. I need to feel full when I eat, or I graze on things I shouldn't. I will generally have either cereal/milk for breakfast or a Weight Watchers breakfast. I find that if I have a protein, it keeps me from being hungry til lunch. I follow the same pattern for lunch, making sure to get protein in and not too many carbs. Keeps me from being hungry til dinner. I am also an evening snacker. I follow the Weight Watchers plan and I try to eat enough to keep me satisified during the day while conserving some points in the evening for snack. I know myself, I am going to snack whether I have points or not. I love fresh fruit.

As far as your hubby and his not liking "health food." Fresh fruit, veggies and good lean protein don't necessary have to be viewed as health food. Processed foods like soups and frozen meals contains lots of sodium. I bet if you found some good, easy recipes, you could make a fresh dinner that he would like. Maybe you could encourage him to walk with you in the evenings, that way you wouldn't have to worry about exercising at work. I tried that. I hated feeling sweaty after walking during lunch. So, I do mine in the evenings.

Good luck to you and hang in there. It is a matter of finding what works for you. As I said, I cannot graze, I am a bulk eater. Maybe you are too.


05-08-2009, 01:54 PM
Since you like to cook or so it seems, use a crock pot, you could put a turkey breast roast in the crock pot in low/no-fat chicken broth and cook it all day, add some steamed vegetables and baked potatoe and you've got a good healthy meal that will last 2 - 3 days even if you made a plate for lunch the next day. It's pretty low fat but hubby certainly couldn't call it health food.

Same thing with a pot roast in water, salt and pepper, add some bell peppers, onions, potatoes and carrots and your meal is done, again, fairly low cal as long as you don't eat half the roast at one sitting. It'll last for several meals.

You can also turn it into soup if you still have 4 - 5 ozs meat left after a couple days throw it back in the crock pot with alot more vegetables, add tomatoes a little whole wheat pasta and you've got beef stew/soup.

I'm also doing WW and it's helped to find a lot of better choices that most people don't even know are low fat and healthy because they still taste good but I've cut out a lot of the fat and salt. My husband has only complained about a single thing I made since January and he's fairly picky. He's lost 20 lbs since January just because I've changed the way I cook and got rid of all the junk in the house.

As for the exercise, do you have a Wii? They have several decent games that make it fun but you're still getting a decent workout and it gives a little variety in your workout choices. I also walk the hall on my breaks at work, just back and forth the steps do add up. Park as far away from the door to the office as possible, take the stairs if you have em instead of the elevator. Bring a resistance band to work with you and use it in the exercise room. Maybe the lady on the treadmill would start a conversation that would lead to some sort of compromise on it's use or even a workout buddy for after work hours.

Good luck to you and don't give up. You just have to find what works for you.

05-08-2009, 03:05 PM
I think your environment isn't helpful. But at the end of the day, it comes down to calories in vs calories out. Period. And although you believe that you are eating really, really well, you aren't happy with your weight as it is and that weight is a reflection of what you are inputting and what you are outputting calorie-wise.
IMHO, you really, really need to honestly and accurately assess what you are eating and go from there. I know you feel you are doing this, but if you aren't happy with the number on the scale, I really don't think a dark work environment is to blame.

05-08-2009, 04:16 PM
What they all said: add some protein, clean up your food in general, and move when you can! :)

05-08-2009, 11:37 PM
I agree with the previous responses about adding more protein and it doesn't have to be in the form of could add in more peas, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds and grains. All of those are great protein sources! Also, are you getting enough fiber? And I didn't see you mention anything about water. I always find that I don't lose a pound during the weeks that I am slack on my water consumption.

05-09-2009, 10:18 AM
I really don't think a dark work environment is to blame.

Ok, in MY humble opinion this comment was rude.

I'm not blaming my dark work environment. There is one sentance about that in my post. And I said I don't know if that's even relevent. I've just been told that can lower a person's metabolism. I don't even know if it's true.

05-09-2009, 10:23 AM
I agree with the previous responses about adding more protein and it doesn't have to be in the form of could add in more peas, beans and lentils, nuts, seeds and grains. All of those are great protein sources! Also, are you getting enough fiber? And I didn't see you mention anything about water. I always find that I don't lose a pound during the weeks that I am slack on my water consumption.

Oh I drink a lot of water. I did forget to mention that.

I looked up high protien vedgetables.

I don't know if I'm getting enough fiber. The crackers I was eating were high in fiber. But I cut them out. THe hemp powder is a good source of fiber but I'm not sure if it's really enough.

05-09-2009, 10:45 AM
Hey Priestess - I work in an office too, though I'm not exactly in the same situation. I would never do any "office exercises" at my desk simply because I have way too much going on to even think about it. My job is full of multi-tasking and being interrupted by my team members is very common. Can you imagine I'm doing one of these exercises and I tell a colleague or a supplier "oh, sorry, can't help you right now I'm doing my chair ab exercises"? :lol: nah, ain't gonna happen.

I understand you don't really eat lunch per se, but do you get a lunch break? like 30 minutes or so? i have 30 minutes and I bring a salad pretty much every day - spinach, roma tomatoes, some sort of grain (usually brown rice) and some sort of protein (chicken, shrimp, HB egg whites, etc) and I prepare it the night before with 1 tsp olive oil and some balsamic vinegar and I split it out in containers so things don't get soggy. Do you have a fridge area where you could do something like this?

I never used to take my lunch half hour, but I do now. Every day. Not taking it really wasn't helping me. I didn't take it because I used to smoke and I felt like as a smoker I should watch my breaks carefully. I quit smoking on Christmas Day and now I take my lunch break because otherwise I won't get away from my desk.

I also graze - I eat my breakfast of fruit and all bran on my train journey, have a sandwich or a latte and an apple around 10.30, lunch at 12, some Ryvita crackers and cottage cheese with hot sauce around 3, cherry tomatoes, carrots or some roast beef before or during my train journey home and then dinner (protein,veg, grain).

If you don't want to eat meat, what about making or buying some black beans, adding a little salsa and spreading that on some high-fibre crackers like Wasa or Ryvita? Do you like yoghurt? You could eat that as one of your snacks with some fruit. If there is meat you will eat, think about maybe preparing a bunch ahead of time (I do this with chicken; always make extra so I can use it in my spinach salad for lunch).

And do keep track really well of what you are eating and when you do get a chance to move. You would be surprised. Just a month ago I was so pissed off that nothing was happening but come to realise that I *really* wasn't working the whole program the way I could have. So now I track EVERYTHING - I'm on Weight Watchers so I track points, what I earned with exercise, weight every morning, hunger scale, how I felt that day, if I had enough water, TOM, etc. Everything. And when I see that, yeah, I did well in the food department, but I had too much wine in the weekend, it's not really surprising when my weight didn't really change at the weigh in at WW. I think that's more what Kira meant.... that most of it is really down to the person. I don't think she meant to be offensive anyway and while I don't know about the dark room and our metabolism thing, I can't imagine that it helps our metabolism, so you may be on to something there. Sunlight is very important, as is fresh air, and I'm actually guilty for avoiding both of those things often (my husband calls me a bat or a vampire regularly, but I just *like* being indoors!!!).

Your colleague that uses the treadmill - I know you don't know her well enough, but really, would it hurt to ask her - I know I would feel awkward too, but the worst she can say is no, right? Just because it didn't work before, doesn't mean it won't work now, especially if you've changed a few things up in your food plan. :)

I do sympathise with you, but we all have to find a way to beat these obstacles that we do have a bit of control over, right?

05-09-2009, 08:32 PM
Ms PrincessCynder:
I'm so sorry I offended you with my comment. The only reason I said what I did, and added the abbreviation for "JUST my humble opinion" was because you said:

If this is relevant... I also work underground in a windowless room. So I get no sunlight throughout the day. I've been told that alone can play **** on a person's metabolism.

in your post. I was trying to respond to that by saying that I don't think that a dark work environment has much of a role on someone's metabolism. I was trying to answer your query, that's all. Excess weight has to do with calories in/calories out... just my humble opinion...


05-09-2009, 09:13 PM
I'm wondering if you just aren't eating enough. There is nothing wrong with grazing throughout the day, but what you are eating doesn't seem like enough calories given your current weight. Have you tallied up what a usual day looks like calorie wise?

By my estimation, you are only eating around 700 calories before dinner (although I'm not sure about your serving sizes--so this could be wrong.) I'm not sure how much you are getting in your dinners, but since you say you eat small portions, I'd say not enough.

The thing is, that to keep your metabolism up and running, you need to eat. You just want to make sure you have a calorie deficit so you lose, but you still need to eat a decent amount. If your body thinks there is a famine, it's going to hold onto to everything it can.

I was close to your current weight when I started and I was eating 1700-1800 calories and lost approx. 2lb a week. I never tried to go below 1500 calories per day.

Maybe you should look into calorie counting and eating more? I do agree that more protein and more fiber are in order, but I really think more calories may be needed too.

As far as working in a windowless environment, maybe you could talk to your boss about having full spectrum light bulbs used in the office? I'm sure if you did some research you'll find studies that show these types of lights help productivity too. That'd be a good way to bring it up at work.

Exercise is important for health and weight loss. I think getting it in anywhere you can is a good thing. Maybe before or after work? Regardless, of whether it helps you lose or not, it'll make you feel good and will make you healthier.

05-10-2009, 11:25 PM
^ Yea, it was around 750 before I stopped eating crackers. Now it's around 500. That's before dinner. Usually what I have for dinner is around 500 calories also (Give or take, depending on what I cook.) Then what little snacking I do when I'm at home at night is around 200. So, all in all I'm eating around 1200 a day.

05-10-2009, 11:26 PM
Ms PrincessCynder:

It's Priestess, btw. :)