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10 Tips to Healthy Work Lifestyle

Updated on December 23, 2012

Noise and A Chocolate Fix

If you waitress in a noisy bar or work next door to a construction site – you’re more likely to reach for snacks between meals. Research from Penn State University showed that people exposed to more noise while solving problems eat more than those who worked in silence. In particular, the noise-stressed group craved unhealthy snacks like chips and chocolate. To counter noise pollution during your work day, put your phone on silent when meeting a deadline, switch off the radio, turn down the speaker on your computer and switch off your mobile during lunch. Something to consider, maybe?

Caffeine Overload

Ever noticed you pee more often after too many coffees? That’s because caffeine acts as a diuretic, “For every caffeine drink you need to drink twice the amount of water to make up the fluid lost,” says dietitian Libby Ellis. “If not you could become dehydrated,” In turn this can make you eat more because the brain often mixes up the hunger and thirst signals – telling you to eat when in fact you need to drink. So instead of your regular caffeine hits at work, Ellis suggests you: “Switch to herbal tea or a coffee substitute like dandelion tea, which is great for your liver.”

Stress Goes To Your Waistline

Do you often oversleep, skip breakfast, miss the bus and arrive at work stressed to the max? Then those stress hormones could be widening your waistline. There’s lots of evidence showing stress itself can cause weight gain around the middle,” says nutritionist, David Cameron-Smith. “When we’re stressed our adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol, designed to help you survive a crisis. It’s a hangover from our caveman days when famine was common – so cortisol makes you store fat just in case you have to go for a lengthy time without food, “This fat occurs most obviously in our most active fat cells – in the abdomen, “This is also where fat storage is the most dangerous because it drains quickly to the liver,” adds Cameron-Smith.

The next time you’re stressed at work, go for a walk around the block or sit at your desk, close your eyes and take out 10 minutes to tense and relax all the muscles in your body from head to toe.

Work Back, Eat More, Sleep Less

If you work long hours then you’re more likely to have developed unhealthy eating habits such as snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods and overdosing regularly on caffeine. That’s the finding of an English study conducted at the University of Leads, which not only found that women snack more than men when they work overtime. It’s hardly surprising, but it’s not the only reason why overtime increases your waist measurement.

The other big problem with working back late is that it can take a while to unwind when you finally get home. This may mean that you are fitting in far less sleep than is healthy – a problem given the growing number of studies that show that getting too few zzzs can cause weight gain. One study found that after 2 nights of sleeping for only 4 hours, people experienced a 20% drop in leptin, a hormone that tells your brain “I’m full”. Meanwhile, the chemicals that signal “I’m hungry” rose by 20%. Set timelines for tasks so that you stay on track for deadlines and go to lunch to gossip rather than wasting too much time chatting at he water dispenser. Also, try to say no to unwind over a nightcap with colleagues and get home at a reasonable hour.

Mid-morning Energy Slump

Do you often grab a muffin on your way to work or eat sugar-laden cereals for breakfast? Then by mid-morning, you’re likely to crash. Highly processed foods are not only high in kilojoules, sugar and fat, they’re also digested too quickly and cause a sudden blood sugar level drop a few hours later which makes us then crave a sweet snack for energy.

Start your day instead with stewed fruit followed by a wholegrain like a rolled oat muesli; their low glycaemic index (GI) means they are digested more slowly and give you a steadier supply of energy. It’s also important to have some form of protein – like an egg.

Shifting Meals Time

Studies show that shift-workers are more prone to be overweight. One contributing factor may be that they eat when their body clocks are gearing up to slow down. Research suggests our bodies may not process carbohydrates as efficiently after 8pm at night, when digestive enzymes and metabolic rate are lower. So if you’re working odd hours, try eating your main meal in the afternoon, then taking light and healthy snacks or mini-meals for evening breaks at work.

Colleague’s birthdays

If you’re in a large organization, staff birthdays roll around all too often which means you’re constantly scoffing on cake. To feel involved without tucking in to a three-tier sponge, take the piece offered and hide it well, then offer it to your boyfriend later. Or bake a low-fat muesli slice and bring it in as your birthday offering. Then you can join in the celebration guilt-free!

Desk Job

It’s bleedingly obvious that If you sit at a desk all day then you’re going to be getting far less exercise which could lead to work-related weight gain down the track. You might not think about this now but down the track it could lead you to go up a few dress sizes. Fitness experts now recommend that we take an average of 10,000 steps a day to maintain weight and prevent weight gain. It is found that the profession you work has a great influence on how inactive you are during your workday-with secretaries, lawyers and teachers getting the least activity

Colleagues Who Snack

First your boss bought in some leftover banana muffins, then the woman at the next desk pigged out on chips at morning tea and now your best friend at work has offered you some leftover lasagna. It’s hard to maintain your willpower to eat really healthy foods when everyone around you is snacking all day. To get around this problem tell all you colleagues to please not offer you any treats or leftovers they bring in to work- say they’d be doing you a favor by helping you maintain your healthy eating plan. It also helps to keep some healthy snacks like nuts, crackers and fruit at your desk so that you can fill up on something healthy when the smell of their snacks makes you feel hungry.

Nine-to-five burnout

A recent study of more than 7,000 women and 1,800 men found that being burned out by a stressful job can prove a fast track to piling on the kilos. Curious how your attitude to work compares? Then consider the following statements, which were given to the men and women in the study and decide how many you agree with:

· I feel totally worn out after a work day.

· I feel tired in the mornings

· I have to work too hard

· I feel like I’m totally exhausted

· My work is definitely too stressful

· I worry about my work even when I’m off duty.

If you agreed with 4 or more of the above statements then according to the study, you qualify as having work-related fatigue. Women who felt they were completely burned out by their job were more at risk of weight gain. When you’re worn out by work you’re more likely to reach for snacks, less likely to exercise, or a combination of both. Regardless of the root causes, if just thinking about work makes you feel exhausted then you need to consider ways to improve the problem.

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    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      Unfortunately I tend to drink too much coffee, and slouch at my desk... Great tips!

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