How to conquer on-the-job weight gain

If you believe your 9 to 5 is contributing to weight gain, you’re not alone. In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive, 55% of office workers surveyed consider themselves overweight and 41% say their weight gain occurred after starting their current job.

What causes on-the-job weight gain? Sitting for long periods of time is hard on the body. Inactivity that comes with most desk jobs slows metabolism and can lead to mindless snacking. Have you ever found yourself so immersed in a project that you ate an entire bag of chips without even realizing it?

Long working hours and stress can raise cortisol levels. High cortisol levels are associated with weight gain and other health-related issues. When we are not managing stress well, or finding time for enjoyable activities, the stress becomes chronic and weight gain often accompanies it.

A co-workers birthday cake, the mexican lunch buffet to celebrate a successful sales month, a fun pot luck during March Madness. Sound familiar? Food is such an integral part of our social experience and special occasions at work almost include high-sugar, high-fat, nutrient-poor choices.

Being overweight isn’t just a physical issue. Excessive weight leads to a host of medical conditions and, for many, causes fatigue, lack of motivation and lower immunity to illnesses such as the common cold. If you are determined to conquer on-the-job weight gain, read on! We’ve compiled a few of our favorite tips to help you stay active and healthy at work:

  1. Bring your lunch (and your snacks too)! When it comes to eating healthy, preparation is the key. Bring your lunch and snacks to work every day. Doing so will make you less tempted to join in on the group Chinese takeout order or grazing on your co-workers infamous brownies. We recommend that meals and snacks include a healthy protein. Protein satisfies hunger and keeps you feeling full longer. Good snack options include nuts, beef or turkey jerky and vegetables with hummus.
  2. Don’t confuse thirst with hunger. Most of us don’t drink enough water. Not only does water aid in digestion and help maintain energy, it also acts as an appetite suppressant. If you feel hungry, ask yourself – “Am I really hungry, or am I actually thirsty?” Drink a full glass of water then decide. Keep water with you at all times and get in the habit of drinking consistently throughout the day. Try to drink between 64 ounces and 128 ounces of water per day. Be sure to drink extra water when you engage in physical exercise.
  3. Checkout your company wellness program. Today, more and more companies understand that a healthy employee is good for business. When employees are within a healthy weight range, they often have fewer health issues. This benefits attendance, productivity and health costs. If your company offers a corporate wellness program – take advantage of it. Discounted gym memberships and incentives for physical activity are among the most common benefits. If they don’t offer a program, suggest that they do – maybe even offer to lead the charge! At Mirabile M.D., we offer a Corporate Wellness program that is NO COST to the employer. Employees receive 20% off all Weightloss visits plus discounts to our medical spa, MedCosmetic.
  4. Move, move, move! If your job requires you to sit at a desk or computer for long periods of time, make a commitment to get up at least once an hour and walk around. Set a timer if you have to! Take advantage of this beautiful spring weather and get outside for a quick walk over your lunch break.
  5. We often tell patients to remember the” Why”. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to keep up with your kids, feel confident in your swimsuit or improve your sleep? Whatever the reason, keep a photo or written note at your desk that reminds you WHY you want to lose weight and be healthy.

Weightloss, a division is Mirabile M.D. Beauty, Health & Wellness