5 bad food habits office-goers must change

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I f you, like so many of us, are so caught up with work that you have little time to watch what you eat, it's time to take a breather before your lifestyle takes its toll on your health.

Here are five bad habits which you must avoid to salvage your health.

1. Skipping breakfast

A lot of people leave home with just a cup of tea or coffee and then they wonder why they are always crabby, irritable and low on energy throughout the day.

Skipping this first, most important meal of the day is like starting a car without fuel. Your body is forced to call on its energy reserves and these do not last very long, making you irritable and snappy and lacking in concentration by the middle of the day.

What's more, you will end up eating a lot more servings or calorie-dense foods at lunch, which will cause your sugar levels to go up and then come crashing down, making you feel sluggish and tired.

Solution : A good breakfast does not have to be elaborate; a glass of skimmed milk with 2 handfuls of corn or wheat flakes and a fruit will suffice. For hot breakfast lovers, an egg, two slices of bread and a fruit or a bowl of oatmeal porridge accompanied by a fruit are enough.

2. Drinking too much tea/coffee

Sipping constantly can be a tough habit to break. But too much of either tea or coffee can do two things:

  • It may leave you feeling jittery, irritable, dehydrated, and even interrupt your sleep pattern at night so you do not get deep sleep or do not feel rested the next day.
  • If taken with your meals, tea and coffee inhibit the absorption of iron from your food. Your body throws out the nutrient as waste.
Solution : If you cannot cut down on the number of cups, cut down on the size of cups so you drink half the quantity. If you have a choice, opt for water.

3. Not drinking enough water

Most corporate offices are air-conditioned, so we do not really sweat and therefore, do not feel so thirsty. What's more when you are used to drinking water below your requirement, your body adapts and when you do start drinking a little more water, your body treats it as excess -- in fact, initially, the body actually throws it out causing you to run to the toilet every few minutes.

In the long run, not drinking enough water can cause constipation, indigestion, gas, increased hunger pangs, dehydration and can make your skin look dull too.

Solution : Keep a 1 litre bottle of water at your table and aim to finish it before the end of the day. It may take you two to three days to adapt to an increased dose but when you do, you will notice the positive benefits immediately -- better skin, better bowel movements and better control on your hunger pangs.

4. Eating at odd hours

While you cannot be expected to leave in the middle of a meeting because the clock says lunch time, it is definitely possible to try to have a somewhat regular meal timing for the majority of the days in the week.

Having a somewhat fixed meal time helps keep your metabolic rate up and can help prevent gas and acidity, which result from long gaps between meals.

Timely eating will also prevent you from overeating as once your body is used to getting energy at a particular hour, it will stop demanding food at odd hours.

Solution : Try to have a fixed time-frame in which you can have your meal peacefully and finish it in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Weekend binging

Most of us put in endless hours during the week eating whatever is available, and then comes the weekend. We go on another binge that we feel we deserve. Hard drinks along with food add to the damage we cause to our health in the long run.

Solution : Try to take some time to relax at the end of each day and don't wait for the weekend to unwind. Take a relaxing massage, watch a movie or a play or read a good book. Eating is not the only way to pamper yourself!

-- The author is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. She runs Size Wise, a training studio, and also conducts fitness workshops. Besides training with the International Sports Science Association, USA, she has a PG Diploma in nutrition and food technology and writes for a number of publications.

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