1. Drink a glass of water before every meal.Everyone needs to drink more water. That's a given. Plus when you drink a glass of water before you eat you'll already feel a little more full and won't be as tempted to eat past the point of hunger.
2. Eat one really healthy meal.Pick one meal. Just one. Then change what you eat. If it's lunch, eat one portion of a protein that fits in the palm of your hand, a vegetable or fruit, and four or five almonds.
Other examples: Pack a can of tuna and two apples. Or bring a skinless chicken breast and some cucumbers. Just make sure you prepare it ahead of time--that way you won't have to decide to eat healthily. You just will.
3. Use your lunch to be active.It doesn't take 30 minutes or an hour to eat. So make your lunch break productive. Go for a walk. (Better yet, find a walking buddy or do like LinkedIn's Jeff Weiner and have walking meetings.) Or stretch. Or do some push-ups or sit-ups.
It doesn't matter what you do as long as you do something. You'll burn a few calories, burn off some stress, and feel better when you climb back into the work saddle. And you'll start to make fitness a part of your daily lifestyle without having to add to your already busy schedule.
4. Eat one meal-replacement bar.
OK, so most protein bars taste like flavored sawdust. But most are also nutritious and low in calories, and they make it easy to stave off the midafternoon hunger pangs you'll inevitably feel after having eaten, say, a light lunch.
Don't get too hung up on nutritional values; just pick a bar that includes 10 or 15 grams of protein (think protein bar, not energy bar) and you'll be fine. Eating a midmorning or midafternoon meal replacement bar doesn't just bridge the gap between meals; it's an easy way to get in the habit of eating smaller meals more frequently, another habit you'll eventually want to adopt. And, finally, a bonus habit to toss in once a week:
5. Have fun completing a physical challenge.
It would be great if you could consistently hit the gym four to five days a week, but if you're starting from zero instantly transforming yourself into a gym rat isn't realistic. Instead, once a week pick something challenging to do. Take a really long walk. Take a long bike ride. Take a testing hike.
Just make sure you pick an accomplishment, not a yardstick. Don't decide to walk six miles on a treadmill; that's a yardstick. Walk the six miles to a friend's house. Don't ride 20 miles on an exercise bike; ride to a café, grab a snack and then ride back home.
The activity should be based on an accomplishment; it's a whole lot more fun to say, "I hiked to the top of Bear Mountain," than it is to say, "I walked five miles on the treadmill at an 8 percent incline." Accomplishments are fun; it's like their things you decided to do. Yardsticks are boring; it's like they're things you had to do.
Every time you complete a weekly challenge you will have burned calories, improved your fitness level, and reminded yourself are still capable of doing some really cool things. Once you accept you are still capable of doing cool things--no matter how much you've let yourself go physically, it's true--you'll find all the motivation you need to make a few other positive changes.
And one day you'll realize you actually have gone all in ... and you didn't even notice.