21 easy ways to cut calories during your workday

Did you know it’s possible to lose weight while you work? Here’s how to eat smart and stay active all day

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Graze through the day

Don’t limit your work day menu to just lunch. Take the edge off your appetite by eating healthy snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon. In turn, you’ll eat less at lunch and dinner. Bonus: Snacks balance your blood sugar and keep you sharper and more productive.

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woman work

Change your bathroom commute

If your normal route to the restroom takes you by the office candy dish or cookie plate, go the long way instead. Not only will you burn more calories, you’ll also avoid snacking.

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trail mix

Restock your office

Get rid of all those broken pens, extra pencils, and paper clips in your desk drawer. Instead stock a carton of low-fat (or homemade) granola bars (an excellent snack or portable breakfast), a case of bottled water (keeps you away from the soda machine), and a bag of slow-dissolving hard candy (prevents high-calorie snacking).

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Email less

Make your workplace more personal and burn more calories. Instead of emailing, get off your chair and deliver information in person.

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bicep curl muscles weights

Keep a dumbbell under your desk

Reach for it every time the phone rings and do biceps curls while you chat. Not only will it tone your arms but it’ll build muscle, which is “active” tissue, meaning it chews up calories even when you’re not doing anything. Ankle weights work your legs the same way. Do a few sets of leg extensions under your desk.

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boss walk office work lunch break

Split your lunchtime into two

Truth is, the actual eating part of lunch takes just a few minutes. So why stay seated for the rest of your lunch break? Spend a little time eating and socializing, and then go for a walk each and every day.

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Organize a lunchtime walking club

Chances are, there are other people at work who are trying to lose weight. Send a group email or advertise in the company newsletter and get together for a lunchtime stroll. Walking and talking is a great stress buster.

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Close your eyes for 20 minutes

Being well-rested helps balance the hormones that regulate appetite. Strike a deal with your boss: a short daily nap in exchange for more productivity. If that’s not possible, just close your eyes for a bit. It provides many of the restful advantages of a nap.

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almonds nuts

Carry a tin of nuts

Fill a small tin with 22 almonds, which is 169 calories. Since almonds are nutritious and high in fiber, nibbling them throughout the day will help you feel fuller and eat less. In one study, people who snacked on almonds lost 62 percent more weight than those who didn’t.

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Pack a pizza

Not the fatty leftovers from your child’s birthday party, but this nutritious treat: Stuff a whole-wheat pita with low-fat tomato sauce, part-skim mozzarella, carrot shreds, broccoli pieces, peppers, spinach, mushrooms, and fat-free sausage. Heat in the microwave and enjoy.

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Minimize your meal

If the office is ordering in, always request a half portion. In one study, participants felt just as satisfied after eating a half sandwich as they did after devouring a whole one.

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Minimize your meal

If the office is ordering in, always request a half portion. In one study, participants felt just as satisfied after eating a half sandwich as they did after devouring a whole one.

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Slurp some soup

Bring in lots of nutritious instant or homemade soups. According to researchers, broth-based soups help you feel fuller on fewer calories. Just choose low-sodium brands.

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energy bars

Skip the vending machines

Most vending machines offer high calorie, low nutrient, over-priced snacks.  Visits often have little to do with hunger and everything to do with boredom. Skip the snack run and  bring healthy snacks from home.

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fruit apple

Bring fruit

Every day, on your way out of the house, grab two pieces of fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges, peaches-it doesn’t matter. Develop a habit of eating one midmorning and one midafternoon.

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Grow some rosemary

Many people eat because they’re tired and stressed. If you have a sunny window at work, grow a rosemary plant. When you need a boost, pick a sprig and rub it between your fingers. Studies show the fragrance is energizing.

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stretching fidgeting woman desk work


Let that nervous leg do its thing. Researchers have found that people who drum their fingers or bounce their knees burn at least 500 calories a day, equivalent to losing one pound a week.

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fitness woman workout ball

Trade your chair for a Pilates ball

Sitting on one of these inflatable balls during the day is not only surprisingly comfortable and easier on your back, but it helps hone balance and stabilize your core, which contributes to better posture and the illusion of thinness.

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green tea oral health

Swap coffee for green tea

Although coffee (in moderation) is healthful, green tea is probably more so. A study from the University of Geneva in Switzerland found that in addition to caffeine, green tea contains catechin polyphenols, or plant chemicals that may boost metabolism. Sip two or three cups daily.

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woman flowers spring allergies outdoor

Use flowers to fight fat

Stress triggers appetite. To stay more relaxed at work, keep a bouquet of flowers nearby. Just looking at and sniffing them periodically will make your workload more bearable. Even more of a treat: Have them delivered to yourself. Your friends will be so jealous!

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woman cell phone

Answer on the third ring

Here’s another great way to control stress. Every time the phone rings, take a few deep breaths instead of instantly reaching for it. You won’t believe how much more relaxed you’ll feel at the end of the day.

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workplace friends

Compliment your coworkers

Did Marvin fix the copier? Is Estelle losing weight? Let them know it. Compliment others and the more inclined they’ll be to compliment you. Positive reinforcement is key to defeating stress and reducing the urge to eat due to frustration or tension.

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