Workplace Weight Loss: Why it's Hard to Lose Weight at Work

Workplace Weight Loss: Why it's Hard to Lose Weight at Work

The workplace is a prime setting for taking a fall off of the dieting wagon. The office serves as a representation of a gathering of all things that are anti-diet. The challenges are plentiful; unhealthy snacks, fat and calorie ridden employee luncheons, and fresh backed cookies around every corner.

Couple all of these tasty temptations with the stress and sometimes nearly soul-stealing boredom that you encounter on the job, and you’ve created the ultimate diet disaster.

Foreseeing the workplace weight loss barriers can actually make it easier to cope with. When you’re mentally prepared, you have a better chance of sticking to your diet plans and not throwing your goals to the wind.

Here’s what you’re up against when you’re trying to lose weight and what you can do to work around it.

The Diet Saboteurs; also known as diet bullies, ill wishers, or the “you’re getting fatter with me’s”

You will come across people who, whether it be consciously or not, attempt to derail your diet efforts. It could be via snide remarks, or offers of tasty treats. Just remind yourself that you want to be fit and healthy, and it will be easy to gracefully laugh off their attempts.

The Mindless Boredom Binge; aka the “well, eating this cupcake in my cubicle will give me something exciting to do for 3 minutes” mindset
If you find eating at all enjoyable (which is totally normal and understandable), it can be a challenge to try to lose weight at work; sometimes you might find yourself just wanting to eat for something to do! Arm yourself with healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day- not "100 calorie" cookie packs, but fruits and veggies, and when you're truly not hungry, seek out conversation instead of food.

The Stress Munchies; commonly brought on by pressing deadlines and coworkers giving you the stink eye
Reaching for food might be the most common response to stress but it's definitely not the most effective. When you're feeling overwhelmed on the job, take a 5-15 minute break; walk around the building, call a friend, crack open a book, stretch your muscles, watch a funny YouTube video; just don't add to your stresses by grazing on junk food.

Criticism of your diet; because some coworkers will inevitably be completely perplexed by you not wanting to eat a half dozen doughnuts for breakfast
You can come up with witty remarks to defend your healthy choices if you like, but in all reality, it's a personal matter and it's none of anyone's business. A coworker giving you a hard time for trying to lose weight is no better than you saying "lay off the potato chips, Fatty". Don't let nosy people who overstep their boundaries be the reason you stop making progress.

Employee Lunch Dates; where you get to watch everyone else take down a 3 pound burger with fries
This is an easy hurdle to fix; suggest eating at a restaurant with healthier food options on the menu. Even the worst restaurants have started offering healthy menu items. You could also always start packing your own lunches.

The Sedentary Cubicle; because even if you tried to pace for exercise, you’d only be able to take 2 strides before you'd have to turn around
If you put in 40 or more hours a week at a desk job and you aren't deliberately incorporating exercise into your routine, you likely are not moving enough to lose weight or stay healthy. Sedentary desk jobs can make it hard to stay active but you absolutely must make exercise a priority. Aside from committing to trips to the gym during the week or even just daily walks, there are things that you can do at work, too. To name just a few ideas; get up and stretch often, spend your breaks walking, or eat lunch at your desk (if possible) and you can sneak in a workout on your lunch hour. Packing a gym bag that's ready to go after your day is over can also serve as motivation.