The Workplace And Our Waistlines – Weight Gain In The Workplace Image

Prior to the Covid lockdown the weight gain issues associated with workplaces were well documented:

  • The office environment is often a factor contributing to weight gain.
  • Work is a place where stress can be a daily companion and healthy habits often take a back seat to hectic, unpredictable schedules. The result is very often overeating and under-activity.

But, evidence is now emerging that many workers that have been requested to work from home are also putting on excess weight.

Here are some suggestions to help you win in work in situations that are most likely to play havoc on your waistline.

Tempting Treats

In many offices, temptation is all around – chocolates from a client, biscuits and cakes left over from a meeting, home baking that someone has brought in. When food is readily available, people tend to eat more, either out of boredom or habit. 200 extra calories a day can add 21 pounds in just a year!

At home, the kitchen cupboards may well contain treats that are more than tempting. It didn’t materialise overnight but the Covid Stone, as many are calling it, is the result of too-frequent visits to the snack supply at home. Home baking sky rocketed during the lockdown. Remember the shortages of baking essentails until the supermarkets caught up with demand.

Don’t fall into the trap at work or at home.

Be aware of every morsel you put in your mouth. Stop and ask yourself if it is worth it and if you actually need it. Devise some non-food ways to cope when you get stuck on a problem or need a break.

Get up and get a glass of water, have some protein or step outside for some fresh air.

It’s A Techie Life

It’s never been so easy to stay put. Technology has a lot to answer for. On really busy days we sometimes have to consciously tell ourselves to get up and stretch our legs. It is important to build movement into your day every day. Get up once an hour for five minutes and instead of always sending e-mails, walk down the hall to a colleague’s office.

Take the stairs instead of the lift and use a bathroom on a different floor. Leave your lunch in your car so you’ll have to leave the office to get it. If you can, schedule two 15-minute walking breaks daily but make it part of your routine and stick to it.

At home, there is no lift or flights of stairs. There is no walk to and from the office to your car / bus / train. The calorie burn at home is much lower so therefore you need to be more active.

Lunch “Break”

The lunch break habit is an issue in the home office as much as it is in the workplace office.

Lunch used to be a meal away from your desk; now it’s a sandwich gobbled in five minutes between phone calls, eaten at your desk or skipped entirely.

Don’t work while you eat. Concentrate on your food. Paying attention to how it tastes helps you feel more satisfied. If you think time is an issue or you are worried about the amount of calories in the local café or shop, bring your lunch from home.

Be prepared for those days when you might be caught off guard. Keep an instant soup or a protein bar in your desk drawer.

Stress Eating

Days when you may be under particular pressure can lead to weight gain in two ways. Many people respond to tension and anxiety by eating. Stress can also make you crave carbs and fat such as biscuits and chocolate.

Don’t fall victim to this. Always eat some protein at lunch as protein keeps glucose levels steady throughout the afternoon so you are less susceptible to stress hunger. And if you feel you need a break, turn to activity instead of food. Try standing and stretching. Plan for a snack between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. Bring healthy items from home – an apple, a yogurt, cheese or nuts.

Ditto for your home office. Make sure those items withing reach are healthy and also make sure you have a source of protein every 3/4 hours.

Travel And Entertainment

Ok, this section is pretty much redundant for the time being. I decided to keep it in there as the pace of reopening the economy is picking up.

People who travel or dine out frequently for business face special challenges. Restaurant food is often high in fat and comes in large portions. It is also harder to fit exercise in when you are on the road and long flights mean hours of inactivity.

There are solutions though so decide which one helps you the most.

Entertain clients in restaurants that serve lighter fare, such as Japanese or seafood places. And if you’ve eaten enough, have half your restaurant meal packaged to take home and eat it later or the following day at lunch.

If you can avoid alcohol it would be best but if it seems rude not to have one, nurse a drink and have a glass of water beside it.

When you’re traveling, try to arrive at your destination a little early so you have enough time to go for a walk or work out when you get in. And wear comfy shoes for long lay-overs in airports so you can get plenty of walking done there. If it’s a long haul, make sure you get up every hour to stretch your legs and walk up and down the aisle.

While the pressures of a hectic life can bog us down, it’s important to plan ahead and win in the workplace and home office!

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