16 Ways to Lose Weight with a Desk Job

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16 Ways to Lose Weight with a Desk Job

9th November 2017


Let’s face it, losing weight with a desk job is not easy. Especially if you are like most of us and have to commute and have a busy home life children or family to look after. Fortunately there are a few simple thing you can change in your office job that can help you lose weight.

Since 1980, the percentage of the British public classed as overweight has increased from dramatically, probably because we all work in offices at desk jobs.

According to data from the 2015 Health Survey for England, 27% of adults in England are obese and a further 36% are overweight, making a total of 63% who are either overweight or obese.

Taken from http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN03336

Anyway you all know as well as I do that we don’t want to be fat for our physical and mental health, so lets take a look at steps you can take to lose weight with a desk job:


1. Get a Smart Phone App

You will want to get an app for three reasons:

  1. Remind you to take a break and move
  2. Suggest an exercise
  3. Motivate you with facts about losing weight

The Move App does pretty much this exactly, it prompts you to get up on a regular basis and suggests short bursts of exercises that you can do.

Also, most smart phones have step trackers so you might have one and you didn’t even realize. If you have an Android phone you can use Google Fit, and on iPhone you have Apple Health.


2. Get a Fitness Device

If you find yourself sitting at your desk job all day you might want to consider a fitness device to keep a better eye on your activity. FitBits have given us the power to monitor our activity during the day by counting your steps and tracking your heart rate. Before you know it you’ll be trying to beat the previous days steps which is a great mindset to be in.


3. Get a Weight Loss Buddy

You can team up and keep each other on the straight and narrow. You can give them a nudge if you notice they have been sitting for too long, or look at them with utter disappointment when they tuck into their third cupcake of the morning.

Even if you aren’t naturally competitive; if you both have a FitBit then you can create challenges for each other and really generate a sense of competition between you.


4. Swap Breakfast for a Smoothie

Read the book How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger then start making those smoothies he talks about.

It’s so quick and easy – just get a load of frozen fruit, flaxseeds, and fruit juice and stick it all in a blender or NutriBullet and your off. The best thing about the NutriBullet is that its so easy to clean.

You avoid all that sugar packed cereal or butter soaked toast and replace it with some genuinely nutritious food that is quick easy and will help you lose weight.


5. Walk, Run or Cycle into Work

If possible you should eliminate sitting down on your commute, even better you can do exercise on the way into work. Also, don’t try doing it every day – just a couple of times a week will be a great start.

If you couldn’t possibly get into work without driving or public transport, then try to get off a bus stop or station early and force yourself to walk the extra mile to get the office when your will be chained to your desk all day.


6. Change Your Snacks

I won’t insult your intelligence by saying that you need to eat less food to lose weight.

So lunch aside – if you don’t already bring in your own snacks – do it. Stock up on filling, healthy snacks such as:

  • Popcorn (unsweetened & unsalted) – whole grain, gluten free, filling and not going to cause a stink in the office
  • Celery – proven to be a calorie negative food
  • Apples – good for fibre, staves off sugar cravings


7. Drink More Water

Drinking more water is a bit of a cliche when it comes to weight loss, but with a desk you can have it acting as a constant reminder that drinking it:

  • Increases your metabolism
  • Decreases lethargy
  • Makes you not thirsty for sugary drinks
  • Drinking water when you feel hungry will make you eat less


8. More Herbal Tea

Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped ( Series 11 Episode 5: Summer Diet Special ) televised the fact that drinking Rooibos Tea can actually help you lose weight, but you need to drink around 6 cups a day.

This sounds like a lot of tea, so you can make up 6 cups in a bowl or sauce pan at home and let it chill, then instead of taking a bottle of water with you – take a bottle of chilled tea.


9. Take Regular Breaks

With the help of a smartphone app, or a simple timer you can set yourself regular reminders to get up and do something.

Make excuses to walk around your building unnecessarily or when you need the loo go for a walk around the office building.


10. Make an Exercise Out of Everything

I have a friend and office mate who goes to the gym in the morning and then refuses to walk the four flights of stairs to the office, this is bonkers.

If you are looking to lose some weight then start making the effort to walk places you don’t have to and if there are stairs run up them – twice!

It is proved that even just 20 seconds of ultra high intensity aerobic exercise will make a significant impact on your weight. You should consider reading the book Fast Exercise by Michael Moseley.


11. Knee Jiggling

There are a load of a desk friendly exercises you can do; stretching is great but you need to actually burn some calories.

One of the best inadvertent weight loss techniques while sitting is what I like to call knee jiggles.  Yes, that’s it simple as that – if you are sitting down just start bouncing your knees up and down. It makes for a wobbly monitor but I actually feel it helps me stay focused too.

There are other exercises you can do at your desk but they are usually  pretty inconvenient in comparison to some plain old knee bounces or toe tappers.


12. Desk Job Friendly Exercises

You can’t just start star-jumping in the office and burpees are out of the question in every form, luckily there are some non-obtrusive ways to exercise while you are at your desk job.


The benefit of a kettlebell is that it fits under the desk, you can use them in loads of different ways – but if you are looking to lose weight at the desk you should focus on full body compound movements like the ones on this page: Kettlebells Workout

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are great for in the office. They are silent, they can be tucked away in your draw and you can even do them sitting down. Take a look at these exercises from the British Heart Foundation.


13. Get a Standing Desk

Here is an idea for you mavericks out there – get a standing desk. Even better get one that is a manually adjusted – where you have to wind a handle to get it up and down.

My own standing desk was an inspiration for this entire site and I would urge you to get one if you can convince your boss. There are a ton of good reasons to get a standing desk but the initial outlay might put you off.

You can buy standing desks that are adjustable so you can sit part time and stand part time. You can buy just the frame so you can use your existing desktop to match the existing office furniture.  If you buy an electric adjustable standing desk some of them include a timer to remind you to sit or stand.

If you got yourself a FitBit you can find how many calories you burn during the day but it is reported that:

“you burn 50 more calories an hour standing”

You can use a calorie burn calculator to estimate how many calories you will potentially lose from just using a standing desk, head over to JustStand.org and bang in your numbers and see what you could be losing.

Extra Standing Desk Accessories

If you manage to get your grubby mitts on a standing desk – well done and welcome to the 21st century.

Now you can upgrade your standing desk experience by getting a balance board which will not only help your stabilizing muscles around your joints, it will also also be burning some fat.


14. Get an Balance Ball to Replace Your Chair

If you aren’t in a position to move to a sit-stand desk you should look at using an exercise ball as a replacement for your chair. Like standing at a desk – isn’t something you will be able to do all day so don’t go chucking away your conventional chair just yet.

I have to admit though, sitting on a balance ball chair at work can look pretty silly unless you get it right. You can get a holder which makes the ball sit on casters so you can move about like normal.


15. Change your desktop Wallpaper

You might be stuck with a horrendous company desktop wallpaper but if you can change it, change it to something motivational – maybe a quote, a photo of a slimmer you, or maybe of someone that you aspire to be like.

If you can’t do it on your work PC then use a framed photo on your desk, or use your mobile phone’s lock screen and wallpaper.


16. Set Achievable Goals

Don’t go thinking that you will be stripping the weight away immediately, remember you are at a job with a desk so losing weight isn’t going to be fast. Achievable goals will help you keep focused and give you satisfaction that you managed to complete your goal.



You don’t have time you can dedicate to exercising with a desk so remember that

“if you look after the ounces the pounds will look after themselves, or something like that.”

Get yourself an app, get a FitBit and start moving at every opportunity.

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