6 Strategies to Beat Workplace Weight Gain

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
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The biggest challenge we all face in maintaining a healthy weight may not be in our kitchens or even in restaurants. At work, we can often find ourselves in circumstances that really test our determination and push us toward food choices we’d otherwise be able to avoid. A few months ago, we shared this article on 7 Sneaky Ways Your Job is Making You Gain Weight to make it easier for you to identify possible fat traps at your office. But once you identify them, how can you get around these office traps? We gathered a few of our most tried-and-true strategies for navigating the most common causes of workplace weight gain.

1. PARTY TIME
Birthdays, retirements, bridal and baby showers—almost every week events like these turn into office celebrations. Slabs of calorie-laden cake are a staple of work parties, which can be hard to turn down, especially when everyone is watching. Give yourself another option by volunteering to bring a veggie tray or a bowl of fresh fruit to the festivities. And if you are handed a piece of cake you feel uncomfortable spurning, eat a forkful or two, then set it down to get yourself a drink, and walk away from the sweet.

2. HAPPY HOUR
When the gang goes out to socialize after a busy day, the drinks start flowing and free snacks can seem very appealing. A glass of wine (white or red) has about 110 to 130 calories, while a martini has 160 and a Cosmopolitan may have more than 200 calories. Instead, order a drink of half cranberry juice and half club soda garnished with a lime wedge—it looks like a cocktail and has only about 50 calories. And if you’re hungry, steer clear of nachos, chicken wings and other bar favorites, and munch on a handful or two of mixed nuts. Yes, salted nuts are loaded with sodium, and it’s doubtful that the restaurant is serving up unsalted varieties. But at least the nuts come with a dose of protein and healthy fats to fill you up.

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3. LUNCHES IN
A working meeting that rolls through lunch can lead to high-calorie takeout food delivered to the conference room. This is why we suggest leaving a stash of Nutrisystem’s ready to eat lunches in your desk drawer. When the rest of the group reaches for a slice, you can feel confident you’re staying on track. Forgot to leave some options in your drawer or not on Nutrisystem? If you can, plan ahead and bring a healthy lunch from home on those days and beg off the takeout by mentioning that you don’t like to waste food. If you’re not prepared with lunch from home, suggest ordering from a restaurant that offers salads or other more nutritious options.

4. OUT TO LUNCH
When you’re headed out to eat at midday, try to steer the choice to places where you know you can order a healthy meal. If you find yourself at a restaurant with big portions of high-calorie foods, look for lunch-size portions on the menu or eat just half of your meal and ask for a container to take the rest home—where you can discard it for a healthier evening meal. Click here to check out our Eating Out Guide, which is packed with tips to help you order smart >

5. BREAK ROOM TREATS
Donuts, pastries, candy and other goodies show up in break rooms and office kitchens, brought in by those who like to share them. Bypass these temptations by keeping a supply of healthy snacks in your office or work bag. Nutrisystem snacks are nutritionally balanced with plenty of protein, fiber and smart carbs. If you don’t have them on hand, look for other healthy choices in pre-portioned amounts, so you eat only enough to satisfy the hunger.

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6. COFFEE BREAKS
When it’s time for the afternoon coffee run, pass on the high-calorie specialty drinks and stick with black coffee you can lighten up with skim or soy milk. On hot days, consider a cup of refreshing iced green tea rather than a frappuccino or other options loaded with sugar and fat. Learn how to cut calories from your coffee right here.