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8 work hazards that interfere with your health and some easy solutions: easy swaps to avoid workplace weight gain:
Start your busy day too early
Picture this. You’ve got a long commute or an important job to jump onto. You start the day with only a coffee and skip breakfast.
The day seems to start really well on full power and you dive into the job all fired up. Come mid morning, you begin to flag and hunger for a top-up but in your haste, you didn’t bring anything from home and the only choice is something that doesn’t deliver health. This approach is costly for your body’s health.
There’s no evidence or rule that says ‘it’s best to eat breakfast on waking before getting on with the day’, but disorganised breakfast skippers tend to grab something less healthy to eat later in the day.
Their hunger becomes exaggerated and they overeat on kilojoules.
So what can you do if you’ve got an early start?
This is super whammy or should that be sad, bad whammy that can really screw your body up.
Disrupted sleep patterns interrupt natural body rhythms that keep body weight in check. Strange meal times corrupt your body’s natural hunger triggers and appetite regulators.
You will find yourself confused about how much to eat and what to eat when you do get a break. And unless you’re organised, shopping and cooking go out the door and drive-thru fast meals start to replace quality foods.
Step back. Look at your roster and write down where your eating plan is falling down.
Once you see where the problems are, you can work out ways to tackle them. The first solution may not work and you might need some expert input or tips from work mates but you can be a healthy weight, shift worker.
Total sit down job
Calling all console operators, taxi drivers, long haul truckies, bloggers, gamers, and call centre employees. This is about you and all those other people whose jobs glue them to a seat.
Get up and out of your seat any chance you have. Incidental movement helps keep your body healthy. This is not about weight, it is about improving your blood glucose, liver condition and blood pressure.
The human body is designed to move – walk, lift, jump, run – not just sit there like a lump of lard. Fidgeting is an example of incidental movement – get those feet and hands tapping when you notice your body not moving - but there are better ways to move your body more.
Each day, overweight people spend 152 minutes less time standing than healthy weight people.
If you’ve got a seated lifestyle and you are overweight, you need to find a way to get standing for another 2.5 hrs each day. How to do this?
Got the idea?
Snacks in full view in your work area
See it, eat it! Experiments have proven that you’ll eat more when food is on display.
Friday night drinks
You may have got through the week perfectly with well-organised meals and snacks, great hydration and a perfect fitness routine only to wreck it with after work drinks with colleagues.
Alcohol is wicked. A few drinks stimulate your appetite. That makes you more vulnerable to snacking and making impulse decisions around food choice: “What the heck, I’ll eat whatever’s on the menu”. Sound familiar?
Working over lunch and breaks
Working and eating at the same time means you’re probably not paying good attention to both tasks. And because eating is such a practiced skill, it will be the eating task that is switched over to auto-pilot. When this happens you won’t notice how much you’ve eaten or in fact may even forget that you’ve eaten because you have no memory of the food!
This is called mindless eating. People who eat mindlessly eat more (if the food is not pre-portioned like a sandwich) and don’t feel as satisfied with the food/meal.
Mindless eaters will eat more at the next eating time.
Can't tear yourself away for a break? Do yourself a favour:
Time out also allows your brain to refresh and your body relax so you’ll be even more productive when you return to work.
If you skip food entirely and over-ride your body’s signals of hunger and cues to eat, you may set yourself up for a binge or over-consumption later in the day or evening. By the time you get to eat you will be so hungry that your brain and stomach will misjudge how much you need and over-eat in an attempt to catch up on the day’s food supplies.
Catering at meetings
Bad coffee, cold tea and the obligatory assorted sweet cream biscuits and pastries. Does this sound like your meeting room?
Biscuits offer a temporary pleasant escape from an otherwise dull meeting. Sure the biscuits stay fresh in sealed bags, they’re not too messy, they’re quiet to eat, and they’re probably on the corporation’s approved shopping list but biscuits are not exactly a brilliant productivity booster.
Good hydration equals clearer thinking with better mental concentration and better hand-eye coordination.There’s less chance of constipation, kidney stones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and gout.
If you want to keep your weight in check, you’d be smart to:
If you’re working on a construction site,in a mine, are on the road, or have a mobile office, you’ll need a hydration plan in hot weather to make sure you drink enough water as the day progresses.
What other workplace hazards have you come across?
Have you solved it or would you like solutions for your workplace hazard? Email Trudy with your comments, questions and solutions.