8 Tips to Watch Your Waistline at the Office

Weight gain and health problems aren't inevitable consequences of cube life.

learn more about Natasha Withers

By Natasha Withers

Reuters | Brendan McDermid
Nestle candy products

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've worked hard to build a business, but late nights, mindless snacking and long, sedentary days spent staring at a computer have taken a toll on your health -- and your waistline.

Sound familiar?

Staying in shape and maintaining a healthy weight can be especially challenging in an office environment. One workplace study found that participants ate more than twice as many Hershey's Kisses when the chocolates were in close proximity to their desk versus across the room. And Australian researchers found that men who spent more than six hours a day sitting are nearly twice as likely to be overweight than those who sit for less than 45 minutes a day (women spend an average of 20 more minutes on their feet at the office than men).

It's not all about vanity pounds, either: Harvard researchers found that the more time participants spent sitting at work, driving or watching TV, the greater their risk of dying from heart disease, cancer or stroke.

But weight gain and health problems aren't inevitable consequences of office life and can easily be avoided if you take the right measures to initiate and maintain good habits. Here are some tips for watching your waistline, even while building your business:

Related: Live a Healthier Life by Making Consistency Work for You

Keep a big glass or bottle of water on hand, and refill often. Oftentimes we mistake thirst for hunger.

  1. Avoid candy and treats by packing crunchy snacks like carrots and apple slices to satisfy your cravings for something to chew on.
  2. Get up and get active, even if it's just a lap around the office or a few minutes walking up and down the stairs. Set an alarm or use an app to remind yourself to get moving for a few minutes every hour.
  3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator as often as possible. Even if you work in a skyscraper, you can get off the elevator a few floors early and fit in a mini workout.
  4. Use your lunch hour as a fitness break. Instead of sitting in the lunchroom or at a restaurant, use your time to walk outside or hit the gym for a noontime class.
  5. Pack a lunch. Spend time on Sunday evening preparing lunches for the week, and avoid the temptation of office splurges or high-calorie local eateries. Make sure meals have a healthy balance of protein, fat and carbs.
  6. Plan walking meetings. Instead of spending even more time sitting in a conference room, schedule walking meetings so you and your colleagues can talk business and get moving. Prepare an agenda that can easily be viewed on your smartphone or tablet during the walk.
  7. Start a fitness club with coworkers to help motivate each other and stay accountable. Whether it's running, cycling, yoga or zumba, make it a point to meet once a week and do something active.

Related: 7 Essential Habits of a Healthy Entrepreneur

Natasha Withers

Physician at One Medical Group

Dr. Natasha Withers is a New York City-based physician at One Medical Group. She has expertise in all aspects of primary care as well as extensive training in osteopathic medicine.

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