How Work Affects Our Lifestyle And Our Weight

Lifestyle affecting weight.

Workplace Issues On Weight

Most of us know exactly how much time we spend at work, each day, each week, each month and how much we work over a year. For many of us, it’s a lot. And when we consider that for most of us, working takes up time while we are awake (I hope so), the percentage of waking time at work is significant indeed. So we have to seriously consider our working lifestyle when trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

So what are the workplace issues? Unless your work involves food or drink directly for example working as a chef or cook, chocolate tasting or brewing then the issues are perhaps a little easier to address. If you are a chef etc. then even more thought is necessary.

Some issues are simple to identify. Consider your movement each day. I’m writing this article, sitting down. I have seen several patients today and I sat for these sessions too. I drove between offices and was sitting as I did so. But at weekends I go walking – sometimes for miles and miles. I have a pushbike and have just received a set of new tyres, which I might fit this evening and one of my favourite hobbies is gardening. You might suggest I’m an active chap. But you’d be wrong. None of that can undo the damage I do to my body with all the sitting down and the fat is allowed to build and build whilst the muscle shrinks into the background.

It is also true that those who spend time on their feet, whilst more active than me, still aren’t active enough. The human body needs movement. And we have said on this blog before but it needs repeating that we are usually brilliant at exaggerating the amount we move when it goes unmeasured. So measure it and find out the truth. How self measuring can help us is discussed here.

Sedentary lifestyles are not only bad for our weight measurements but are generally bad for our health.

Sedentary man at work.

A thorough systematic review of the evidence made strong suggestions for health issues including cardio vascular disease – You definitely don’t want this and a study on sedentary work and its effects on obesity highlighted a number of interesting points including sedentary work and a correlation with an increase in obesity but probably more so in men than women and the issue was significantly worse in those who worked over 40 hours a week. But it might be easier to take a few small steps to turn this around. Simply giving people a pedometer and engaging them in a programme of adding and measuring steps had a very positive affect on their waistlines and their heart rates.

But what about our eating habits at work? Similarly to movement and exercise, we might feel we eat healthily because it’s all veggies and lean meat at home but that is where we have the opportunity to prepare properly and give our food proper thought. Consider how many meals you eat at work and how many meals you eat away from the home because of work such as the brekky roll on the way in, the Maccy Ds on the way back and the social eating with colleagues or as part of work engagements. Not to mention lunch which most of us have to eat on the job.

Eating out with friends and family is wonderful for the mind and for the soul and Waetugo likes anything that increases our love of life and engages us with the people that we love.  Our friends at Mind Health Development, the psychological health experts, also tell us that those who socialise with colleagues on a regular basis experience fewer stress issues, so eating out with our workmates must be a good thing. But there is a but. Whenever we eat out, whether at the greasy spoon, a fine restaurant or the staff canteen we abdicate some of our control over the food that we eat. It is very hard to know what all the ingredients the lovely chefs and cooks have utilised to make our food more tasty, the hidden sugars and salts and those darn calories that whilst enhancing our experience they also enhance our waistlines.

And what about the cake and coffee mornings? Charity events with hot beverages and sweet treats at work and other places are increasing – no bad thing, but when added to everything else that trips us up at work they become a liability to our weight loss goals. The idea of eating chocolate cake for a good cause makes it a smoother transition from carrot sticks to gateaux than it might have otherwise been.

We did some research and discovered that it is accepted practice to ditch the cake and join in in some other way which might be giving a small donation rather than purchasing cakes or actually finding healthy foods that no one in your group had tried before adding something of a challenge to the event that might actually increase motivation towards your healthy goals.

Man at standing desk

In summary, work is a big thing and we need to see it as a significant factor in overall lifestyle. Working a sedentary lifestyle is living a sedentary lifestyle. What can you change about this? And food takes up a large part of our working day but might lead us down culinary pathways that we would otherwise avoid.

Taking control of workplace habits gives us a huge step up in our weight loss efforts. Be sure to add your working activities to your journal.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments section below.

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