|Friday, October 22
Nine of the 10 surveyed admitted they had gained significant weight since taking their job. They did not take time to eat right nor exercise regularly. Whether they worked at home or in an office, food was always available. Most nibbled while they worked, although two people surveyed did not eat at their computer to protect the keyboard.
Those that gained weight said that job stress made them crave junk food and sweets, and removed the motivation to exercise. Foods most frequently eaten to relieve stress were candy, cookies and salty crunchy foods like cheese curls, peanuts and fruit. The long sedentary hours caused one person to admit she got through the time wondering what to snack on next. Many admitted they had little interest or energy for cooking a balanced meal at the end of the day.
Do any of these peoples habits sound familiar? The pitfalls of the job can be avoided with a change in mindset and some basic planning. Here are some recommendations that may help you change the destructive behaviors.
Plan a Schedule
If you are working at home, mimic the office workday. Get up, exercise, get dressed and start working by 8:30. Take a 15-minute coffee/stretch break at 10:30. Stop for an hour lunch and some personal time. Plan a 3 p.m. break, and get away from the computer by 5:30. This may seem obvious, but some computer whizzes lose track of time and work through lunch, eat junk at 3:00, miss dinner with the family, and eat more junk in the evening.
Dinner is a transition from the workday. Tinkering around in the kitchen can be relaxing and rewarding -- you get to eat what you make! If you get to the grocery store regularly and have a good supply of healthy food on hand, you might enjoy cooking. It saves time and money, too.
Habit is another reason to eat: Every time you walk by your co-workers desk, you just have to take a piece of candy from her candy jar. Lastly, it is well-known that sugar and sweets reduce stress by calming our nervous system.
Learn to recognize real hunger -- and eat only when hungry. And, strive to stop when the hunger has been satisfied; do not wait until you feel full -- that is probably too much food. If you think about eating, and you cannot identify any hunger, then try to determine why you want to eat: Do you need a break, a chat or a different task to work on?
Get Turned on to Good Food
Because of the complexity of some programming, you often have to sit in concentration for a long time. Still, you are human; you have a limited attention span. Take a break and walk outside. Physical exercise will refresh your body and your mind, plus burn calories. You will be more alert when you return to work. You connect with the real world by getting outside; the computer screen can be dehumanizing.
If you are a computer jock, switch to a puzzle or e-mail a friend. Figure out what helps you clear your head and get back to work with a renewed vigor. Long unproductive hours do not help you or your employer. If you must take a food break, make a healthy food choice.
You must plan regular exercise. For all that sitting, your body needs aerobic movement a minimum of three hours a week. Fitness and muscle mass deteriorate fast, so make appointments with yourself to get moving!
Your work has the potential to be hazardous to your health. Take care of your body with exercise and diet.