A dietitian’s weight loss tips when you work full-time


If you’re like most people, you’re probably bound to your desk from 9 till 5, Monday to Friday, and struggle to fit in physical activity during the week.

For those on a weight loss crusade, working around the clock can make it pretty tough. But, it’s not impossible – it just requires a little more forethought.

So, to give you a helping hand, here are my top tips for losing weight when your whole life revolves around work.

Get organised

Healthy meals and snacks don’t just appear – you need to plan for them. So, before the working week begins, write up a meal plan and a shopping list and hit the grocery store.

Shop mostly around the perimeter of the supermarket for fresh and frozen produce, lean protein and wholegrains, and enter the aisles with a plan (avoid the junk food aisle).

Cook once, eat twice

One of the best things you can do for weight loss is prepare your own food at home, rather than rely on the food court for breakfast and lunch every day (an added bonus is that your wallet will be happy, too).

But, I’m not asking you to spend hours in the kitchen – all I’m saying is that you should cook a little smarter. When you are cooking, cook twice as much so there’s always leftovers ready to grab and go for lunch the next day. And if you’re super prepared, you could even cook in larger batches and freeze individually-portioned meals.

Up your snack game

If you’ve read this far and you’re thinking ‘I already do all of these things’, bravo to you! You’ve probably got the basics down, which is often what I see with a lot of my clients.

But be careful not to fall into the ‘snacking’ trap. You know what I mean – the half-eaten bag of M&Ms sitting in your desk drawer, the decadent muffin you picked up with your morning coffee, or the slice of cake you had at afternoon tea because it was one of your colleagues’ birthdays. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these foods occasionally and in moderation – but the problem is, many people have them every single day.

Instead, replace sweet or savoury treats with healthy options that you enjoy.

Think: fresh fruit, veggie sticks and a delicious dip or a small tub of reduced-fat yoghurt. Some of my other top recommendations that are shelf stable and perfect for your desk drawer are wholegrain crackers with natural peanut butter, healthy muesli bars or small tins of tuna or baked beans.

Keep portions in check

If your diet is full of the good stuff but you’re still struggling to lose weight, the problem could be your portion size.

So, an easy trick to keep portions in check is to follow the ‘healthy plate model’. That means:

  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy veg. Basically, that’s anything that’s not potatoes, peas or corn.
  • Fill a quarter of your plate with quality carbs. Think wholegrain bread, brown rice or quinoa. For most people, one or two slices of bread or half to one cup of grains is enough.
  • Fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein, like fish, eggs or chicken breast.

Make the most of your lunch break

Of course, healthy eating is just one side of the equation. Doing enough exercise is key to weight management – so why not use your lunch hour to go for a jog, join a pilates class or hit the gym for a quick circuit. What’s important with exercise is that you find something you like and stick to it – so explore your options and get moving!

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.