I’ve been working in an office job for the guts of 16 years now. For many of those years I barely ate at all. When I think back now I wonder how I survived. There were literally times when I’d wake late, miss breakfast so I could make the train and then have to work through lunch for one reason or another. It would only be at about 19:30 on my way home that I’d realise I hadn’t eaten all day! This wasn’t a one off, this happened all the time. And then there were some days that I wouldn’t be going straight home, I’d be meeting up with my band to practice. Meeting up usually started in the pub, so I’d get straight into 2 beers to kill the hunger and go into practice. On those days we’d finish up at about 22:30 at which time I’d grab a slice of pizza for dinner and then get the 23:00 bus home. Home being an hour and a half on the bus, I’d get in, have a bowl of cereal and go to bed.
As you can probably imagine, I was built like an angry skeleton and was starting to get a very attractive beer belly. Not a particularly good look. About two years ago I decided it was time to take my body for a real test drive and see what I could do with it. The band days were long behind me, but my work life had gone from pretty busy to nonstop. I had been really living to work instead of working to live. I did a huge amount of reading on how to exercise. I didn’t want to just follow the “one size fits all” plans that gyms pump out to new members. One of the things I found out while researching exercise was something so obvious I can’t understand why I hadn’t thought of it before. The workouts... the blood, sweat and tears in the gym... that was the easy part.
Eating and looking after your nutrition takes up so much more of your day that it is equally important – some might say more important, but whatever way you cut it, don’t expect to see amazing changes without putting the fuel into the fire. So I finally understood that eating was key, now the only problem was finding the time to eat. My mind was made up though – One way or another I was going to turn Skeletor into He-Man. Getting the food in can be a challenge, but as with many things in life, preparation is key. Myself and my wife started to cook our meals in bulk and freeze some of them (as we had seen many online inspirations do).
I also realised that in my office job, as with office jobs all over the world, smokers are allowed smoking breaks, so I decided I would allow myself eating breaks. I say allow myself because even though I have always been conscientious about my job, I more or less imposed a lot of the additional time pressures on myself in the past. I had myself convinced that regardless of my work being done and kept well on top of, I had to stay at my desk doing other tasks (something I think many other people do). So, I now allowed myself eating breaks and continue to do so. I have breakfast at home, I always make sure I am up and have plenty of time to eat. At 11:30 in the office I take a few minutes and heat up my second meal – sometimes I may be too busy to relax with it, so I’ll eat it at my desk as I work. One way or the other I make sure I have it though. Then around 14:00 I have lunch, an easy one to fit in. At around 17:00 I make time for my next meal. Again with this meal I just make myself do it – I’ll eat at my desk if I have to. I’ve even brought meals into meetings once in a while when I had no other choice. I have another meal at home (I’m happily chomping on one now) and then one more before bed.
The key thing to being able to fit in my food is preparation and a little forethought. Make your meals. Give yourself no excuse. I’m certainly not saying this should be a chore though. Make good food you like and enjoy eating it. With meals prepared, make sure to bring them with you. I use a six pack bag (I purchased it right here at Monster!) and I find it very handy for transporting more than just my meals. I’m sure there are alternatives, and I’m sure the determined people will find a way to bring their food with them one way or another. Gym time is great, but don’t forget that it is only a very small portion of your day.
Are you sure everything else you’re doing with your day is working for you and not against you? Eat up people!