Is Your Work Making You Fat?
Let's face it, unless your a fitness trainer or a recreation leader, your job is probably not conducive to weight loss. In fact, 43 percent of workers said that they have gained weight in their current jobs and only 18 percent of workers report they've slimmed down. At least that number is slightly greater than the 16 percent who said the same last year.
According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, sedentary jobs that keep employees chained to their desks most of the day are the biggest contributors to workplace weight gain. But there are other factors as well:
- Sitting at a desk most of the day – 36 percent
- Stress – 24 percent
- Eating out regularly – 16 percent
- Skipping meals because of time constraints – 13 percent
- Workplace celebrations (potlucks, birthdays, etc.) – 12 percent
Some employers realize that weight gain is not great for employee moral, or for the company bottom line, as obesity increases health care costs. The survey found that more than one-quarter (28 percent) of companies provide gym passes, workout facilities or wellness benefits. Where there are no benefits like these, workers are left to deal with it on their own.
|gained weight||1633 (77.1%)|
|maintained my weight||258 (12.2%)|
|lost weight||227 (10.7%)|
"While many employees still struggle to lose weight, it's encouraging to see that more workers are embracing healthier habits at the office," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. She adds that "many workplaces are taking a more proactive role in their staff's well-being by implementing programs and benefits that promote wellness."
But you can't leave your weight up to your employer. Haefner recommends the following tips for fending off workplace weight gain on your own:
Take a brisk walk
Even if you only have a few minutes a day to be away from your desk, use that time to get out of the office and take a brisk walk. Also, make sure you use the stairs, rather than the elevator, whenever possible. Walking not only helps you burn calories, it can help you clear your mind to better focus on the tasks ahead.
Plan out your meals each week
Eating out can rack up calories quicker than you can say "I'll have fries with that." Take time each week to plan out the meals you'll be eating at work, making sure to include fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains in your menu. Pack a lunch.
Half of workers surveyed say they eat out for lunch at least one day a week, making it difficult to control portions and calorie intake. Snacking can also get you; two-thirds (65 percent) of employees snack at least once a day, including one-quarter of them who snack twice a day.
Sometimes a snack craving can be mistaken for dehydration. Be sure to keep water or another healthy beverage at your desk throughout the day so that you can hydrate when you need to. Water can fill you up.
Get a healthy work buddy
Need motivation to get to the gym? Or to avoid the endless celebratory cakes and cookies in the break room? Nearly 1-in-10 workers say that they have joined a weight loss program with co-workers, so buddy up with a friend at the office so that you can help keep each other on track.
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Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.