NETfacts: Self-care

Is your job making you unhealthy?

Is your desk job putting a few extra pounds on you? Well, you are not alone – according to a CareerBuilder survey released this year, 44 percent of workers say they have gained weight at their current job and more than one-quarter of workers gained over 10 pounds. Those office birthday cakes, candy jars and meeting donuts and muffins are impossible to resist, but the following scenarios may also be having an effect on your weight and health:

Going Out for Lunch

Whether it’s a catered lunch meeting or you just can’t be bothered to brown-bag it from home, eating out at lunch will likely not help your weight-loss efforts. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who ate lunch out at least once a week lost about five fewer pounds than those who at out less often. This may be due to a combination of eating less healthy food and larger portions.


One solution is to bring your own lunch from home and the easiest way is to make extra at dinner and bring the leftovers the next day. If you have to eat out, choose a restaurant with menu options for the health conscious.

You Have a Long Commute

Spending an hour or more each way in cars, trains or buses to go to work is becoming more common, but it also causes two problems: it makes us cranky, tired, and stressed, causing us to eat more comfort food, and it also reduces the free time we could spend exercising.


Since exercise is known to recuce stress, find ways to add movement into your commute. For example, if you take public transportation, get off a few stops earlier and walk. If you drive, park as far away from the door as possible. If you snack while commuting, try packing fruit, raw veggies or nuts as a snack, rather than adding a muffin, donut or croissant with your coffee.

Working Overtime

Working overtime is sometimes necessary, but it can also cause excess stress, as well as take up that much-needed sleep time, which is a bad combination for your hunger hormones. It has been well documented that poeple who sleep only a few hours a night have more junk-food cravings and are prone to weight gain.


Try to plan in advance for those days when overtime is required, by keeping healthy snack options available at the office.

You are Tied to Your Desk

Does it seem like you have a ball-and-chain keeping you tied to your desk all day? The ‘sitting disease’ is a serious matter and is associated with weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and early death. If your job requires extended hours sitting in front of the computer or on the phone, it’s time to make a change.


Find ways to get up from your desk – take a walk at lunch time, take the stairs whenever possible, or even take some phone calls standing up. These simple suggestions will get the blood flowing and the break will also help clear your mind, all which make for a healthier and more productive you!

There may not be a perfect solution, but every little bit helps. Stay healthy, stay happy!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /