The Office 15: 7 Ways To Avoid Gaining Weight At Your Desk Job

by Sara Uzer

We are all familiar with the "Freshman 15," a college phenomenon where you pack on inevitable pounds due to your not-so-wise food choices and excessive alcohol consumption.

However, we are often reluctant to talk about the all-too-real "Office 15," where you gain excess weight by sitting in a desk chair for eight hours, surrounded by a constant influx of bagels and donuts.

You work hard to restrain yourself, but it's not always so easy.

When there's a birthday in the office, this just makes matters worse: "Is that a cookie cake? Don't mind if I do."

But, don't freak out just yet. There are ways to prevent succumbing to the constant temptation of office treats.

Here are seven ways to stop yourself from becoming a victim of the "Office 15":

1. Snack on healthy treats throughout the day.

Eat smart, but don't starve yourself. If you deprive yourself of food, you'll end up feeling irritable or light-headed. As a result, you will probably be unable to focus on your tasks.

Instead, bring several healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day.

Fresh fruit or veggies are a good option. (However, avoid baby carrots or an apple if you're in a quiet office. There's just no way to eat these without being obnoxious, which I found out the hard way.)

This will help you to stay full, and you will be less likely to saunter over to the kitchen and stuff your face with leftover cookies from this morning's conference meeting.

2. Get moving.

Many of us have jobs that require us to be sitting for most of the day. Therefore, take full advantage of your hour lunch break by moving around.

Go for a quick walk outside, and then take the stairs back up to your office instead of the elevator. Work those glutes, girl.

3. Plan cheat days wisely.

When you know, ahead of time, you are participating in a fancy catered event, reserve that day to indulge.

Don't go overboard, but allow yourself to have that slice of cake (or two). You worked hard to prepare for this event, and you deserve it!

By planning cheat days, you will be able to satisfy your cravings while still effectively acknowledging the need to get back on track the next day.

4. Recognize when you're snacking mindlessly.

Sometimes, we eat out of pure boredom or disinterest. Try chewing gum, instead.

According to a study by the British Journal of Psychology, chewing gum can help you stay focused for longer on tasks that require continuous monitoring.

So, next time you feel your eyelids getting heavy, pick up a pack of gum instead of a bag of chips.

Other times, we eat due to stress. Instead of chomping away angrily over an important client failing to respond to your email, try a few alternate de-stressing methods.

Take a few deep breaths and decompress. Step out of your office and call a friend. After a brief chat, you may realize your cravings have magically disappeared.

5. Don't confuse thirst for hunger.

Especially on those extra busy days, it's easy to forget to hydrate. We can also mistake our thirst for hunger and accidentally eat more than necessary.

Keep a bottle of water with you at all times, and make a conscious effort to drink it as often as possible.

Although it may be difficult to maintain the eight-glasses-a-day rule, it doesn't hurt to try.

6. Check out the calories ahead of time.

You don't have to avoid socializing with your coworkers because you're afraid of gaining weight; just don't order the fried chicken sandwich with curly fries every day.

Luckily, many restaurants have menus with helpful nutritional information.

If not, browse through the menu online, anyway. By planning ahead, you can find potential healthy options, which will lesson the anxiety of having to choose a nutritious meal on the spot.

7. Don't give up on your workouts completely.

Working full-time means making extra sacrifices to accomplish personal activities. Often, this can wreak a bit of havoc on our precious sleep cycles.

In other words, if you want to squeeze in a run before work, you might have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning.

Of course, if you're willing to head to the gym after work, instead, that's great.

You just need to figure out a routine that works for you and make an effort to stick to it.

You'll also feel more accomplished knowing you had a productive day at work and you worked out.

Starting a new job is nerve-racking, even without the added stress from disappointing results on the scale.

However, if you follow these tips, the only numbers you'll be focused on are the ones on your paycheck.