I remember starting a job in a nice part of NW Oregon and gaining at least 10 pounds six months in. We had a delicious snack bar for the patients, and my coworker and I were soon hooked on snacking all day. The problem wasn’t that the snack bar featured rich milk chocolate covered almonds, dried cranberries full of sugar, and salty nuts. The problem was that the snacks were right in front of us and we were eating them all day long. Soon our manager was ordering double the amount of snacks, and we weren’t fitting into our office clothes.
We also happened to be blessed with an incredible boss who’d fork out tasty breakfasts and lunches for the staff and we’d be stupid to say “no” to these delicious meals when our stomachs were growling a little too loudly. By Christmas time my work pants were tight and the buttons on my blazer didn’t want to stay buttoned.
I’m certain we’ve all been in a similar conundrum. Especially when you have a sedentary type of job, like working in an office, excess weight can pile up without you even noticing. You can either grab those donuts your coworker brought in, or you can keep reading to learn 5 ways to avoid overeating at work and use these tips in your day to day life!
1. Don’t Skip Breakfast.
The first and most important step to avoiding weight gain at work is to eat breakfast in the morning. Skipping breakfast isn’t a smart choice when you’re attempting to avoid unhealthy eating at work. Starting your morning with a cold glass of water or black coffee with no added sweetener or creamer can boost your metabolism. Coffee contains essential antioxidants, and lifts your mood. A healthy breakfast gives your body the fuel it needs to get on with your day. Research shows that eating breakfast increases your metabolism more than eating in the evening.
Breakfast tends to go hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle. And losing weight is more than just dieting, it’s changing your entire lifestyle. You have to start thinking about what foods make your body feel good, and which ones make it feel bad. When you skip breakfast, you’ll likely be starving by lunch time which opens up the door to grabbing whatever junk you can to fill up your starving stomach, usually consisting of some sort of greasy fast food. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t skip it. For some healthy breakfast ideas, be sure to check out 4 weight loss breakfast ideas to kick start your day.
2. Be Prepared.
So how exactly do you say “no” to those cookies or in my case chocolate covered almonds if they’re right in front of you? Well, you come to work prepared, that’s how. Bring an alternative with you so that when you’re feeling hungry, you have a healthy snack to munch on instead.
Make yourself a meal replacement shake in the morning and take it with you to work. Right around that in between breakfast and lunch hour you start eyeing the unhealthy snack options around you. But if you have a filling shake that can keep you full until lunch and provide your body with essential nutrients, it’s a win-win!
Other healthy snack ideas can be cottage cheese with berries and honey, sort of a “parfait” if you will. Berries alone, or a banana can also be just the healthy snack you need to keep you satisfied until lunch time.
3. Get A Weight Loss Buddy.
If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have a coworker who has the same weight loss goals as you, then avoiding those chocolate covered almonds can be easier, and losing weight together can even be fun! After all, losing weight with a support system is much easier than doing it alone. Research suggests that having a support system increases an individual’s chance as succeeding at their weight loss goals.
Share healthy recipes with each other, and talk each other out of indulging in fattening guilty pleasures. Get on a fitness app and work on your goal together. With a weight loss buddy you’ll have someone around during summer work outings or holiday parties who can help you get through the party without defaulting from your goal. A weight loss buddy can be an exceptional tool against weight gain at work!
4. No Snacking At Your Desk.
Snacking at your desk all day while you work may be the easiest way to gain weight without even noticing. If you’re constantly working and eating, odds are you’re too busy concentrating on your task to realize what you’re eating and how much of it you’re eating. You need to get up and move during breaks and lunch breaks. If you’re munching at your desk all day, you don’t have a designated time to move and then your body suffers in more ways than one.
Sitting for extended periods of time is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. An individual who sits for 8 hours a day has a 34% higher chance of developing heart failure compared to someone who sits for only 2 hours. Some scientists even compare the health consequences of sitting too much to smoking.
Aside from the health consequences of sitting too much, sitting indoors for too long can curb your creativity, which can make your work suffer. Keeping your desk tidy and crumb free is also good for your productivity. So take your breaks and lunch hour as an opportunity to move!
5. Stay Away From Temptation.
Temptation is everywhere. Temptation is on your Instagram feed, it’s on your Facebook feed, it’s pretty much everywhere you look. At work the best way to resist temptation is to avoid it altogether. In my case with the chocolate covered almonds just 5 feet away from me, it was nearly impossible to avoid but most of the time unhealthy treats dwell on the table in the break room. If you know that’s where Susan put the donuts she brought in, then you know you’d better stay out of the break room that morning!