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How to avoid workplace weight gain

Is your job sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

We all know that trying to make better food choices and sticking to a healthier diet to lose weight can be a challenge.  Does your workplace add to your weight loss challenge?

When I was in the process of losing weight and transforming my body, I began to realize how the corporate culture of where I worked would undermine my weight loss efforts.

I’m sure where I worked is no different than any other office.  Most mornings, you can find bagels, muffins, cake or cookies that have been brought in by a co-worker or for an office “breakfast meeting”.

Luncheon meetings were common place where I worked and what was offered was anything but diet friendly, healthy or low in calories.  It was always the same…. Pizza or calorie laden sandwiches, soda, chips and cookies.

Then there is also the occasional office birthday party or anniversary celebration where there was cake, cookies and pastries galore!

When you walk down the aisles, everywhere you look , most of your co-workers have a jar of candy on their desk.

If that’s not enough, there always seems to be that 3:00 trip to the vending machines filled all sorts of high sugar or high sodium calorie laden treats such as soda, candy bars, cookies and chips to help get you through the late afternoon dull drum.

And then there’s lunch!

Nearly every day, if there’s not a luncheon meeting, you’re invited out by your co-workers to join them for lunch.  Most of the time lunch is going to be fast food, Mexican, Chinese or Pizza.  Not exactly the best choices if you’re watching your waistline, but at the same time you want to be included and part of the group, so you indulge.   Doesn’t anyone brown bag it anymore???

Think about this….
Not only are you consuming all these excessive empty calories throughout the day, you are being sedentary sitting at a desk at least 8 hours a day not burning off these calories.  Ask yourself this question…. What do you do after work?  Are you exercising after work or are your eating dinner out or eating dinner at home in front of the TV and feeling tired and lethargic all the time?

Not only is this a recipe for weight gain, it’s also a recipe for poor health. 

How to break the cycle

No longer do you have to be the victim of this cycle.  I broke the cycle and so can you.  Here’s how I did it.

You don’t have to indulge just because the food is there.
The first step towards breaking the cycle is to not indulge in the food that is being offered to you just to be polite or just because the company is feeding you.   Don’t let your co-workers make you feel bad or guilty for turning away food.  Be polite about it and say no thank you.

It IS OK to bring your own lunch and snacks to work with you. 
Here’s what I did and what you should do.  Invest in a small 6 pack size cooler.  Every night before you go to bed, be sure to pack it with your lunch and lots of snacks such as nuts, apples, plain low fat Greek yogurt, protein powder in a shaker cup, or hard boiled eggs.

Every day, I brought my cooler with me to work and ate my own food even if the company was providing food for a luncheon meeting.    Not only was I more in control of what I was eating, I was also saving money not going out to lunch every day.  Rather than completely opting out of having lunch with my co-workers every day, I chose one day out of the week to go out to lunch with them.

Bring something healthy to work to share with your co-workers.
Every now and then, bring in something healthy to share with your co-workers .  By doing this, you can introduce them to better food choices, and by offering something to them,  you can still be part of the group.

Move it to lose it!
The human body was not designed to be sedentary and sitting behind a desk 8 or more hours a day will not only have you packing on the pounds, it also robs you of your energy.

Get your body moving as much as possible. 
Get out of your chair and walk around the office for a few minutes. 
If you work in an office park, walk around the parking lot for 15 minutes.
If you work near a park, walk around the park on your lunch break or do a body weight workout on your lunch break.
Better yet…. find a gym close by to where you work and workout on your lunch break, before you go to work or after work. 

Share your experiences and suggestions.
What are your experiences with workplace weight gain?  Sharing your experiences is a great way for others to learn from you.

If you have overcome some of the workplace weight gain obstacles you encountered, let us know what you have done to overcome those obstacles.


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  1. 3 Comment(s)

  2. By Tom Parker | Reply

    The one thing that really helped me avoid junk foods when I worked in an office was bringing a good helping of fruit and nuts with me. Then every time I got peckish, I had something healthy on hand to fill me up. It’s a really simple trick but one that stopped me going to the vending machine and filling up on chocolate.

  3. By Robin | Reply

    I do all that you mention. If I feel satisfied with my good food I am not tempted. But all I really need to do is look at the people who are eating all that crap. Most of them are overweight. I don’t want to look like them. I’ve lost 70 lbs. being a food snob and have kept it off for over a year. I also go to the gym everyday before I go home.

  4. By sharifitness | Reply

    Hi Robin
    Thanks for your comments. Congratulations on your weight loss success!!! That’s very exciting!!! I’m glad you are not tempted by all the temptation and peer pressure that many people succumb to in the workout place. This one of the topics I go into great detail about in my book as I was literally harassed every day by my co-worker about my healthy lifestyle.
    Transformation Over 40

    Shari Fitness

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