17 Ways Your Job Is Making You Fat
Weight gain at work
The truth is, there are lots of reasons your work could be affecting your waistline. "It really has to do with diet, physical activity, and behavior," says Katherine Tryon, a medical doctor with the Vitality Institute, a global research organization based New York City. Here are some potential factors, and how to steer clear of their consequences.
Hours of sitting
Your long commute
Boss on your case again? Try not to freak out: High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can trigger fat and sugar cravings, and can also cause the body to hang onto fat and store it around the midsection. And a 2014 German study found that work-related stress is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
You may also feel like you need to forget healthy habits in order to get ahead, says Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, author of Eating in Color. "Maybe you used to go for a walk at lunch but then you change jobs or get a promotion, and suddenly all eyes are on you," she says. "You may feel like your daily break from the office is no longer acceptable, so you put in the extra time and your weight suffers."
Adults who work multiple jobs, who start work early in the morning, or who commute longer distances are more likely to go without full nights' sleep, according to a 2014 study also by University of Pennsylvania researchers. The authors suggest that flexible start times may help workers get more sleep overall.
Your lunch options
Lack of wellness programs
Candy jars and freebie tables
Coworkers' eating habits
Constant office parties
"Employers may see these events as fun perks that boost company morale, so it can be quite controversial to suggest that they may not be so good for their health," says Dr. Tryon. "The challenge here is in finding ways to celebrate and reward workers that doesn't necessarily involve forcing sugary foods on them."
The vending machines
Instead, try to keep healthy snacks like apples or fruit-and-nut bars at your desk. Before you give into a soda craving, drink a glass of cold water. (Chances are you don't actually need the caffeine, not to mention the calories.) And if you must visit the vending machine, opt for a small pack of unsalted nuts or trail mix, which has protein and healthy fats to fill you up.
Lack of sunlight
Your digital devices
Frequent use of these devices has also been linked to increased rates of sedentary behavior, which can in turn lead to unwanted weight gain. In a 2013 Kent State University study, people who used their cell phones most often were also most likely to forego opportunities for physical activity.
Happy hours and networking events
But calories from alcoholand from those appetizers Susie in accounting just ordered for the tablecan add up quickly. And because booze lowers inhibitions and stimulates appetite, the more you drink, the harder it will be to resist those pre-dinner snacks.