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File the results of this survey under, "Duh."
CareerBuilder commissioned an online survey of over 3,600 full-time workers, conducted by Harris Interactive. The topic? Packing on the pounds at work. Fifty-five percent of workers consider themselves overweight. Forty-one percent have gained weight at their present jobs, with fifty-nine percent gaining over 10 pounds and 30 percent gaining over 20 pounds.
The list, of course, includes mostly sedentary professions. Legal professionals place sixth, with forty-eight percent of lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals reporting weight gain on the job.
It’s easy to see why. We sit at a desk all day. Often, we eat at our desks, sometimes twice or three times per day. If we’re working extended hours, and/or have families, we might never have time to exercise. And stress is a well-known cause of both over-eating and stored belly fat.
The rampant alcoholism probably doesn’t help either.
Personally, after three years of law school, months of bar review and unemployment, and twenty-seven years of fast food, I was, by far, at my heaviest ever. Six months later, I’m at my lowest weight since the Spice Girls era. Here are some of the things that worked for me:
Food Tracking Apps
One of the most common tips you’ll hear from dieticians and other medical professionals is to keep a food journal. Track what you eat and the amount of calories consumed and you’ll be shocked at how much you’re actually consuming versus what your body actually needs.
However, old fashioned paper-and-pencil journals are a pain. You don’t have time to write down everything, and then look up calories at the end of the day.
A great app (and website) equivalent is MyFitnessPal. Both the site and the app contain food journaling, a massive user-submitted nutrition database, and nutrition analysis tools. The app also has a barcode scanning feature, so if you are eating pre-packaged foods, it’s as simple as scanning the container. Manually entering food items is also possible for home-cooked or local restaurant choices.
After long days of lawyering, the last thing you want to do when you go home is to work out. Pairing up with a workout buddy, especially one with a forceful temperament (perhaps a fellow lawyer?), helps fight the laziness. When you’re feeling like watching a marathon of Law and Order reruns, your gym buddy will be there to force you onto the treadmill.
It’s a corny cliché. But if you want to avoid the extra pounds that come with a sedentary lifestyle, you can’t just crash diet for a few weeks and then return to the McDonald’s dollar menu. This doesn’t mean that you have to exclusively feast on whole wheat, veggies and grilled lean meats, but it does mean that when you do indulge, it should be the exception, not the habit.