Is your office making you fat?

Cookies, cakes, birthdays, and vending machines seem to be part of the office space these days. So gaining a few pounds at work can be easy especially if you sit at a desk all day. Could this notion actually be true?

Some studies out there do in fact suggest that certain types of work make you more prone to overeat. Mental tasks like computer work, reading and writing for instance tend to make you more likely to overeat.

Also, people that are under job stress – they work overtime, have job fatigue or burn out – are more likely to gain weight their first year on the job. Finally, shift workers have a harder time because of alternating schedules.

Some of the most common mistakes people make can actually predispose them to gaining weight: running out the door with no breakfast, not bringing in snacks and working through lunch, in other words not making time to eat.

Are there a lot of birthdays celebrated in your office? If so, the temptation might always seem to be there. To help you gain control over office food temptations here are some tips:

#1: Avoid a high-carb lunch. Two prime examples include that big plate of pasta and huge hoagie roll sandwich. When you eat too many carbohydrates at lunch a brain chemical called serotonin is released into the blood stream creating a sleepy feeling.

If you’re feeling sleepy in the afternoon following a big lunch there is a greater chance you will not be able to resist a sugary boost. To help balance out your lunch meal, reduce your portion size and always include a lean protein source.

#2: Resist temptation. Repeat this mantra: just because there is food around does not mean we need to eat it. We don’t need to celebrate everyone’s birthday by eating a piece or two of cake. Also if you miss out on eating breakfast, you increase the likelihood of succumbing to that temptation, or even grabbing that large muffin or bagel with cream cheese by midmorning.

#3: Bring your own snacksin. This will ensure that you have something to eat to help keep you on track. Some good options include carrots sticks and hummus, dried fruit and nuts, yogurt and fresh fruit, certain energy bars, even whole grain crackers and peanut butter or part skim cheese – anything with some carbohydrate to provide an energy boost and protein so that the energy lasts.

#4: Get up and move: exercise! Taking a 15 minute walk at lunch, the stairs whenever possible, even hand delivering a message instead of sending an email are just a few examples of how you can become more active at the office.

#5: Sip on water during the day. This really does help! If you have a craving for something sweet or salty have a glass of water first before you cave into that craving.

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