8 Ways to Prevent Job Related Weight Gain
You work long hours, feel stressed out, have minimal time for the gym and often grab a not so healthy lunch to eat at your desks (or skip it totally!) To make matters worse, you frequently find your office full of tempting goodies. This is a perfect breeding ground for job related weight gain. Read on for solutions to these potential problems and learn how to prevent workplace weight gain.
I’ve experienced every single one of these problems I’m going to discuss – and so have many of my clients. So I decided to write this post to brainstorm some solutions.
Solutions to Prevent Job Related Weight Gain
1. Not enough time to take a real lunch hour, so you end up grabbing something quick and eating at your desk. The problem is that “food on the run” tends to be not so healthy and eating at your desk provides no satisfaction. The wrong kind of lunch can pack on the pounds, zap your energy levels and increase afternoon carb cravings.
Solution: What you eat for lunch will set the tone for the rest of the day, s really important to eat the right kind of lunch – one that includes protein, a moderate portion of healthy carb, a little fat and volume to help keep you feeling satiated. Your best bet is to bring lunch from home so you can control the ingredients. If that isn’t realistic, find healthy options close to your office. That you will have several “go-to” lunches. Most lunch places even deliver. The deli near my office keeps my credit card on file and knows exactly what I want and when to deliver! In addition, if possible, try not to eat at your desk. You will feel more satisfied with your lunch. *Download my free Lunch Survival Guide#1, #2 and #3 for tons of healthy lunch choices. You will get the link to download the survival guides each time you get my post emailed to you – so make sure you are subscribed to my email updates!
2. Goodies in the office. Whether it’s someone’s birthday, a holiday, cookies served at meetings, the famous “Snack Drawer” or kitchen full of goodies – there always seems to be temptation around. One of my clients even gets daily “snack emails” from co-workers alerting her as to what treats are leftover from meetings. Talk about temptation!
Solution: Stay clear of the room where the treats are kept! I was actually faced with this situation this weekend. I was stuck working all weekend in the hospital. One of my co-workers had Girl Scout cookies in the office (see pic). I knew that I would dig into her stash (sorry Samantha!), so I used a computer in another room. I avoided the trigger. Other suggestions include: bringing in your own healthy snacks such as fruit, yogurt, 100 calorie mini bags of popcorn, string cheese , Mini Bonbel cheese and a few crackers. For many people, the trick is not get started with these treats as one often leads to multiple. It can also establish a pattern of allowing yourself to indulge on a regular basis. FYI – I told my client to get her name off the “snack email” list … and it has really helped get her mind off those kitchen snacks.
3. Free meals. Many of my clients get free lunches every day and free dinner if they work late. I see this with a lot of law firms – I guess some kind of compensation for making their employees work into the night.
Solution: If you want to take advantage of this financial perk, at least look for healthy choices such as Japanese, grilled chicken or fish on a salad, 1/4 BBQ chicken with rice and veggies or a veggie burger and a salad. Avoid the mentality that you can eat as much as you want … calories still count when food is free.
4. Peer pressure to order in food with your group (ie. pizza, Chinese food). You feel out of place eating the salad your brought in from home when everyone else is eating pizza in the conference room. The same peer pressure can be felt to join in when others are eating kitchen snacks or heading out for Happy Hour after work.
Solution: The reality is that most people don’t care what you eat. Chances are that they will actually be jealous of what you brought in and how disciplined you are! I have several co-workers who bring in their lunch from home. Bottom line, it is your health. Don’t worry about what others are thinking (or more accurately, YOUR perceptions of what they are thinking!) As far as Happy Hour goes, you can limit yourself to one drink, or drink club soda.
5. Too much sitting. You sit on your behind for the majority of the day. Not only does sitting most of the day slows your metabolism, but studies have shown that it can actually generate new fat cells in your buttock area. In addition, it increases risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Solution: Get up and walk around as much as you can during the day – even 2 minutes here and there will help. Take the stairs as much as you can. If you live in the city, no excuse not to walk at least part way to work! And of course, plan a few workouts into your week. (pic is of nurses doing wall squats)
6. Fatigue and inadequate sleep from working long hours decreases your willpower to watch what you eat. Normally you might have been able to resist the sweets, but not when you are exhausted. In addition, studies have shown that inadequate sleep can contribute to weight gain.
Solution: Easier said than done I know as I always struggle with this issue! You will need to make more of an effort to get a even a little more sleep. Make it a point to be in bed 30 minutes earlier each night. Get off the computer earlier. Limit drinking alcohol before bed as it can interfere with sleep in the middle of the night. Turn down a few nights out with friends to get caught up on sleep. Don’t go too long without eating during the day – and choose healthy foods (see #1 recommendations). Eating sugary treats will only cause you to feel more tired.
7. Stress can lead to emotional eating and weight gain. When we are stressed, most of use tend to crave sugar and fat. In addition, stress in itself can cause weight gain (see the link below). Lastly, stress can interfere with adequate sleep. What you have heard it true – chronic stress can contribute to weight gain!
Solution: You will need to do a little work to get this answer. Download my free download – Dietary Tips to Combat Stress (remember, the link all my downloads will be in the blog email you will get when you subscribe to my blog)
8. Dialing for dinner. Working long hours decreases the chances you’ll cook a healthy dinner … this often meals more take-out.
Solution: Again, find local restaurants where you can order in quick, healthy meals. Note: these portions are for weight control. If you aren’t trying to watch your weight, you can increase your portions. Here are some suggestions:
–Chinese: steamed chicken, shrimp, tofu or scallops and veggies with sauce on the side and brown rice
-Rotissere chicken, ½ baked potato or piece of pita bread and steamed veggies
-Japanese: 2 rolls and soup or salad or one roll and 5 sashimi and soup or salad
-Middle Eastern: chicken kabobs and salad, piece of pita bread
-Frozen dinner under 350 calories and salad
-Fresh Direct under 500 calorie meals
-Salad with grilled chicken (add your own lowfat dressing)
Stay tuned for a future blog post on healthy take-out meals dinners!
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.