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4 Ways to Avoid Weight Gain at Work

We have all heard about the “freshman fifteen,” the common weight gain by college freshmen who become lax in their eating habits during their first foray into adulthood. What about adults who gain weight because of their jobs?

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There are several factors that we encounter in the workplace that contribute to weight gain, including stress, sitting for long periods of time, bad eating habits and constant snacking, along with odd work hours that interfere with regular meal times.

Stress raises the levels of the hormone cortisol, which increases our appetites and triggers cravings for foods with high-carbohydrate (sugar) content. We tend to seek out those sugary baked goods when we are stressed, which leads to overeating and constant snacking.

On the other side of this double edged sword we have the dangers from sitting for long periods of time. Muscle activity involved in standing and walking burns calories and increases overall circulation, all of which aid in the metabolism of fats and sugars in the body. Sitting reduces all of these processes, ultimately resulting in weight gain.

Here are four ways to combat the weight gain so commonly found in those with sedentary jobs:

  1. Walk – It sounds simple, but walk more to lose weight. Park in the far corner of the parking lot, and take the long way across the office. Use breaks to take a 10 – 15 minute walk around the building rather than using the time to hunt down a donut!
  2. Eat Fiber and Protein – High fat, high carbohydrate snacking leaves us with highs and lows that typically result in more snacking in order to avoid the crash. Keep snacks such as nuts and fruit that are high in fiber and protein to feel fuller longer and have sustained energy.
  3. Take the Stairs – Don’t wait for the elevator: take the stairs. Stair climbing burns calories and increases circulation by using the largest muscle groups in the body – the gluteal muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps. Many companies have begun placing restrooms on every other or every third floor so that employees must take the stairs, and this is a good strategy to employ on your own.
  4. Drink Water -Many office buildings have very dry air as a result of heating and cooling systems. Employees may become dehydrated, which results in feeling sluggish and even feeling hungry. Before heading to the vending machine, drink a large glass of water and wait a few minutes first.

It can be difficult to avoid gaining weight when working in a sedentary job, but by employing smart strategies to control overeating and sitting for long periods of time we can avoid packing on the pounds.

Editor’s Note: Need help with your stress levels? Try natural and calming herbs for stress relief for the entire day.

Levine, J. (2016). What are the risks of sitting too much? Retrieved on 4/14/16 from

Sass, C. (2014). 5 ways to beat stress-induced weight gain. Retrieved on 4/14/16 from

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