If you've recently realized your entire wardrobe is two sizes too small, then your job might be to blame, according to a new CareerBuilder survey out Thursday morning.
Results show that 56% of the U.S. workforce believe they're overweight and 46% believe they've gained weight at their current jobs. And we're not talking those two or three pounds from the buttered popcorn you inhale during your nightly Netflix binge: 45% say they've put on at least ten pounds, while 10% say it's more than 20.
It shouldn't be so surprising, given that, as we're working longer and longer hours, we have less and less time for exercise and preparing healthy meals. When asked why they gained weight on the job, workers' top five rationales reflected that reality:
- Sitting at a desk most of the day (51%)
- Too tired from work to exercise (45%)
- Eating because of stress (38%)
- No time to exercise before or after work (38%)
- Eating out regularly (24%)
The problem is widespread but seems to be influenced, in part, by industry and location. According to the data, the struggle is toughest in financial services where 57% of workers say they've gained weight on the job, while only 37% of retail employees say the same.
Here are the major U.S. cities where the job-related weight gain is highest:
- Houston (57%)
- Washington D.C. (50%)
- Dallas (47%)
- Boston (47%)
- Los Angeles (47%)
- Atlanta (44%)
- Miami (42%)
- New York (42%)
- Chicago (42%)
- Philadelphia (41%)
Want to keep work from ruining your waistline? Try these tips:
Sleep. Research shows that when you haven't gotten enough shut-eye, it's much harder to keep your eating in check.
Take a stroll. While using a standing desk has many health benefits, it doesn't burn as many calories as you might think. Experts say you actually need to *move* — and you should do it every 30 minutes to an hour. So take a stretch break, pace during your phone calls or add a little distance to your daily takeout run and pick up the pace while you're at it.
Pack your lunch. Then snack wisely. When you're up against an important deadline, it can be tempting to Seamless a cheeseburger deluxe. You're much more likely to opt for the grilled salmon and asparagus if you've already spent time and money making it — not to mention it could save you almost two grand a year. If your office's free BBQ potato chips and shortbread cookies are the culprits, ask the person in charge of snacks to include some healthier options.
Revisit your work-life balance. If you belong to the 45% who say they're too tired from work to exercise, you should probably re-think how you're spending your time. Constantly prioritizing your job over fitness is not only bad for your health, it can actually be counterproductive for your career since being overweight can make you less productive at work. And if you're already working out, consider whether you're doing it enough: Survey results showed that while 59% of workers say they exercise "on a regular basis", only those who did it four or more times a week lost weight on the job.
Take advantage of work perks. Of the 28% of employees whose companies provide gym passes and workout facilities, nearly two-thirds failed to use them. If you're lucky enough to have these benefits, you've got to take advantage. If not, don't let the high price of gym membership become your excuse. You just might need to get a little creative.