Nourish: Why Your Job Might Be Making You Fat
If you make your living as a pastry chef or a restaurant critic, you might consider unwanted extra weight to be an occupational hazard. But your job doesn’t have to require taste-testing in order for it to cause you to pack on extra pounds. If you find yourself agreeing with any of the statements below, your job may be hazardous to your health:
"I hate my job."
People who don’t like the work they do often eat as a reward for having endured yet another day on the job. After spending 8 to 10 hours doing something that brings them no joy, they feel like the least they can do for themselves is to eat a burger or a slice of pie – or both. One bad day every now and then is to be expected, but year after year of working in a job that you hate will have a cumulative negative effect on your waistline and your overall health.
"I sit at a desk all day."
Sedentary jobs are a challenge because people who have them burn fewer calories that people who work in active jobs. It’s not uncommon for an office worker to wake up, sit in a car, sit at a desk, sit at lunch, sit at a desk again, sit in the car again, sit at the dinner table and then sit on the couch until bedtime! This pattern of sitting nearly all day depresses the metabolism and can cause unwanted weight gain over time.
"My job is high-stress."
If you’re an ER doctor, a 911 operator or anything that causes you daily stress, you may be prone to overeating as a coping mechanism. Stress eating is often done mindlessly, and we rarely reach for carrots or apples when we’re not thinking! Instead, we often dig into chips, cookies, crackers or candy. Chronic stress can lead to chronic mindless eating, and those extra calories add up to extra pounds.
If you can relate to the points in this article, you need to take steps to bring your work life in sync with your health goals. If you’re not able to make a career switch, you can still pay attention to the places where your job is getting in the way of your health and make choices to ensure you make your health a priority.
Helping people find ways to prioritize their health despite the stressors in their lives is exactly what we do at Nourish; here are just a few tips you may want to try:
bullets If you don’t like your job but aren’t able to make a change, find other ways to bring joy and pleasure into your day, so that you’re not craving food rewards. Some ideas? Use those unlimited cell phone minutes to call a friend on the way to work, go out to lunch with a colleague instead of eating at your desk, take a lunchtime window-shopping break or find a favorite blog or two to read for a lift during your day.
If you’re desk-bound, try building movement breaks into your day. Walk down the hall for a glass of water, park your car in the farthest spot from the door, go for a walk at lunch with a friend or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every step counts!
If your job is very stressful, look for ways to bring moments of calm to your day. Try a yoga class, learn some simple breathing exercises, listen to soothing music on your iPod and avoid excessive caffeine.
Of course, the very best thing you can do is to find a career that you love, that brings you joy every day and that leaves you exhilarated even after many hours of work. If you’re not sure what that job might be, keep searching. As someone who has found her dream job, I can tell you there’s nothing else quite like it to cast a healthy glow over your entire life!