5 Reasons your job may be making you fat?

5 Reasons your job may be making you fat?

fat

By Karin Eldor
Monster Contributing Writer


It can be a hard truth to digest: since you’ve been working at your current job, your waistline has started expanding. The only thing you really want to see growing are your career opportunities and paychecks, but instead you’re feeling sluggish and no longer fit into any of your clothing (insert sad face emoji here).
 
So why is this happening?
 
There are physiological factors at play, as well as psychological ones. We can’t all be like Victoria Beckham and type away on our computers while on the treadmill (yes, there are pictures of her doing this; just Google it).
 
And gaining weight isn’t just about aesthetics or vanity: weight gain and an overall unhealthy lifestyle can lead to risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer – just to name a few.
 
Let’s weigh in on why you’re putting on the pounds at work and what you can do stop it from happening.
 
The causes:
 
#1- Stress
 
The negative and sometimes even dangerous effects that stress has on our bodies and minds can merit a whole article – and likely an entire chapter – on their own. Of course stress can come from all aspects of your life, but sometimes work, with its long hours and high demands, can put an extra layer of stress on even the calmest person.
 
For starters, the physiological effects of stress can lead to bloating and swelling. According to an article in The Huffington Post, stress makes our intestines more prone to irritation, causing us to feel “blimpier.” To make matters worse, that increased feeling of being overwhelmed causes us to swallow more air, one of the causes of bloating.
 
There’s also emotional eating, highly caused by stress. That overwhelmed feeling can often tempt us to reach for comfort foods, either very high in sugar and carbs, or very salty and greasy (all scenarios = not ideal).
 
The cure:
 
Try to combat stress by carving out a few minutes in the morning to practice mindfulness  and exercise your meditation muscle. It can do wonders for the rest of your day.
 
Exercise is also a huge way to help cope with stress and weight gain. If you don’t have time to hit the gym during lunch or after work (let’s get real, your only way to wind down after work includes Netflix and your couch), try taking a 20-minute power walk during lunch just to get moving.
 
If the stress persists at work, it will likely cause additional challenges, such as…
 
 
#2- Lack of sleep
 
Not getting a full deep sleep can have harmful effects on your health as well as your mind: sleep is a factor in being able to use your mind to its fullest. When you’re sleep deprived, you tend to gravitate towards sugary & junky foods to keep your energy levels up (it’s a type of emotional eating) – and then you crash. You also tend to make bad decisions, since you’re not thinking with a clear mind. (Pass the chips and let’s call it a day.)
 
Sleep deprivation also takes a toll on your metabolism and slows it down – so whatever you (over)eat has even more of an impact on your weight.
 
 
The cure:
 
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Get more zzz’s. Trouble is, it’s easier said than done. Lack of time and not making sleep enough of a priority makes it challenging to carve out the hours needed to get solid slumber.
 
Download an app like Sleep Cycle to track your sleeping quality. The “sweet spot” number of how many hours of sleep you need is still unconfirmed, now it’s all about the quality of sleep.
 
As well, make your bedtime routine sacred.  This means no gadgets (i.e. laptops, tablets or phones) in the bedroom so you can sleep soundly.
 
 
#3- Sitting at your desk – all day
 
Our bodies aren’t built to stay seated all day. And turns out that sitting at your desk for countless hours can have worse physiological effects on our bodies than originally suspected.
 
According to a study published in Harper’s Bazaar’s “Health & Wellness” section, prolonged desk-sitting causes the receptors on our muscles to become more resistant to insulin, which can also cause the metabolism to decrease. Basically “the machinery of your muscles stop working the way they’re designed to.” And your posture will also take a hit.
 
Forget TV dinners, now “PC Dinners” is actually a thing: dinner for you and your laptop, so you can work while you eat, even at night! Shameful, but so many of us are guilty.
 
The cure:
 
As hard as it might be, try to avoid eating lunch at your desk – even 20 minutes away can do wonders and will in turn help your productivity levels.
 
Need to ask your coworker question? Walk over to their desk, just to give yourself that break. Set your alarm every hour as a reminder to get up, stretch and move a little. And take the stairs whenever you can.
 
#4- Social pressure
 
Remember that classic Seinfeld episode where Elaine gets frustrated about all the “get well soon” cake situations at J. Peterman’s office? It's lovely to celebrate your teammates’ good news & promotions, but the occasion is usually marked with a treat, making it challenging to not join in with some cake. Add to this the frequent team lunches and holiday parties and you’ve got a real gluttonous affair.
 
The cure:
 
If the celebration is for a friend of yours, offer to make or pick up the cake – this way you can ensure it isn’t super junky. Or offer to bring along some fruit or another healthier alternative. Attend the “Happy Birthday/Get Well Soon/ Congratulations” song and dance, just try to resist the urge to binge.
 
#5- Unhealthy temptations
 
Out of sight, out of mind, right? When the food options are endless, it’s tough to fight the urge to overeat and over-snack. All. Day. Long. From the double whip chocolate latte (with a croissant) on your morning commute, to the awesome food courts and restaurants located near your office, the temptation to cave and eat fast food and sugary, buttery treats is everywhere. Even your office cafeteria has these killer cookies that are free after 4:30, and go so well with your afternoon tea…
 
The cure:
 
For starters, have a healthy breakfast at home and brown bag your lunch (and your breakfast if you find it challenging to eat at home before heading out). This will prevent you from hitting up the restaurants and food courts – it’s also a much more economical alternative. If anything, allow yourself one day a week to indulge in food court lunches with your coworkers.
 
As well, always keep a stash of healthy snacks and energy boosters at the office so you don’t cave and eat those vending machine culprits. Some good examples include Greek yogurt with blueberries, edamame, almonds, almond butter and apples, and even popcorn. And finally keep a 1L bottle of water at your desk so you don’t forget to drink (or walk over to the water cooler every hour to ensure you get up and stretch). Sometimes you might think you’re hungry but are actually thirsty (these signals often get mixed up) – so aim for drinking 8 cups of water a day.
 
Make 2015 a year of taking these steps towards healthier eating and living, and you’ll feel better all around. A healthier lifestyle and getting the sleep you need, will only serve to make you sharper at work too – so it’s a win-win all around!