The office might be good for many things—a paycheck, gossip and a wild holiday party, just to name just a few. But if you're watching your weight and trying to live healthier, it can be fraught with obstacles—from the doughnuts at morning meetings to the long, stressful conference calls to the vending machine you're tempted to raid on late nights—that threaten to throw you off track.
Believe it or not, there are a number of things you can do to make your workplace, well, work for you. Use this 8-to-5 guide from Bob Greene and TheBestLife.com to stick to your diet and stay healthy.
8 a.m.—Slip on Flats
Folks who wear comfy clothes and shoes to work take an average of 491 more steps a day than their dressed-up, high-heeled colleagues, reports a study by the American College of Sports Medicine. Those extra 500 steps add up over the days, weeks and months and can help you drop a few pounds by the end of the year, according to the study's authors.
8:15 a.m.—Lighten Your Load
If your tote or briefcase has become a dumping ground for everything from old magazines to junk mail to kids' toys, it's time to get rid of the extras. A too-heavy bag can cause muscle soreness, nerve compression and back and shoulder pain. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that a bag be no more than 10 percent of your body weight. Weigh your bag on the bathroom scale to make sure you're not putting unnecessary strain on your body.
8:30 a.m.—Listen to Music
Turn on some of your favorite tunes on your way into work—whether you're driving in the car or riding the bus or train. Researchers from Seattle University found that the rhythms in music relax blood vessels and moderate the production of stress hormones, helping to lower blood pressure. The study looked at classical music, but whatever music makes you happy should do the trick.
Skip the cigarette, take the break