Bringing Healthy Changes to Work
Over the past 50 years, the typical environment of the American workplace has undergone a great shift. In 1960, about half of all positions required some level of physical activity. Working conditions required that people stand all day as they physically work with machinery and engage with co-workers. Today, only about 20 percent of full-time positions have any physical demands.
The majority of employment opportunities now permit you to work at a desk and look at a computer screen all day. This is not conducive to weight loss—especially as your desk slowly becomes a hiding place for snacks.
Moving less frequently is associated with an increased risk for several health complications, including:
- Heart disease
- Type-2 diabetes
- Chronic hip, back and shoulder pain
- Metabolic disease
Exercising for thirty minutes a day can’t undo 23.5 hours of sedentary behavior, just as eating healthily at home doesn’t eliminate unhealthy snacking at the office. To fully embrace a healthier way of life after weight loss surgery, let these changes seep into every aspect of your life—including your work life.
Exercising at Work
If your work environment doesn’t naturally call for physical activity, then you may need to incorporate it yourself. Once you are fully recovered from weight loss surgery and have clearance from Dr. Taylor to begin exercising, talk to your employer about ways that you can add more activity to your workday.
Doing so can benefit more than just your weight loss efforts. In 2011 Swedish researchers found that employees who took time out of their workday to concentrate on their health and become active were more productive overall than those who remained sedentary all day.
The type of activity that you can incorporate into your work routine is often low-impact, which makes it ideal for you following weight loss surgery. These include:
- Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair
- Standing at your desk
- Taking lunchtime walks
- Making meetings mobile by walking as you talk instead of gathering at a table
- Circling your feet under your desk or peddling on an under-desk stationary bike
- Pacing as you talk on the phone
Eating Healthier at Work
A recent study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women who ate out frequently had a more difficult time losing weight compared with those who prepared their own meals. Lunch was especially associated with weight gain.
After weight loss surgery, your choices for dining out will be limited, and the oversized portions served at fast food restaurants will be much more than you can eat comfortably. Avoid the hassle altogether by preparing your own lunch.
Here are several ways that you can incorporate healthy eating habits into your work life:
- Get rid of any stashes of candy or other snacks hiding in your desk.
- Leave your desk for lunch and find a peaceful place you can designate as an eating spot.
- Keep a glass of water on your desk and sip from it frequently throughout the day to stay hydrated.
- Leave work at a reasonable hour in the evening so you can prepare or enjoy a healthy dinner every night.
- Talk with co-workers about your dietary restrictions and politely ask that they refrain from bringing in treats that will be hard for you to avoid.
While there will be a lot of changes to make in your life after weight loss surgery, where you work might not be one of those changes. That doesn’t mean you can’t implement a few alterations to your work environment. Try to make the most of wherever you are by incorporating healthy habits into your workday as much as possible.