8 Ways To Avoid On-the-Job Weight Gain
(BlackDoctor.org) — Have you ever thought of being chained to your computer as being a major danger? Working nine-to-five may be the way to make a living, but it may be padding more than your wallet. If you’re reading this while sitting at your desk at work, you may be experiencing the decline in physical activity on the job that researchers now say is contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and that’s due, in part, to our sedentary jobs. On average, workers are now expending between 120 and 140 fewer calories a day in physical activity on the job, a decline that closely maps to the nation’s weight gain in the last 50 years.
Sitting at a desk doesn’t have to mean you’ll be just another
statistic! Incorporating these simple strategies into your workday will
bring you one step closer to being a healthier, more energetic you. Here’s how:
1. Be sure to eat. It’s easy to slog through a day of meetings, e-mails, and phone calls to discover at 4 p.m. that you haven’t eaten since breakfast. But, your body needs energy to get you through the day. Make it a priority to have a healthy and tasty meal—along with 1-2 healthy snacks. It is not a sin to opt for such shortcuts as microwave meals, as long as you read labels to avoid items with excess calories and sodium.
2. Compensate, compensate. Get physical to compensate for your sedentary workday. Join a gym, take an early morning run, or find time for fitness fun with your family. Buy one or two pieces of home exercise equipment that will allow you to exercise no matter what the weather.
3. Rework your network. Chances are, your friends and co-workers need help with their love handles just as much as you do. So, try some new activities that don’t revolve around food. Organize a bi-weekly volleyball game, walk during lunch, or play a quick round of mini-golf after work.
4. Bring your buddies on board. While you’re coaxing co-workers to modify those after-work habits, see if you can’t involve them in a friendly get-fit challenge during work hours. By sharing healthy potluck lunches, exchanging recipes, and providing moral support, you’ll find that getting in shape can be a team-building triumph. (You might even check with Human Resources or management to see if you can involve them in a fun or meaningful way—since healthy employees save $$$.)
5. Don’t eat due to boredom. Blacklist the office vending machine by stashing strategic healthy snacks (apples and almond butter, low-cal energy bars, nuts, or hummus and pita bread) that will give you a lift without adding to your waistline. If you know that occasionally you’ll fall—and most of us do—pick out ahead of time the items you can live with so that your dip doesn’t become a dive. Keep water at your desk; it’ll give your hands something to do when you’re stressed and will divert you from eating when you’re not really hungry.
6. Vary your routine. We all have them— those daily social rituals, like heading upstairs to the cafeteria for a mid-morning latte and muffin. You can still have those items…but make it sometimes, not all times. If you want to change your life in big ways, try some small changes, like substituting a yogurt and black coffee with skim milk half the time. You’ll save about 470 calories (660 vs. 160)! (And you’re taking the stairs up to the cafeteria, right?)
7. Lose the technology. Modern advances are great, but do you control them or do they control you? As much as possible, take advantage of opportunities throughout the day to get up and move! Deliver that memo in person, sit on a stability ball at your desk to improve your posture, park at the far end of the parking lot for a brisk walk to your building. You’ll be surprised how quickly minor changes can improve your energy level and help you get fit.
8. Choose wisely. Whether you normally go out for lunch or eat in the cafeteria, try to make your meal choices conscious ones. Learn how to eat out wisely, and remember how much better you feel come mid-afternoon when you eat healthy. If you find that your cafeteria or workplace doesn’t offer healthy choices, check with the person who’s in charge of food service—you may be the person who tips the balance to get better options!