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Calorie Count Blog

Are Sedentary Jobs to Blame for Americans' Obesity?


By +Carolyn Richardson on Jun 28, 2011 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

My husband recently started a sedentary job and while his diet and exercise have not changed much, after being there only six months, he’s gained ten pounds. Sound familiar? According to new research, the increase in sedentary jobs in the past five decades may have contributed to America’s increase in obesity.  The study was lead by Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He and his colleagues examined the change in Americans’ physical activity at work and compared it to Americans’ average body weight.  The results indicate a negative effect. 

Activity Down, Weight Up

The study reveals, “In the early 1960's almost half the jobs in private industry in the U.S. required at least moderate intensity physical activity whereas now less than 20% demand this level of energy expenditure.”  Specifically, men burn 142 less calories a day at work, while women burn 124 less than they did in 1960. Results of the study show the decrease in work-related activity “closely matched” the increase in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) average weight numbers during the same time period.   

The Economy and the Scale 

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of overweight Americans has stayed statistically similar in the last 50 years at around 30%, however, obesity has increased by almost 20 percentage points since 1960.  Church suggests it’s a matter of changes in the economy, “…work-related physical activity has decreased dramatically, and it appears to have impacted obesity in this country." He used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Current Employment Statistics to compare the number of jobs in the U.S. that require sedentary, light, or moderate activity over time.  The findings show a drop from 30% to 12% in manufacturing, mining, and logging jobs which require moderate activity, and an increase from 20% to 43% in service jobs, which require light or sedentary activity.   

Solution: Diet and Exercise 

Many argue that increasing physical activity, whether at work or during leisure-time, will not solve the obesity problem if the change in Americans' diet is not also addressed.  Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University points to recent research that claims that caloric intake has increased in past decades.  When added to less physical activity at work, the resulting increases in weight gain is a no-brainer.  She adds, “Our eating habits have changed. Portion sizes are huge, we're eating more food away from home, high-calorie foods are everywhere. We have opportunities to eat all day, and we're doing it.”

Getting Started

If you’ve seen your weight balloon since you’ve taken a sedentary job, try to burn 100-plus calories a day during your two 15-minute breaks.  Ways to start include taking a leisurely walk with a co-worker, or carrying books up flights of stairs.  For those of you who don’t enjoy regular breaks or have short lunches, simply get to work 30 minutes earlier to get the physical activity you may not get otherwise.  If your stuck at your desk, try these exercises.  On the other hand, if your problem is related to eating more at your sedentary job, you’re already a step ahead using the tools you have on Calorie Count.  Set your daily calorie and nutritional goals, log your food and exercise and you will eventually lose the excess pounds. 


Your thoughts...

How much weight have you gained since taking a sedentary job?  Did you lose after leaving?



Comments


While sedentary jobs is certainly a factor .... American's consumption of animal products, processed and fast foods are large factors.

Look at this chart that shows an increase in total meat consumption that rose from 138 lbs in 1950 to 195 lbs per person in 2000. More information is provided on food trends in an article from the USDA  Also noted in this article is a decline in milk consumption yet at a 400 times increase in cheese consumption. From 7.7 lbs per year to 29.8  Cheese is nutritionally equivalent to eating animal flesh in regards to calories, proteins, cholesterol and fat.

All these animal products contain dangerous saturated fats and cholesterol. So along with exercise our SAD (Standard American Diet) is in dire need of adjustment. And our government's practice of providing subsidies that oppose their own dietary recommendations is nothing short then criminal.

More than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies for domestic food products in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. Less than 1 percent have gone to fruits and vegetables.



Couple of typos in this article make it less authoritative.



Since taking my desk job where I basically sit 8 hours a day, and my only exercise is walking to the copier or fax machine, I gained about 30 pounds. Five months ago I began eating a balanced diet and exercising in the mornings before work. I burn about 200 to 300 calories before my day begins. Through all of that I have lost 40 pounds even with my sedentary desk job. Eat well and keep moving when ever you can. Calorie Count has been very instrumental in my weight loss, I wouldn't  have been so successful without their website.



With the amount of disgusting garbage that your coworkers bring in, you're bound to eat a nibble or two out of stress or trying to get a sugar fix.  The other day, I brought a veggie tray into work.  It was not touched, but the two boxes of donuts were eaten in an hour.  I work in an office of 4 :/  Our combined weight : 1,000 lbs.  I weigh 120 . 

 

ALL DAY IT IS A SNACK FEST AND IT IS EXTREMELY GROSS.  8AM POPCORN IS UNACCEPTABLE  :)  If you feel stressed out, bring a ball to squeeze *Rant Over*



jenjen221984, that is sooo true! I like the ball idea!...lol but you better be careful, you may throw it at someone..lol



when i moved my office from upstairs to downstairs to be more accessible for my customers and i ended up gaining at least 40 lbs. took a while before i realized i was missing the constant up and down the stairs. i've elevated my computer so i can work standing up. it make me move more. when your sitting you stay sitting.



"Look at this chart that shows an increase in total meat consumption that rose from 138 lbs in 1950 to 195 lbs per person in 2000. More information is provided on food trends in an article from the USDA  Also noted in this article is a decline in milk consumption yet at a 400 times increase in cheese consumption. From 7.7 lbs per year to 29.8  Cheese is nutritionally equivalent to eating animal flesh in regards to calories, proteins, cholesterol and fat."

OH PLEASE. Sugar consumption has increase from 1950 as well- 109 pnds per person to over 150. Same with grains- 150ish pnds per person to 200! and the biggest jump happened in the 1980s, around the time Obesity rates started exploding. Meat consumption only changed went up by 16 pnds per person between 1980-2000. Grains consumption increased by 32 pnds per person, sugar increased by 26 pnds per person. I'm sure the increase is MUCH higher now, this chart stops a the year 2000.

http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

Trying to pinpoint meat as the primary cause of obesity and weight problems is a beyond poor argument.



I am never tempted by the garbage my co-workers bring in.

Every single day at work I get to compare what "they" eat vs. what "I" eat.  For me it is almost a game.  I work with eight other guys, and our day starts at 7am with a 30 minute meeting.  They typically break out McFastFood, while I eat a banana or orange, a protein drink, and a cup of black coffee. Lunch for me can be something like brown rice, beans and a grilled chicken breast, washed down with water, while they can be counted on to kill well over a thousand calories, usually fried or smothered.  My snacks are an orange or perhaps a packet of tuna, while they will consume a candy bar and packs of crackers.

Been doing this for years, and the past several years for me has been aided by Calorie Count immensely.  The fact that my spouse and I eat the exact same foods makes it easy for me.

- My weight is where I want it.

- I have watched my co-workers' weights slowly go off the chart.  Some of them are slowly resembling swollen ticks.

My brother has started packing on weight.  He is a truck driver.  He told me the other day that his double chin is driving him crazy.  I reminded him that it is calories in vs. calories out, and then add some exercise.  I told him that it is not rocket science.  He got quiet, for the umpteenth time. 



It is interesting that several of the posters here seem so iintense...particularly when talking about other people and their weight.  It is sad that people are getting heavier, it is true we are much more "sit oriented" then we have been...and I think when we look at the way people have been encouraged to eat we can see what has caused the problem.  If you are losing weight you can share that with others...it is good that we are moving away from so much processed food (particularly bread)...I just don't understand the aggression here.  Were you guys overweight?  Then you should be able to understand the problem.



In a nutshell: No.

The reason 'Americans" get fat is because we don't work out or walk as often as we should.  We don't take care of ourselves because we don't see the immediate consequences of (not) doing so.

I have a sedentary job, for the last six years now.  While at my previous job, I could eat a lot more, I DID NOT EAT HEALTHY FOOD.  My low weight was not a result of eating right and exercising, it was 'what's the cheapest thing I can buy for lunch with the most calories?' it was usually deli breaded chicken tenders w/ sauce.  When I was able to 'splurge' it was on more crap.  I am MUCH healthier today than I was back then, if only because of my food choices.

And at my previous, non-sedentary job? most of my co-workers were overweight.  At my current, sedentary job, most of my co-workers are overweight.

The other day, one of my co-workers pointed out a politician on tv, observing that he was fat.  It startled me because at least 4 of my friends were well over that weight.  I got used to people around be being 'large' and taking it as 'normal', and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.



I sit 7.50 hours per day behind a computer.  I have gained weight over the past 13 years since working in this job.  I have tried several diets only to gain the weight back.  I have wanted to try counting calories but I do not know how many to eat on a daily basis.  I am currently up and down with Weight Watcher's and not having much success.  HELP!

 



Original Post by: juliebrown58

I sit 7.50 hours per day behind a computer.  I have gained weight over the past 13 years since working in this job.  I have tried several diets only to gain the weight back.  I have wanted to try counting calories but I do not know how many to eat on a daily basis.  I am currently up and down with Weight Watcher's and not having much success.  HELP!

 


Diets do not work, exercise and a change in lifestyle does.

It looks like you already have an account, just use the tools available on the site - how much you should eat will vary on your weight now, height, weight you want to be and how soon you want to be that weight.

Never eat less than 1200 calories.  Don't take 'supplements'.  Go to the Weight Loss forum and make a new post there if you like, and many people will be more than willing to help you out.  Just make sure you post all your stats (weight, height, etc) amount of exercise you get and that you have a sedentary job.

I will say I eat too many frozen dinners at my job, but it's easy to grab one for 2-300 calories that I can easily count and log.  I eat tons of vegetables - they're low calorie and you can add them to pretty much anything for extra fiber and to make your meals more filling.



As one poster mentioned animal products and cheese being a problem.  I disagree wholeheartedly.  Protein i.e, meat, cheese  (satiates longer) and keeps muscles strong.  Contrary to common belief, fat doesn't make you fat - it's sugar and carbs.

I do believe it's all the carby /sugary foods in a box or high starch veggies.  One must exercise hard to burn the carbs and water weight that comes with it.  With a sedentary job, it's not as easy unless you take time out during the morning or evening to exercise.

Sugar products:   Low Fat products that usually add sugar, rice, potatoes, crackers, candy, cakes, pies, breads = high carbs.  Eating this throws off one's metabolism (insulin) and stores fat.  Too much insulin releases and then low blood sugar, making you want to eat more; thus, creating a perpetual cycle of eating and storing fat.  That's a prescription for Diabetes 2.  Nobody overeats on fats and proteins.

What works for me in my sedentary job is:  low carb dieting including low glycemic fruits on occasion, a little cardio and lots of free weight exercises and even doing exercises while sitting. Building the muscle burns the fat while you are resting (or sitting).

Watch the documentary "Fat Head" free on Hulu for further info on the science of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Thanks!  I will be 53 in September and I have a stressful job.  I do not get much exercise.  By the time i get home from work i am so tired I have become somewhat of a couch potato.  I am 5 4 1/2 and i presently weigh 243 pds. Way too much! Thank God i do not smoke or drink but i do have high blood pressure and high cholestrol and am on medication for both.  I have several tools to help me with exercise like a bike, a treadmill and a neighbors pool.  I know I have got to make major changes in my life and must get started now.  I have 4 beautiful grandchildren and I want to be around for years to enjoy them grow up! Thanks for your help!



Original Post by: juliebrown58

I sit 7.50 hours per day behind a computer.  I have gained weight over the past 13 years since working in this job.  I have tried several diets only to gain the weight back.  I have wanted to try counting calories but I do not know how many to eat on a daily basis.  I am currently up and down with Weight Watcher's and not having much success.  HELP!

 


I went from a job where I never sat down to one where I almost never stand up, and gained 35 pounds in five years.  It finally hit me that it was ridiculous that I couldn't keep this under control, and I started eating less and exercising again.  I've lost 40 pounds (with CC)--yes, thinner than I was when I was standing and walking all day long--and don't see myself getting it back.

CC can give you a calorie estimate based on your height, weight, goal weight, and activity level.  Diets, which are temporary, won't help.  You have to make a commitment to make up for the exercise you don't get at work, on your own time, and you have to commit to eating better.



This is a choice just like any other: We can choose to sit around when we get home and to not plan our lunches (so we're at the mercy of fast food), or we can choose to make healthier food a priority and to exercise at home.

I'm tired when I get home, too, but I'm less tired now that I've started running again.  It's worth it.



You can't leave stress out of the mix.  It's not just sedentary jobs, it's stressful sedentary jobs, a lethal combination.  I walk at work and try to stay away from junk foods, but the intense stress makes it hard.  And no, sorry, exercise and good food don't help the stress.  The stress of constant job insecurity is tailor made by evolution to make us want to stock up on fats for the coming lean times.  I keep gaining weight despite eating healthy and getting some exercise.  It is not enough to compensate for all the sedentary hours.  And all the hours I need to work plus the 2.5 hour commute every day, leave little time for food prep. and housework, let alone exercise.



Everyone is quick to blame something besides themselves. Inactivity, meat, pesticides, HFCS, sugar, processed food, fast food.  I work a sedentary job, weight train 3 times a week and try to walk 30 minutes a day at work.  I don't have a huge gut like some of the guys I see working construction all day. 

Hmmmm...  Could it be as SIMPLE as just CONTROLLING HOW MUCH YOU EAT?

Yes, that's the answer. People are fat because they eat more than their bodies need to function on a day to day basis.



I've just come back from a working trip to Florida and was totally reliant on restaurants. What I noticed, as a European, was how expensive it was to eat out and how few vegetables are available (completely disregarding the portion sizes which are huge). Also i am a vegetarian and found the choices extremely limited to say the least, I can't tell you how many salads I ate and all but one had ice berg lettuce as a base :( Not  the tastiest or most nutritional lettuce. We ate at the Olive Garden one evening and i had the garden salad, it came pre-dressed I wasn't given a choice for the dressing on the side, and my entree was the Egg Plant Parmigiana - Stay with me guys I'm getting to my point - I thought this would be OK'ish, vegggie meal and a salad right? I've since looked up the nutirional value of my meal and the dressed salad was 350 and the entree 850 so 1200 calories in one meal! Maybe that's why we're all gaining weight? I had oatmeal for breakfast that day and a salad in TGI's without the meat (none of their salads were meatless) and I was still charged the same price! Over all I was just so disappointed at the lack of choice for vegetarians and now have a better understanding of some of the complaints made by american veggies on this web site. Plus everything seemed so Carb loaded.

All I can say is it's nice to be back home! 



My one thing....

what two 15 minute breaks? I'm lucky to get a lunch hour in a 9 hr day?



I started working in a sedentary job 25 years ago.  Immediately I started adding to my weight about five pounds every year, which then started me on the diet roller-coaster -- trying diet after diet, losing and gaining again.  It's been a vicious cycle.  Added to this I have a pituitary tumor that knocks out my testosterone, which adds to the weight problem.  in my last conversation with my doctor I stated that I just simply was made to be fat, and he actually agreed with me!  At the beginning of this year I have to say that I was overweight by at least 70 pounds.

This winter my wife took a nutrition class as part of her training to become a RN.  As she learned about nutritional values, she started tweaking how we ate.  We didn't eat badly, there were a few things though that were sabotaging our weight.  At the same time I discovered Calorie Count and started using it's resources diligently.  Here's what I changed:

1.  I went from a 1200 calorie diet to a 1600 calorie diet

2.  More whole grains

3.  More fruit and vegetables

4.  Less meat -- typically only 3 ounces a day

5.  Avoid processed foods

6.  I never deprive myself of anything I want - I just eat it rarely and count it

7.  Exercise like crazy - I'm investing seven to nine hours a week.

The result is that in four months I have lost 24 pounds.  I am losing weight and I don't feel like I'm on a diet.  I have not left my sedentary job.  I like it too much.  But to do what I love to do, I have to do what I don't like to do -- pay attention to what I put in my mouth, and exercise.  It's just the price I have to pay.

The comment I keep making to people now is, "Who knew?  The food pyramid actually works!."



I went from working a retail job that kept me literally running back and forth through a store 8 hours a day for 10 years of my life to suddenly sitting behind a sewing machine all day (I'm now a seamstress by trade) and gained about 40 lbs. I'd never been overweight in my life up until that point so I'd have to say it was definitely the biggest contributor to my weight gain. Since then I now exercise every day (either by walking 4-6 miles, stair-stepping and/or yoga) and watch what I eat by logging everything I consume carefully on CC and have lost 60 lbs. I don't have to NOT eat anything. I can eat whatever I want. I just have to make certain I know the amount of calories in it before eating it so I can log it properly and keep it within my daily allowance. It really isn't hard. Obviously I've changed a lot of my eating habits and eat LESS sugar/packaged foods/etc, but that doesn't mean I've cut them completely. For example, I have a serving (1/2 cup) of ice cream every single night and have throughout my entire diet and still lost 60 lbs. ^_^

The point is #1: get up and move. ANY way you can. Any sort of moving/exercising burn calories and burning more than you consume is KEY! And #2: Log what you eat. Pay attention, CLOSE attention, to what you put into your body. Weigh your food if you can to be certain you know the exact amount of calories you are consuming as guessing or ballparking can easily lead to overeating. You wouldn't believe how satisfying an actual "serving" of food is until you've portioned it and realize just HOW MUCH crap you've been eating that your body doesn't need.



okay, i too have a sedentary job and gained 20 pounds. 4 days out of the week i sit for 10 hours. what i am doing to lose my fat bootie is ,i get up at 5am and go for a 2 mile run-at least 2 days a week- i should do more. usually the first mile i run and the second mile back i do intervals to rev up my metabolism. i have weights that i keep under my desk and when i have some free moments, i try to lift my weights (maybe 10 mins). i try to take the steps versus the elevator, i am packing my lunch daily and for dinner i use a T-plate at home so that i do not over indulge in my portions and no seconds for me!!! before my dinner i also go for a 2-3mile walk- when i can.  if i can get a walk in at lunch-great, but dont sit around with the gossip- get out and walk instead.  i have yet to figure out if i can bike to work- SAFELY! Every bit helps. oh, i also weigh my self daily, log my weight, food and activity.  oh Drink lots of water- take your weight and divide it in half- that is how many ounces you should be drinking daily. as far as calories, look  up BMR calculator- (basic metobolic rate) and it does the math for you.  hope this helps someone.



rosl,

I can understand your frustration as I am a vegetarian and find it so difficult to eat out. I do not mind spending the money as I am single but there are few healthy choices. Most salads are drenched in dressing making them like 500 calories even without the meat. Grilled/streamed vegetables are drenched in oil (usually vegetable oil instead of healthier olive oil). Pretty much the safest bet is a garden salad with the dressing on the side. Even then, most dressings are like 180 for one serving! It is ridiculous. It should be easy to find a lunch somewhere for 300-400 calories without it being just an iceberg salad. I find the average fast food meal is 800 calories which is crazy.



Sorry, Fluffydragon, you are only partly correct.  Blaming obesity on sedentary jobs or excess time in front of the TV is wrong.  As just about every post here points out, there are steps that can be taken to maintain weight even for those of us tied to a desk and a car in the name of earning a living.  On the other hand, exercise alone is not the answer.  Overeating any exercise program is not that hard to do.  I see overweight people walking and riding bikes all the time.  DS1973 is also partly correct controlling how much we eat and the quality of the food we consume is important.  I've dropped as much as 20 pounds of ugly fat doing that.  But a good diet will not maintain muscle.  That requires exercise.  Beyond that are a lot of other issues such as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), fluids, rest and stress.  Of course, stress can mess with rest which can in turn lead to weight gain.

So the answer must be lifestyle -- as long as we properly understand lifestyle.  I may not have control over all of the factors that contribute to my lifestyle.  When I left my job as software developer to move into management, I jumped into a high pressure, time consuming job that dominated my lifestyle.  My life became more sedentary because of things that came along with the job like commuting by car instead of by bike.

I didnot adjust properly.  Even though I worked out pretty much everyday, put on about 40 pounds before I finally got my life under control.

Recently, I suffered a painful injury to my hip that has reduced my exercise to a couple of miles of walking on most days.  I have only gained 5 pounds because I have been meticulous in cutting out excess food and monitoring my weight.



I have always had sedentary job, this one being the worst. I wear ankle weights and try to hold my legs up as often as possible. Luckily my office of five is 90% healthy (3 on WW me on CC last one just not caring). We try to make snacks healthy and are good about sharing new recipes etc for low cal options. Although we definitely have our slip ups from time to time too



That's why the scientific term "cubicle butt" was coined. It means that the longer you sit in your cubicle, the more you butt expands to fill it.

Good thing I work from home.  >.>



I don't think having a sedentary jobs stops people from going to the gym or makes one eat too many calories. I've worked in retail which is not sedentary and many of my coworkers were overweight anyhow.



I will be 58 in 2 months, I work eight hours a day 75% of the time I'm on my feet.  I'm up at 3 every morning at the gym by 4 and work out for an hour every day.  I realize getting up in the middleof the night is not for everyone, but for me I thoroughly enjoy my workout and it gives me endless energy.  I watch what I eat --keeping track of all calories.  I do sometimes indulge in chips and sweets, but then I work hard to keep my weight in tact.  I agree with the person that said the reason people have so much problem with their weight is what they eat.  Back in the fifty's and sixty's you didn't sit around watching TV and eating junk foods.  Mother's were stay at home mom's that cleaned their houses, made delicious meals for their families and raised their children.  I realize things aren't the same as it was back then--but a lot can be said for that time in society. 



I do know that when you have a sit down job, with more stress, deeply concentrating for 8-10 hrs. per day.  You tend to form a C shape, yur muscles in the rear are elongated because of the bend there to sit.  The head juts slightly forward, and your posture is compromised.  This also will compromise the deeper breathing because of cramped lung space.  The bladder will have problems because you are not sitting properly after all those hrs. of concentration.  The foggy thought pattern is from lack of oxygen in the blood brought on by not having enough oxygenated blood circulating through the brain.  Loss of memory, fatigue, dry eye, getting less and less allert.  These things are really attributed to sit down life styles, versus working on the move jobs that keep you trimmer, and more allert, less fog, more memory.  When the numbers begin to have names, see if you are given prescriptions to "get better", or if you have any alternative choices left.  Been there, done that.:)  aea



Original Post by: distance13

"Look at this chart that shows an increase in total meat consumption that rose from 138 lbs in 1950 to 195 lbs per person in 2000. More information is provided on food trends in an article from the USDA  Also noted in this article is a decline in milk consumption yet at a 400 times increase in cheese consumption. From 7.7 lbs per year to 29.8  Cheese is nutritionally equivalent to eating animal flesh in regards to calories, proteins, cholesterol and fat."

OH PLEASE. Sugar consumption has increase from 1950 as well- 109 pnds per person to over 150. Same with grains- 150ish pnds per person to 200! and the biggest jump happened in the 1980s, around the time Obesity rates started exploding. Meat consumption only changed went up by 16 pnds per person between 1980-2000. Grains consumption increased by 32 pnds per person, sugar increased by 26 pnds per person. I'm sure the increase is MUCH higher now, this chart stops a the year 2000.

http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

Trying to pinpoint meat as the primary cause of obesity and weight problems is a beyond poor argument.


Spot on with the sugar and grains consumption increases.  All to often it's ignored or completely discounted (must have good lobbying in D.C.).

The meat argument is getting pretty old in this context.  We were not just gatherers, but also hunters!  Balance while limiting how processed the food you eat is key.  The "extremist" views really grate on my nerves these days.  No doubt big ag meat leaves much to be desired and if that's the only animal protein one consumes, not the healthiest choice.

Exerciseis great but it seems pretty clear the processed food supply with the crazy amounts of sugar or corn syrup play the largest role in girth accumulation over the periods of time referenced.



I'm sorry but packing ten pounds at work is one thing: the obesity factor is quite another.  Even sedentary you probably would only be maybe 20 or 30 pounds heavier eating the way same way you were before you got the job, unless you were previously a bodybuilder, an athlete, or something along those lines.  It's total food addiction.



Original Post by: deborah_ulloa

okay, i too have a sedentary job and gained 20 pounds. 4 days out of the week i sit for 10 hours. what i am doing to lose my fat bootie is ,i get up at 5am and go for a 2 mile run-at least 2 days a week- i should do more. usually the first mile i run and the second mile back i do intervals to rev up my metabolism. i have weights that i keep under my desk and when i have some free moments, i try to lift my weights (maybe 10 mins). i try to take the steps versus the elevator, i am packing my lunch daily and for dinner i use a T-plate at home so that i do not over indulge in my portions and no seconds for me!!! before my dinner i also go for a 2-3mile walk- when i can.  if i can get a walk in at lunch-great, but dont sit around with the gossip- get out and walk instead.  i have yet to figure out if i can bike to work- SAFELY! Every bit helps. oh, i also weigh my self daily, log my weight, food and activity.  oh Drink lots of water- take your weight and divide it in half- that is how many ounces you should be drinking daily. as far as calories, look  up BMR calculator- (basic metobolic rate) and it does the math for you.  hope this helps someone.


Curious.....What is a T - plate?



There's no doubt about it, if you have a sedentary job you have to work harder.  I've been in a desk job now, my first ever, for 3 years and I've gained weight and back problems despite a stellar diet and exercise regimen.  My caveat - I had thyroid cancer and so had to have that essential gland removed so my body will never be the same.  That said, going from a more active lifestyle (Marines) to a desk job has been a difficult transition. 

Solutions:

I'm fortunate to have an hour for lunch, and I often use that to break up my day to go for a walk or work out.  I highly recommend this even if you don't have that long for lunch - get up and do something.

Avoid the common areas - for a while my co-workers (several of whom have cubicle butt! Smile) used to bring lots of goodies and put them on the table in one of our common areas.  Fortunately this has lessened this year, but when there's a birthday, forget it!  My will power is next to nil, so I don't have junk food around, and if I see it when I go to the copier or mail room I avoid it.  Discipline takes practice.

If applicaple, go to another floor periodically throughout the day and use the stairs.  I do this whether I need to go to the other floor or not, and will do the stairs several times just to get my heart rate up.  So if I have to go downstairs, I do the flight 3-5 times.  It doesn't take very long but I'm out of breath by the 3rd time so I know I'm doing some good.  If you have knee problems like I do, just take it slower - stairs are actually really good for strengthening your knees over time.  An alternative would be to walk around your building periodically.  Getting some fresh air and movement will do you good, besides getting your eyes off the computer screen which is a total drain.

If you can, stand at your desk - periodically if not all the time.  One time my back was hurting so much I decided to imitate what my dad does, who has chronic back problems and can't sit for very long so he stands at his computer.  I took some boxes and propped up my monitors, keyboard and mouse so I could stand.  Just standing burns more calories than sitting.  Another alternative is standing when you take a phone call or have to read something. 

When you're hungry, drink at least one cup of water first - often when we think we're hungry we're actually dehydrated, and all the good diet advice out there says this - you'll eat less if you drink more water.

It takes discipline, but stick to snacks and meals that are graded A or B on this site.  I find that's a helpful guideline.  Your high-protein foods will leave you feeling full longer.  You HAVE to reduce sugar and salt.  And it's true that it's not really fat or meat that make you fat, it's sugar, salt and empty carbs. 

The fewer ingredients your food has, the better.  Forget foods with fake sugar - they always have alternatives that are chemical and worse for you.

Hope some of these tips help!



When I worked at an office job I definitely gained weight, but it wasn't because I was sedentary at work, it was because I hated my job and was eating because I  wanted to "treat myself" for spending 9 hours a day in a place I didn't like.

That "food as reward" mentality is a strong one.



Oh my goodness, yes I did pack on the pounds when I got a desk job.  It just slowly crept up  and continued on and on.  I think it takes a while for your body to adjust.  I didn't change my eating habbits at all but, standing lifting and walking for 8 hours and eating what I wanted vs. sitting on my rear for 8 hours and eating what I wanted are two totally different things.  Thank goodness for CC and the treadmill!  I am working on it!



I like this, thanks for sharing!

 



Reminds me of an old joke.

 

Two spouses are shopping for clothes and one tries on a pair of jeans and asks their spouse " do these jeans make my rear end look fat?"

 

The other spouse says "No,  I think it is all the cheese cake that makes it look that way."

 

If sedentary jobs are the reason why obeisty is up then why are so many construction workers obese too??

 

Eat less, exercise more.  whether you are in a sedentary job or not.

 

Be intentional and plan ahead and work your plan. 

 

Down 53 pounds, with 81 to go.



Original Post by: ninav

While sedentary jobs is certainly a factor .... American's consumption of animal products, processed and fast foods are large factors.

Look at this chart that shows an increase in total meat consumption that rose from 138 lbs in 1950 to 195 lbs per person in 2000. More information is provided on food trends in an article from the USDA  Also noted in this article is a decline in milk consumption yet at a 400 times increase in cheese consumption. From 7.7 lbs per year to 29.8  Cheese is nutritionally equivalent to eating animal flesh in regards to calories, proteins, cholesterol and fat.

All these animal products contain dangerous saturated fats and cholesterol. So along with exercise our SAD (Standard American Diet) is in dire need of adjustment. And our government's practice of providing subsidies that oppose their own dietary recommendations is nothing short then criminal.

More than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies for domestic food products in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. Less than 1 percent have gone to fruits and vegetables.


Processed and fast foods are factors in the increasingly heavy population, but animal products... apart from the hormones, antibiotics and poor diet of most animals raised for meat or milk...  have alway been an important part of people's diets, and it is ludicrous to state otherwise.  It is the quality of the products people are eating.  Here is a bit of history about how healthy it is to organic consume dairy products:

In the sixteenth century, Sir George Carew reported back to England that the Irish were too powerful to do battle with in the summertime, when they lived "upon the milk and butter of their kine." (He recommended that the would-be invaders wait until milk-less February to attack.

of course there are a lot of other examples...



Original Post by: kimberlyann34

Since taking my desk job where I basically sit 8 hours a day, and my only exercise is walking to the copier or fax machine, I gained about 30 pounds. Five months ago I began eating a balanced diet and exercising in the mornings before work. I burn about 200 to 300 calories before my day begins. Through all of that I have lost 40 pounds even with my sedentary desk job. Eat well and keep moving when ever you can. Calorie Count has been very instrumental in my weight loss, I wouldn't  have been so successful without their website.


This is basically what I have done, too, except I gained over 65 pounds! I have lost 40 pounds so far since the beginning of this year using Calorie Count and getting active as much as possible. 25 pounds to go until I reach my BMI!



Over a sixteen year period of time I went from a 130 to 162 lbs.  I was told 8 year prior to cut cholesterol and was given a diet.  As the weight crept up I felt like it was necessary, but keep it up just a little longer.  The 6years ago, I was told that my blood work had started really changing, the cholesterol had not come down sufficiently, and the blood glucose and triglyceride levels were also too high.  The HDL was not enough to counteract what the blood tests were telling the dr.  This was when I was handed prescriptions for 4 types of pills, and another diet for pre diabetes II.  I read about vegetarian beliefs ( the daughter of 1 BEEF BROKER ON THE WEST COAST OF THE US - love my steak!), it made sense not to kill myself because I was not eating correctly, or breathing correctly, or doing myself justice.  But everyone must find out for themselves what is best for them.  At last count, I had kept all my numbers down, lost about 45 lbs. and am feeling good about myself.  (I still love my steak, But - I prefer my veggies, fiber, fruits, seeds, etc.)  Oh yes - I still cook chicken, octopus, goat, lamb, etc., but stick to organic whenever possible and thinking about hydroponic gardening - Why?  Because I want to:)  aea



I have to agree with littlegreyselkie.  I've had a desk job my entire life, so for about 45 years.  I'm 5'5" and have weighed between 120 and 160 during that time.  When I've taken in my own food for breakfast, lunch & snacks and have exercised for at least a 1/2 hour a day, I manage to keep my weight in check.  I can't blame my co-workers, fast food or anything else.  It's the choices I make, pure & simple.  I'm currently at about 139 and feel comfortable with that weight.  I also know it is a never ending discipline that I have to keep in check. 



Original Post by: littlegreyselkie

Original Post by: ninav

While sedentary jobs is certainly a factor .... American's consumption of animal products, processed and fast foods are large factors.

Look at this chart that shows an increase in total meat consumption that rose from 138 lbs in 1950 to 195 lbs per person in 2000. More information is provided on food trends in an article from the USDA  Also noted in this article is a decline in milk consumption yet at a 400 times increase in cheese consumption. From 7.7 lbs per year to 29.8  Cheese is nutritionally equivalent to eating animal flesh in regards to calories, proteins, cholesterol and fat.

All these animal products contain dangerous saturated fats and cholesterol. So along with exercise our SAD (Standard American Diet) is in dire need of adjustment. And our government's practice of providing subsidies that oppose their own dietary recommendations is nothing short then criminal.

More than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies for domestic food products in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. Less than 1 percent have gone to fruits and vegetables.


Processed and fast foods are factors in the increasingly heavy population, but animal products... apart from the hormones, antibiotics and poor diet of most animals raised for meat or milk...  have alway been an important part of people's diets, and it is ludicrous to state otherwise.  It is the quality of the products people are eating.  Here is a bit of history about how healthy it is to organic consume dairy products:

In the sixteenth century, Sir George Carew reported back to England that the Irish were too powerful to do battle with in the summertime, when they lived "upon the milk and butter of their kine." (He recommended that the would-be invaders wait until milk-less February to attack.

of course there are a lot of other examples...


That particular person goes on rants anytime anything to do with diet and exercise is put in the news letters. EVERY DANG TIME. It gets old....



I agree with all who believe in lifestyle changes. My weight loss has been gradual (45 pounds in 3 yrs, and counting). My job? Completely sedentary, but has nothing to do with my lifestyle! I've made the biggest health changes of my life while at this job. It's your choice, your decision whether or not to succumb to the "easy" way to eat (fast food), or the slightly more "difficult" way, which requires thought and preparation. Make it happen! No excuses!



i dont work long only 6 hours at a desk,and i work with my family,and my dad fills the work fridge with pop donuts lunch meats bread ice ream condiments fried chciken ect... and i just say no to it all... i ill stick with my salads or oatmeal.but it suks lol



Another factor that has changed over the years is the acceptability of eating at your place of work.  Years ago, eating at the work station (even beverages) was often not allowed, so grazing was less of a problem.  People nibble all day and often do not consider that eating.



Original Post by: whitedov1208

As one poster mentioned animal products and cheese being a problem.  I disagree wholeheartedly.  Protein i.e, meat, cheese  (satiates longer) and keeps muscles strong.  Contrary to common belief, fat doesn't make you fat - it's sugar and carbs.

I do believe it's all the carby /sugary foods in a box or high starch veggies.  One must exercise hard to burn the carbs and water weight that comes with it.  With a sedentary job, it's not as easy unless you take time out during the morning or evening to exercise.

Sugar products:   Low Fat products that usually add sugar, rice, potatoes, crackers, candy, cakes, pies, breads = high carbs.  Eating this throws off one's metabolism (insulin) and stores fat.  Too much insulin releases and then low blood sugar, making you want to eat more; thus, creating a perpetual cycle of eating and storing fat.  That's a prescription for Diabetes 2.  Nobody overeats on fats and proteins.

What works for me in my sedentary job is:  low carb dieting including low glycemic fruits on occasion, a little cardio and lots of free weight exercises and even doing exercises while sitting. Building the muscle burns the fat while you are resting (or sitting).

Watch the documentary "Fat Head" free on Hulu for further info on the science of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Good carbs are not the enemy.  I have lost 45 pounds eating a lot of potatoes--along with veggies, beans, and some meat. I also eat a lot of Kashi cereal and oatmeal.  The main thing is I keep my caloric count in line, and plan my meals according to my nutritional needs.

What I have cut out is the ice cream and soda I used to eat. I have substituted molasses, apples, bananas, dried apricots and yogurt for them.

I may have a glass of soda, a devil dog or half a Klondike bar if I'm good on my calories, but overeating is the main problem.  You won't get the nutrients you need in empty carb calories, so when you eat "real" food on top of the junk, the calories pack on the pounds.

Don't count carbs out of the good fight.



I also am struck by the aggression and self righteousness of some of the posters as they talk about their co-workers as "gross" and "swelling like ticks". What we eat is only part of who we are. The people around us are in a different place than we are, but they are no different or less worthy than those of us currently making healthy changes. 

 



As a university student, I spend enough time sitting around at a desk as it add.  Add on top of that my job as a research assistant, and I rarely find myself moving any part of my body other than my fingers. 

Using your breaks to do some physical activity is much more rewarding than I first expected. I recently purchased a pedometer and I have a lot of fun watching the numbers go up as I climb up and down the stairs during a class break, rather than go purchase a snack (as I may have done in the days of old).  The pedometer has been the best $20 investment yet!

Love the link to 'desk exercises'. 



@ ninav Cut out the vegan crap... most people are fat because of carbohydrates and not animal fat



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