Are you climbing the corporate ladder but gaining weight along the way? You’re not alone. Studies show that 64% of Americans working in desk positions notice a decline in their health.
Individuals that are working sedentary jobs or high-stress jobs are more likely to develop certain behaviors that led to weight gain. However, conscious awareness of these behaviors and knowledge of how to stay away from them can improve your overall health.
See if you engage in any of the following behaviors.
Sitting all day
If you have an office job, chances are that you’re glued to your chair all day. There are emails to write, clients to contact, and reports to finish. Before you know it, you’ve sat all day. The problem with a sedentary job is that you burn fewer calories when you sit, which leads to weight gain. Take a few quick walks throughout the day to get moving. Even quick two-minute walks can make a difference. Some employers are also investing in standing desks from HADO, which allows for the flexibility to sit or stand during the day. Standing several throughout the day can help you burn more calories and a standing desk allows for you to continue to work comfortably.
Skipping your break
Some people get in the habit of not taking a break during the day, which adds to the amount of time that they’re sedentary each day. Instead, they end up quickly eating their lunch at their desk and quickly getting back to work. Or, even worse, they don’t eat anything during the day and binge eat at night. This leads to negative health effects such as stress, exhaustion, and weight gain. Take the time during the day to get away from your desk, eat a healthy lunch, and take a quick walk.
Not packing a lunch
If you’re a busy individual, sometimes it is easier to grab a quick meal at a fast-food joint or go out to a restaurant instead of packing your lunch. Eating out is convenient, but constantly eating out isn’t good for your health. There is more temptation to indulge in a meal that is high in fat or sugar. Packing your own lunch gives you more control over your diet and encourages you to eat healthier. If you’re struggling with daily lunch prep, consider preparing all your lunches for the week at one time or taking leftovers from dinner.
Stressful jobs can sometimes lead to emotional eating. You end up craving junk food, such as ice cream or french fries, because those food being you some sort of comfort. But those junk foods also lead to an expanding waistline. Emotional eating is a habit that can be broken. Start keeping track of a food diary to see if you can figure out what triggers the eating. Maybe it only happens after a meeting with your boss or after you give a presentation. Once you find your triggers, start fighting the urges. Taking a quick walk or practicing meditation are good ways to distract your mind.
Eating the same as colleagues
If you have colleagues that are regularly indulging in fast-food or that are bringing in treats to share, you might fall in the habit of eating whenever (and whatever) they’re eating. And if your colleagues aren’t practicing good eating habits, copying them could hurt your health. If you do find yourself regularly eating lunch with your colleagues, get in the habit of packing a lunch. If you do eat out with them, get a salad or another low-calorie meal. And to stop the constant supplies of cookies in the break room, consider contributing a healthy snack such as fruit or string cheese.
If you drink sweetened coffee, soda, or sweet tea to keep yourself fueled throughout the day, you’re adding unnecessary calories and sugar to your diet. If you absolutely need to drink a caffeinated beverage during the day, consider drinking black coffee or black tea, both of which have fewer calories. Or, even better, get in the habit of drinking water. Staying hydrated can make you feel alert and focused. If you dislike the taste of water, consider adding a lemon or lime wedge to give it flavor.
It isn’t your job itself that is leading to your weight gain. It is your own behaviors and actions. You’re in control and can start making small changes that can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Don’t feel like you have to implement everything at once. Pick one or two strategies and start making changes!