We may be tightening our belts because of tough economic times, but that hasn’t prevented us from gaining weight at work. A survey conducted last winter of more than 4,800 U.S. workers found that 44 percent have gained weight in their present jobs. Nearly one-third reported that stress was a contributing factor.
“Especially in this economy, it is easier to pick up unhealthy eating habits in the office as workers spend more time on heavier workloads and less time on themselves,” said Rosemary Haefner of Careerbuilder.com, which conducted the survey.
Twenty-eight percent of workers have gained more than 10 pounds. Nearly half of the participants reported that sitting at their desks for most of the day had contributed to their weight gain. Eating out regularly, joining workplace celebrations, and skipping meals because of time constraints were other factors.
Haefner offered these tips for balancing work and weight:
1) Make an eating plan. Knowing when you’ll eat and snack during the day can help control hunger.
2) Brown bag it. Half the survey participants said they eat out five times a week or more. Most also snack during the day. By bringing your food from home, you can control portions, consume fewer calories, and save money.
3) Move! Only 9 percent of workers exercise during their lunch hour. Using the stairs, walking over to coworkers instead of phoning or emailing, or getting off the train or bus a stop early are ways to sneak in some exercise.
“Employers know that employees who are healthier and have less stress are more productive and ultimately stay longer in their positions,” Haefner said. “We continue to see employers taking a more proactive role in their staff’s health by offering perks such as gym passes, onsite workout facilities, wellness benefits, and even contests to promote healthy living.”