It is a mantra you could repeat in your sleep: eat less, make healthier choices, and get more exercise. But let’s face it—you are busy, and even though you have sworn a thousand times that you will lose the 10 pounds you have gained since you started your job, between the doughnuts at every meeting, the vending machine down the hall, and the long hours at the office, it feels like the deck is stacked against you. Here are some tips to help you regain control of your nutrition and your weight.
In general, the culprits behind weight gain at work are no different than those that trigger weight gain anywhere else. These include:
Another major component is preparation. Advance planning can keep you focused and in control. Plan the next day the night before. Prepare meals ahead of time so you can grab them on the go. When you grocery shop, pick up small portions and buy healthy snacks or cereal to keep in your desk. If you have a refrigerator at work, use it to store foods like milk, yogurt, or salad dressing.
Grabbing fast food for lunch, or skipping it entirely? As you already know, these are dietary no-nos when it comes to your weight loss plan. But a busy lifestyle does not have to mean an unhealthy diet. Here are some tips to help:
There are other things you do to maintain control over your waistline at work. Space meals out more evenly so you eat every 3-4 hours. Think before you act. Instead of candy bar boost in the afternoon, substitute it with:
Depending on your activity level, you should keep your snacks between 200-300 calories. Many food products are packaged as single servings. Take some time to read the food labels before you buy.
You already know exercise is good for you, but between the demands at work and home, there’s simply no time, right? Wrong. Here are a few ways to work exercise into your workday:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
American Heart Association
Canada's Food Guide
Public Health Agency of Canada
Rethink your drinks. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Eat Right website. Available at: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=10931. Updated December 2013. Accessed January 7, 2015.
Eat right nutrition tips. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Eat Right website. Available at: http://www.eatright.org/nutritiontipsheets. Accessed January 7, 2015.
Get moving: Easy tips to get active. American Heart Association website: Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/Get-Moving-Easy-Tips-to-Get-Active_UCM_307978_Article.jsp. Updated December 5, 2014. Accessed January 7, 2015.
Healthy eating at work. Healhty Alberta website. Available at: http://www.healthyalberta.com/658.htm. Accessed January 7, 2015.
Lallukka T, Laaksonen M, et al. Psychosocial working conditions and weight gain among employees. Int J Obes. 2005;29:909-915.
Last reviewed January 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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