Workers Can Keep Off the Pounds in the Workplace

Posted: May 07, 2009 12:01 AM

Stressed workers look to food as a source of comfort during these hard economic times. As a result, employees find themselves putting on the pounds. Forty-three percent of workers say, according to a survey that questioned more than 4,400 workers, they have experienced a weight increase at their current jobs.

Twenty-five percent of workers gained more than 10 pounds, while 12 percent of employees added at least 20 pounds. When looking at genders, women are more likely to experience a weight increase than men in their present office positions.

"Weight gain in the office is common and is a result of a variety of issues including today's economic stress and poor eating habits," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources.

"Making little adjustments to your routine, such as bringing your lunch to work, getting up from your desk during the day, and walking instead of driving or taking public transportation will help curb some of your financial worries, while making you healthier."

Look to change your eating habits while at the office. Thirty-nine percent of respondents go out to eat for lunch at least twice per week, which makes it difficult to manage portions and calories. And 12 percent of workers find their lunches in a vending machine more than once a week. Add more nutritious items to your diet by bringing your own lunch.

Reduce the amount of snacking during the day. Sixty-seven percent of respondents need at least one snack a day, while 24 percent of them reach for a treat twice a day.

Lunch can be a great opportunity to do some exercises at the gym, although only 9 percent of workers choose to work off the pounds during the workday. A larger number of employees could gain more motivation to stay fit, especially since 25 percent of companies now offer workout facilities, gym passes or wellness advantages.

Haefner provides tips to keep off the extra pounds:

-- Make a hearty breakfast before you leave in the morning. You are more likely to prepare a healthy meal and finish it when at home. If you choose to eat at your desk, you will probably get distracted from finishing breakfast once you start answering the phone or replying to e-mails.

-- Keep hydrated with water. Place water or another healthy beverage on your desk to avoid dehydration.

-- Record what you are eating. If you see your daily consumption in writing, it is easier to alter your eating habits.

-- Add exercise to the daily routine. Take the stairs, go to a co-worker's office instead of calling, walk on your lunch break, etc. More movement can help keep the weight down.

-- Manage your stress. Exercise more often to eliminate extra stress. Talk to your manager if your workload becomes overwhelming. Avoid looking to food as a stress reliever.