Maybe you are wondering why your waist keeps expanding. How much did you weigh before starting your present job? How much do you weigh now? Who or what should you blame for this?
The amount of stress you are experiencing at work might be the culprit of your weight gain. It is a sad thing to observe that while some people are climbing the corporate ladder, they are also packing more pounds. Harris Interactive conducted a survey in 2013 of over 3,000 CareerBuilder workers. 41% of the respondents admitted they gained weight with their present jobs. Employees who sit long hours at a desk and have high-stress levels were more prone to weight gain.
55% of them stated that they are too chubby and most of them linked that to their jobs. 25% have gained over 10 extra pounds and women are more likely to gain weight. 53% of the respondents pointed out that sitting at their desks all day is the top reason for this, and roughly 36% of them said they overeat because of stress.
There’s loads of evidence that too much sitting is harmful, and the number of “knowledge workers” fastened to their chairs for long hours is one reason why obesity in the United States is increasing. Furthermore, while many seem more conscious of their health than ever, approximately 80% who gained weight in the survey admitted that they eat snack many times at work, most probably not the healthy carrot sticks.
Still, it’s apparent that stress is the main cause of work-related weight gain. 77% of the respondents say that they are heavier now with extremely high stress. It was reported that employees who have extremely stressful jobs are 53% more likely to become overweight than those who have less stressful jobs.
Many scientists have been doing several studies on the relationship between feeling under intense pressure for prolonged periods of time and expanding waist. Stress increases the body’s production of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone makes a person crave foods high in sugar, fat, or both.
Exercise is one of the best antidotes of this kind of scenario. The CareerBuilder survey states that wellness programs sponsored by employers, which were aimed to encourage people to exercise more without having to leave the premises are very important. But, only a quarter of the workers in this survey have access to fitness amenities, and only a small group actually uses them.
A medical doctor from the Vitality Institute named Katherine Tryon once said that there are plenty of reasons a person’s work could affect his waistline. Diet, behaviour, and physical activity have something to do with it too. Vitality Institute is a New York-based global research organization.
Here are different factors that can influence your weight, and ways to shove clear of their negative effects.
Sitting At The Desk For Long Hours
Having little or no physical activity is the most noticeable root cause of work-related weight gain. Sitting at the desk most of the day is the primary reason for the expanding waistlines. A research shows individuals who walk or stand throughout the day burn more calories, which means lesser pounds gained in the long run. But, a British study in 2013 failed to find a strong connection between the times spent sitting and overweight. It is true that sedentary behaviour definitely does not help, clearly, there are other factors bolstering weight gain as well.
The Long Commute
An average American spends almost half an hour commuting to work and then again going home. This is a fact published by the US Census Bureau. According to the American Community Survey, 86% of employees commute by car.
Workers who take public transport to and from their workplaces are likely to have lower BMIs than those who drive or ride in a vehicle. Dr. Tryon suggested that companies need to consider ways to turn commuting into a vigorous activity. It would be better that businesses offer bike racks and showers to their workers.
Unhealthy Options For Lunch
Workers who work in locations with plenty of drive-thrus are more likely to get some food. According to a British study in 2014, these people are expected to have higher BMIs.
In reality, people with the easiest access to takeout joints are twice as likely to be obese. If you lack healthy options for lunch nearby, you should make an effort to make and pack your own meal ahead of time.
Having your meals at your desk every single day works against the waistline in so many ways. With this practice, you are unable to fully experience eating. Because you are making phone calls, answering emails, checking a website while eating, you are not focusing on the enjoying your food.
Doing these things all at the same time makes you forget that you have eaten lunch. You may also unconsciously grab something else, not realizing that you had just eaten a full meal.
Poor Eating Habits of Your Coworkers
If you often go to lunch with your colleagues, there is a very high possibility that their poor dietary choices may pass into you. The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics identified that individuals are likely to conform to the “eating customs” in social settings.
If your co-workers are ordering high-fats or high-sugar foods, you are more likely to do it also. This makes a lot of sense, particularly in a work setting. It is normal for you to wish to fit in. It would be much easier at work if you just go along with the crowd, even if it’s unhealthy.
Candy Jars and Freebies
In a workplace, for certain, there is someone who always has a bowl of candy out. If you are a dieter or a stress eater, this person is a huge enemy. When someone puts something delicious on display, people are going to eat much more of it compared when those treats are tucked away in a drawer.
The same principle is applicable for the leftover desserts lurking in the office kitchen. If there is a general area for sweet treats, it is hard to resist such temptation.
The Vending Machines
When you are too busy and the cafeteria is too far away, your saviour will be the vending machines. Unfortunately, most of the snack options are very low in nutrients and high in calories.
Try to make your snacks healthy by having fruit-and-nut bars at your desk. Drink a glass of cold water before giving into a soda craving. Choose a small pack of trail mix or unsalted nuts if you ever visit the vending machine. Pick something packed with healthy fats and protein.
Extreme Stress At Work
High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, can trigger sugar and fat cravings. It can also make your body hang onto fat and accumulate it around your midsection. A German study in 2014 discovered that on-the-job stress is an obvious risk factor for diabetes (Type 2).
Also, people who are promoted are feeling so much pressure to please the bosses while managing more people and projects. It seems they forget to exercise and relax. With bigger responsibility, you may feel that all eyes are on you, and office breaks are no longer suitable. While you devote extra time to work, your weight suffers.
The Late Nights
Workers who work until midnight to meet all deadlines or manage heavy workloads may blame their lack of sleep for excess weight gain. In 2013, a University of Pennsylvania study stated that those adults who lack or only got 4 hours of shuteye for 5 nights in a row gained more weight compared to those who got 8 full hours of sleep. This is because of the extra high-calorie meals they eat during late hours at night.
It is highly suggested that you find a way to start work earlier to get more sleep.
It is very important to highlight that job-related obesity does not end when you leave the workplace. In a very connected world today, many workers find themselves very hooked to their mobile devices even in their off hours, making it more difficult for them to get away from work stress and demands.
A study confirmed that frequent use of these devices is connected to the increased rates of deskbound behaviour. This can lead to unwanted weight gain. Individuals who used their phones and other gadgets very often were more likely to miss out opportunities for physical activities according to a Kent State University study in 2013.