As mentioned in my work environment post, we gain approximately two pounds a year as we age due to the sedentary nature of our lifestyle. What we do at work has an impact on our waistline since we spend so many of our waking hours at work.
According to an article at careerbuilder, “28% of workers report they have gained more than 10 pounds and 13% say they have gained more than 20 pounds at their current positions.”
Sciencedaily also mentioned that “men with high job demands were more likely to have gained weight than men with low job demands.” In other words, as you move up the food chain at work, be prepare to buy larger pants.
But it does not have to be this way. Here are some tips to stop the battle of the bulge at work:
1. Eat breakfast.
As I mentioned in previous, not all calories are create equal. The body uses about 3/4 of its calories during the day (6am-6pm) and 1/4 during the evening (6pm-6am). That means we should be eating most of our calories when the body is most active during the day and make our last meal the smallest one. Eating breakfast will give your body the fuel it means to get through a morning of meetings, emails, and phone calls. Coffee is not breakfast. And a venti sugary whip creamed concoction from Starbucks is definitely not a breakfast.
2. Use your commute to become healthier.
Commute time does not have to be purposeless time. If you drive, park farther away to fit in some walking. If you take public transportation, get off a stop early. Borrow audio books from the library on health and fitness to learn more about improving your lifestyle.
3. Brown bag your lunch.
Portion control is a huge factor in weight loss success. Most people have a hard time gauging portion sizes at restaurants. When you dine out, you are putting someone else the driver seat. Packing your lunch will help control your portions. Plus you save money in the process. Consider instant portion control with soups or microwave dinners.
If you choose to dine out for lunch, I have written some tips previously about dining out with your friends. Make the best possible choice when dining out for lunch. Remember a side of fries has just as much calories as that burger you are eating at McDonalds.
4. Do not eat because you are bored, it is free, or your co-workers are eating.
Keep water at your desk. Keep a mug in your hand. Do what you must to not eat for the above reasons. Try to eat only when you are hungry.
In reality, it is hard to pass up on goodies at office parties. Have the smallest piece of birthday cake. Eat it slowly while chatting with co-workers. Make that piece of cake last to avoid getting another slice. Throw away the plate and fork and hold a bottle of water when you are done. Split a donut with a co-worker when you cannot pass it up. For pot lucks, make one trip and just have a little taste of everything. Small bites do add up. Remember this is not a buffet. Eat sensibly. Do what you can to minimize the extra amount of food you eat in these situations at the office.
5. Snack strategically at work.
Stop snacking if you are not hungry. Stop the routine of reaching for food because you are bored, angry, anxious, or stress at work. Smaller meals and snacking throughout the day may help you loose weight, but only if you are making the right snack choices. Snack on healthy fruits with a small amount of peanut butter, granola with non-fat yogurt, or carrot sticks with a small amount of light ranch dressing. If cannot control your portions in snacks, do not bring it to the office.
6. Put in some face time with your co-workers.
Technology is wonderful in increasing our productivity, but it also results in your butt sitting on that chair for hours at a time. Instead of emailing that memo, consider hand delivering it. Instead of calling your co-workers two cubes over, consider walking over there for the discussion. Not only is face time important for maintaining your waistline, but it can help improve the communication between you and your co-workers.
7. Sneak in physical activity throughout the day.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk around your building during your breaks or at lunch time. Try going to the bathroom at the other end of the building. Send your documents to a further printer. The small incremental movements will add to the daily amount of calories your body will burn.
8. Get support from your co-workers.
Chances are your co-workers are probably just as concern about weight gain as you are. Try to bring them on board. Make a competition to see who can bring in the healthiest and tastiest potluck dish. Find a walking buddy for breaks and lunch. Start a weigh loss competition among your co-workers. Start bringing fruit and veggie trays to meetings instead of donuts. It is easier to remain healthy when the people around you are re-enforcing your healthy habits.
9. Limit happy hour.
If meeting your co-workers after work is a common pastime, you might be gaining weight from consuming too many calories from this activity. With the lure of cheap drinks and appetizers such as buffalo wings, you are setting yourself up for weight gain. No matter what strategies you have for limiting your calories during your day, you can easily blow it by having more than one drink. Try to make your social outings more active such as bowling or a team sport.
10. Move outside of work.
Most people probably know this tip, but do nothing about it. To compensate for being deskbound at work, try to get more active outside of the office. You do not need a sweat drenched workout to add movement into your life. An evening stroll with your spouse or some gardening is a start.
We all know the secret to avoiding weight gain, — exercise and eat less. This applies to all areas of our lives, including the office. Or you can make a career out of it by becoming an actor, a model, or a professional athlete. But if you do not have those aspirations, consider incorporating some of these tips into your office environment to help battle the bulge.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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