How to Lose Weight at Work

5 Simple Ways to Lose Weight at Work

how to lose weight at work
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Has your busy job schedule kept you from losing weight? If so, I've got a few ideas for you. Simple habit changes can help you to lose weight at work. With a dose of creativity, a little bit of advanced planning and a willingness to connect with your coworkers you can make new friends, burn more calories and eat less to change your body. Sound easy? It is! 

Scan this list of quick and simple ways to slim down in the office. Don't worry if you can't make every healthy change. Just make as many small adjustments as possible to see a change in your mood, your energy level and the number of calories you burn during your work day.  If you eat less and move more, you're likely to see some results on the scale.

Stop Eating Lunch at Your Desk

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What's the first change you should make to lose weight at work? "Stop eating lunch at your desk," says Brian Wansink, Ph.D..  Wansink is a professor at and the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab where he studies the most effective habit changes for weight loss. As part of his Slim By Design Program, he teaches workers to move away from their desks to eat fewer calories at meal time and snack less often. 

When you work through lunchtime, you're likely to overeat out of distraction and the work you get done during that time is not likely to be productive anyway.  And then what happens when we don't get a break? "We often grind away and feel a tad martyr-like or resentful," says Wansink, and that can lead to overeating later in the day.

Don't Leave a Candy Bowl Uncovered

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Another big office no-no is the candy bowl that sits on your desk. According to his recent study, Dr. Wansink found that "people who had candy in or near their desk reported weighing 15.4 pounds more than those who didn't."  He suggests that you move the candy bowl at least 6 feet away to eat an estimated 125 fewer calories each day.  He also says you can cover the bowl so you don't see the sweets.

Don't have a cover for the candy bowl?  Fill it with fruit, says Regina Vaicekonyte, MS, a New York City nutritionist. She suggests that workers wash the produce before placing it in the bowl so that it’s ready to eat at any time. "In addition," she says, " vary the fruit and vegetable selection slightly each week. That way you’ll be more inclined to snack on them due to constant variation."

Make Your Workspace Inconvenient

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If you eat less at the office, you're likely to slim down. But you can also increase your activity level to burn more calories and lose weight at work. Nutritionist Vaicekonyte explains how to make it happen with simple changes to your workspace.

"One simple way to add small amounts of physical activity in the office is to position frequently used items such as a printer or trash/recycle cans away from the desk. That way, you'll get up and move every time you need to use them which can add many extra steps throughout the day."

Think that your extra steps to the trash can won't make a difference? Think again. Calories burned from non-exercise activity can add up to hundreds or even thousands of calories in the course of a day.

Bring Your Lunch

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Another simple and budget-friendly way to lose weight at work is to bring your own lunch.  Why? "Because you usually pack a homemade lunch on a full stomach," says Dr. Wansink.  He explains that we generally make our lunch after a big meal and we are likely to put more thought into the foods that we choose.

When you buy your lunch at work, you're not likely to be as careful. "You're generally starving," says Wansink, "and will inevitably end up with something that's a lot less healthy and has a lot more calories."

Make New Friends

Burn more calories at work
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You're more likely to stick to your habit changes and even add a few more if you get support from your coworkers at the office. You may even find out that many of them share your weight loss goals. You can hold each other accountable to the habit changes you've made and inspire each other to make even more.  Need a few ideas?

  • Take short meetings on the road. Walk with coworkers instead of sitting in the conference room when you need to solve problems or discuss issues.
  • Make healthy Slim By Design changes to the lunchroom to inspire all workers to eat home-packed lunches instead of going to fast food restaurants.
  • Skip the office happy hour and plan healthy post-work activities instead. Or use short afternoon breaks to connect with coworkers during a healthy stroll in the neighborhood.

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