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Weight Gain at Work: 5 Tips to Avoid Packing on the Pounds

Have you ever started a new job and found that you put on a couple extra pounds within a few weeks? Or, maybe you’ve been at your job for years now and have realized that you’re a bit (or a lot) heavier than when you were the “new kid” in the office. If either of those scenarios sounds familiar, you are in good company (no pun intended!). But there’s no need for despair. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid packing on the pounds while on the job.

Why do people tend to gain weight at work? Well, there could be a number of reasons. Perhaps it’s the sweet treats that your co-worker (who loves to bake) brings in every week. Or it might be the convenience of the fast food restaurant right next door. Or maybe it just comes down to the fact that you lead a fast-paced and stressful life, which in turn leads to stress-induced eating or unhealthy eating on the go.

But by making healthy choices and following the below advice, you can ward off any office-induced weight gain!

Stop Unhealthy Snacking
Snacking is a downfall for many people. If you have a desk job, you can end up sitting and (unintentionally) snacking most of the day. Not only is this type of non-coherent eating unhealthy, but it will also cause you to put on pounds quickly. Instead of partaking in the office treats or items from the vending machine, try chewing gum. It will give you the feeling of chewing, which is what many people are craving, but won’t result in the extra pounds. You can also bring in your own healthy snacks, such as fruit, raw vegetables, nuts, or whole grain crackers. Just make sure to eat them in moderation.

Be Active During Breaks

If you have been sitting all day at your desk then don’t sit during lunch-time or other breaks. Instead, grab a healthy sandwich and take a walk. Try to get outside for as much and as often as possible. The fresh air will not only help get you motivated but it will also improve your mood for the rest of your work day, both of which will make you more productive. And isn’t that every boss’s dream?

Bring Your Own Lunch
By packing your own lunch you can choose healthy items instead of turning to greasy, fried, fat- and calorie-packed convenience foods. When grocery shopping for your lunchbox, try to keep all the food groups in mind and incorporate them into your meal. A salad with grilled chicken, whole-grain croutons and cheese which will take care of the vegetable, meat, dairy and bread groups. Add a bottle of 100 percent juice or other fresh fruit for the fruit group and top it off with a sweet snack such as two small oatmeal cookies or a piece of dark chocolate to satisfy your “dessert” need.

Make Wise Choices
If you must eat at a fast food joint, order something healthy. These days almost every fast food chain carries salads, yogurt or other healthy fare. Instead of that grease-filled burger, have a grilled chicken salad or sandwich (hold the mayo on the sandwich). If you can get fruit at the fast food restaurant then make sure to order it instead of fries. A baked potato (hold the sour cream) or low-fat soup are also good choices, either for your main meal or side dish. Leave out the soda and opt for water or light lemonade.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
With your busy work schedule it may seem impossible to fit in any time to exercise. But there are a few things you can do to get some physical activity without really changing your daily routine. Instead of parking in the front row, opt for a space several rows back and walk it. This will give you a little physical activity both before and after work. On your breaks, go for a quick stroll, or walk up and down the stairs a few times to get your heart rate up. Some companies even offer reduced memberships to gyms or fitness centers or other incentives to employees who work out regularly, so check to see if those are options at your place of employment.

You Can Do It!
Of course this doesn’t mean that you can never enjoy a piece of your co-worker’s birthday cake, or partake in the Chinese take-out compliments of the boss. But by making these simple changes on a regular basis you can stop packing on the pounds while on the job, and maybe even lose a few.

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