Diet for sedentary lifestyle

You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet Or Outeat a Sedentary Lifestyle

What’s causing the obesity epidemic?

It’s a simple question, but the answer remains elusive. Most health experts agree that obesity is caused by a basic energy imbalance: We are eating more calories than we’re burning through daily activity. But what’s the primary driver behind our energy surplus? Is it that we’re eating more because we’re surrounded by calorie-laden foods and drinks, or that we’re expending less energy because we’ve adopted a more sedentary lifestyle? While it’s likely a combination of both behaviors, scientists continue to dispute the contribution of diet versus activity levels to the current epidemic, as well as the role each should play in prevention efforts.

A group of researchers is now adding their voice to the debate, arguing that diet, not exercise, is the culprit for rising obesity rates, and that foods high in sugar and other carbohydrates are specifically to blame. “You cannot outrun a bad diet,” the experts write in an editorial published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The authors go on to suggest that not all calories contribute equally to weight gain, and that high-carbohydrate foods and beverages are more likely to promote overeating and fat storage than other sources.

While provocative, the editorial presents an incredibly oversimplified and poorly substantiated view of what is a highly complex and multifactorial public health issue. A high-sugar diet can contribute to obesity and disease, but it’s just one piece of the problem.

When it comes down to individual choices, there are three areas that you should be focused on: how much you’re eating, what you’re eating, and how much daily activity you get. All of these factors have a significant and unique impact on health, and neglecting any one of them can have harmful consequences. Here’s what you can gain by making improvements to each of these three habits.

1. The Benefits of Eating Fewer Calories

If you’re looking to lose weight, cutting calories has a much bigger impact than logging more time at the gym. Research shows that exercise alone, without any diet changes, produces modest weight loss at best, typically less than four pounds. So, following a low-calorie diet is critical to success if you have a significant amount to lose. (Trimming 500 to 1,000 calories a day is a good initial target for most people.) Losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases, so the payoff is huge.

2. The Benefits of Exercise

Regular exercise may not be a highly effective weight-loss strategy on its own, but being physically active appears to be very important for maintaining weight loss once it’s achieved. Exercise also has powerful, disease-fighting effects that rival some prescription medications. Even without any weight loss, getting regular exercise can help to improve cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and quality of life. Combining a fitness program with a calorie-controlled eating plan can reduce risk factors for chronic diseases more than dieting alone.

What’s more, overweight people who are physically active are less likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes and die an early death than those who are overweight and inactive. A recent European study even found that lack of exercise was responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity. The benefits of being fit extend to sleep, mood, brain health, and other aspects of health as well.

3. The Benefits of Eating Healthier Calories

Eating the right number of calories can prevent weight gain, but it doesn’t ensure optimal health. Adopting a more nutrient-dense diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts can help to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, inflammation, and other risk factors for chronic disease. Reducing sugary foods, red and processed meats, and salt can have similar effects. Research shows that people who follow a healthy diet are less likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease than those who eat poorly, even after weight is taken into account. So, it’s not simply the quantity of calories that matters — the quality of those calories have a big impact on the body’s metabolic health.

The bottom line: Devoting attention to both your eating habits and activity level, and making improvements where you can, is the best approach to preventing disease. The two really do go hand-in-hand. You can’t outrun a bad diet, but you can’t outeat a sedentary life either.

Diet for the Sedentary

To live a sedentary lifestyle means you spend a good portion of your time sitting or being inactive. Whether your profession requires you to sit for long periods of time, or you are inactive by choice, a sedentary lifestyle carries various health risks 3. If you live a mainly sedentary lifestyle it is wise to modify your diet to account for the lower daily calorie expenditure.

Sedentary Calorie Requirements

People of all ages who engage in a sedentary lifestyle have lower calorie requirements to maintain their current weight than people who are active. For sedentary females, 1,000 calories per day are required for ages 2 to 3; 1,200 calories for ages 4 to 8; 1,600 for ages 9 to 13; 1,800 for 14 to 18; 2,000 for 19 to 30; 1,800 for 31 to 50 and 1,600 for 51 and over. For sedentary males, daily calories should be 1,000 for ages 2 to 3; 1,400 for 4 to 8; 1,800 for 9 to 13; 2,200 for 14 to 18; 2,400 for 19 to 30; 2,200 for 31 to 50 and 2,000 for 51 and over, says the National Institutes of Health 1.

Sedentary Dangers

A sedentary lifestyle poses several different health risks 3. Depending on your caloric intake, being sedentary may lead to obesity, heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, poor circulation and cognitive decline in older people.

Fitting in Exercise

Taking opportunities throughout the day to move your body helps prevent some of the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Some examples are walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from your office and using breaks to go for short walks. You can also wake up 20 or 30 minutes earlier to fit in a workout, perform household chores quickly to burn more calories, do different exercises while watching television in the evening or join an exercise class.

Diet for Sedentary People

If you are maintaining a sedentary lifestyle, choosing foods lower in calories and fat. Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you like, plus whole grains and lower fat versions of regular foods. Low-fat dairy and proteins such as lean turkey or chicken helps reduce your caloric intake. Eating smaller portions more frequently keeps your metabolism raised and blood sugar even.


If your sedentary lifestyle has created a situation where you have reached an unhealthy weight, consult your doctor to talk about prescription medication, lifestyle modification or bariatric surgery.

Diet For Sedentary Lifestyle

As we know, most of us live sedentary lives owing to the nature of our work that demands that we spend most of our time sitting at a desk. Despite knowing the fact that a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits are the main causes of weight gain, we do not have time to exercise. Therefore, a perfect diet for sedentary lifestyle is necessary to avoid gaining weight.
The calorie requirement for an individual depends on many factors such as age, gender, weight, lifestyle, etc. Since people having sedentary lifestyle do not burn calories similar to moderately active people, they have to consume fewer calories in order to maintain weight. However, they still need proper nutrition to prevent malnutrition.

Thus, a well-balanced, low calorie diet for a sedentary lifestyle is best to keep good health as well as maintain healthy weight.

Calorie Requirements

The daily calorie requirement for people with sedentary lives depends on their body frame, weight, gender, and height. Sedentary women aged between 19 and 30 should consume 2000 calories a day, whereas women between the age of 31 and 50 should consume 1800 calories daily. Men usually burn more calories, and the daily allowed calories for men aged between 10 and 30 are 2400; 2200 calories for those aged between 31 and 50.

Food to include

The diet of people who are sedentary should incorporate 45% to 65% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 30% to 35 % fat. Obese people have to adjust their fat intake to 20% of the daily allotted calories.

  • People with a sedentary lifestyle should consume more carbohydrates as the main base of their diets. Instead of simple, refined carbs, healthy, complex carbs such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain, whole wheat products, whole cereals, whole pulses, beans, legumes, etc. are recommended.
  • Ensure to include good sources of protein such as eggs, low fat dairy products, poultry without skin, lean meat, and fish in the daily diet.
  • Good fat forms do not make you gain weight. Eat low fat dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and skim milk. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat forms are high in omega 3 fatty acids and are good options. Seeds, olive oil, and nuts are good sources of healthy fat forms.
  • Ensure to include all food groups daily to gain all vitamins and minerals in the diet.
  • It is necessary to drink plenty of water. As per the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine, men require 13 cups of beverages and women needs 9 cups of beverages daily. Ensure to drink calorie free water most of the time.
  • Fresh fruits and salads will be a great alternative to salty, fatty snacks.

A sample 1800-calorie meal plan that is appropriate for sedentary women ages 19 to 50 is as follows:

  • 2.5 cups vegetables
  • 1.5 cups fruits
  • 6 ounces grains
  • 5 ounces high protein foods
  • 3 cups dairy foods
  • 5 teaspoons oil

In addition to this diet, one can take 161 extra calories each day.

Sedentary men aged between 19 and 50 can consume 2400 calories each day, and the foods for men with sedentary life include:

  • Vegetables, 3 cups
  • Fruits, 2 cups
  • Grains, 8 ounces
  • High protein foods, 6.5 ounces
  • Dairy foods, 3 cups
  • Oil, 7 teaspoons

In addition to this, men can eat 330 extra calories each day.

Foods to avoid

Apart from following the diet for a sedentary lifestyle, it is necessary to avoid certain food forms that make you gain weight.

  • Sedentary people should avoid unhealthy fat forms such as trans fats. These fat forms also increase LDL cholesterol level.
  • Limit the intake of saturated fats.
  • A person leading a sedentary lifestyle should avoid high-cholesterol foods.
  • Avoid processed foods and junk foods.
  • Avoid sugary drinks such as fruit juices, soda, sweetened tea, etc.

Physical activity is essential to improve overall health; try to increase physical activity as much as possible to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Being desk-bound at your 9-to-5 (ugh, more like 9-to-7) can set up a series of weight-loss hurdles. Your typing fingers are the only part of your body actually getting a workoutand mindless snacking at your desk under the glow of fluorescent lights isn’t exactly helping to whittle your waistline.

“Plus, if your job is stressful, you may eat more emotionally,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D.N. and author of the upcoming book Body Kindness.

You can try to make deskercise happen: Seated leg extensions while on a conference call? Sure, why not. But, still, since your desk job is mostly sedentary, you’ve got to be strategic with your time throughout the day if you want to lose weight, says Scritchfield.

“Unless you plan to get a more active job, you will have to get your activity elsewhere,” she says.

These R.D.-approved strategies will help you lose weight even if you sit at a desk all day long.

1. Prioritize 30 Minutes of Exercise

Give your daily schedule a good look and try to find 30 minutes to work out five days a week, says Scritchfield. Cut out anything that’s less important than your health, like scrolling social media or watching TV. If you can’t live without the latest Netflix original series (damnit, Stranger Things), then exercise while you’re watching television, she says.

RELATED: These 5 Lunch Hacks Helped One Nutritionist Lose 50 Pounds

2. Turn the Stairwell into Your Gym

When you get to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, Scritchfield suggests. Heard that one before? Thought so. She also says that you can squeeze in that 30 minutes of exercise a day by spending 10 minutes walking up and down the stairwell three times a day (or just 30-minutes straight, she says. Trust, you’re going to feel this.

3. BYO Vending Machine

Turning a desk drawer into your healthy eating paradise can keep you out of the chips and cookies in the office vending machine, saving you tons of calories. Stock your personal snack machine with dried fruit, nuts, non-buttery popcorn, and tea. For more ideas, check out these healthy, R.D.-approved snacks you can keep at your desk.

RELATED: 5 Ways Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight

4. Drink 91 Ounces of Water per Day

According to the American Council of Exercise, active women should be drinking at least 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, every freaking day. While you should be doing this on the weekends too, sipping waterthroughout the workday can fight off fatigue, prevent dehydration headaches, and (hopefully) keep you from snacking when you’re not hungry. The sneaky side effect: Those extra trips to the water fountain (and, let’s be honest, restroom) will help you log more steps.

5. Chase Your Snacks with Protein

When you feel a snack attack coming on, combine your go-to fruit (or that cookie from the break room) with a protein. That’s because the muscle-building protein takes longer to digest than carbs and sugar. So you won’t feel the blood sugar spike and crash that follows. Nut butter, nuts, seeds, beef jerky, or even a hard-boiled egg will do the trick.

RELATED: How to Wear Denim at Work and Still Look Profesh

6. Bring Your Lunch

While taking a break from your desk is a great way to kick stress and bank more steps, that fast-casual burrito will likely clock in above 1,000 calories and make you feel sluggish in the afternoon. Instead, brown bag one of these six lunches nutritionists eat when they’re crazy busy. Still need a breather from your desk? Take your DIY lunch outdoors.

7. Stand at Your Desk

Research shows that you might only burn an extra nine calories per hour while standing at work than if you were sitting. But before you shrug off that miniscule calorie burn, you should know that standing improves your blood-sugar levels, which is good for weight loss, too.

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Healthy weight

Tips for losing weight

Aim to lose between 0.5lb (0.25kg) and 2lb (1kg) a week until you reach your target weight. A healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity will help you to maintain a healthy weight in the long term.

It’s important to eat a balanced diet from across the food groups shown in the Eatwell Guide because, when you eat fewer calories, it can become more challenging to get enough nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, from your diet.

A healthy, balanced diet should be based on the Eatwell Guide. This means:

  • eating at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • basing meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates
  • choosing wholegrain with less added sugar or fat, where possible
  • having some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks and yoghurts) – choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options
  • eating some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein – aim for 2 portions of fish every week, 1 of which should be oily, such as salmon or mackerel
  • choosing unsaturated oils and spreads, such as sunflower or rapeseed, and eating them in small amounts
  • drinking plenty of fluids – the government recommends 6 to 8 cups/glasses a day – but try not to have drinks just before meals to avoid feeling too full to eat

If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

However, it’s important to remember that the Eatwell Guide is aimed at the general population.

Your dietitian or weight management adviser may have specific advice about portion sizes that are adapted for your particular disability. But this will still be based on a healthy, balanced diet.

If you don’t eat meat, find out how to have a healthy vegetarian diet.

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