bringing lunch to work

Avoiding Workplace Obesity

I think one of the factors for obesity and weight gain is the type of environments we work in. Most of us are chained to a desk and computer for 9 or 10 hours a day at work–and then we go home and often sit in front of the home computer or the TV.

There are other major factors to weight gain at the office. The biggest factor, in my opinion, is eating out. Eating out every day for lunch will definitely pack on the pounds. Unless we’re eating salads and healthy soups for lunch, our choices can add up the calories FAST.

Working in downtown Portland, I’m surrounded by amazing food. There are food carts in front of my office and another group of food carts less then five blocks away in two other directions. Not only that, I’m in the thick of some really good restaurants. It’s so tempting to just eat out.

I’m really thankful that the one habit I’ve been able to avoid is buying my lunch. I take my lunch to work every day. If I had to guess how often I eat lunch out in a year I’d say it’s less than 5 times a year. I just don’t want to spend the money OR the calories!

Packing On The Pounds

Obese: Is usually described as being 30-40 pounds overweight
Severely Obese: Is believed to be about 60 pounds overweight
Morbidly Obese: Is the condition of being 100 pounds overweight
Super Obese: A very serious condition of carrying 200+ pounds overweight

Wow–seeing that list spelled out for me is shocking. I was definitely classified as being morbidly obese when I weighed 250 pounds. There’s no avoiding that label, as much as I try to deny it (even to this day it’s hard to admit that I was “obese”).

When I was heavy (fat, obese, whatever you want to call it) I ate out a lot. I ate out a lot at home, I rarely cooked real food and I also ate my lunch out probably three times a week at work. There was a cafe in the same building as my office and I’d get their sandwiches or soups and salads. I thought I was making okay choices but I really wasn’t. I also ate fast food that was around the office (Subway, Taco Bell and I think there was a pizza place nearby).

I rarely took healthy foods to work and if I did eat my lunch in the office it was often from a vending machine.

Shedding the Extras 

One of the tips I often give people who are trying to lose weight is to examine how often they eat out. If they eat out at lunchtime every day at work and then go home and order out food for dinner–that adds up fast. Simply eliminating the lunch time temptations could make some immediate differences when trying to lose weight.

It’s clear to me now what the temptations are and that’s why I bring my lunch to work. I get creative so I don’t get burned out. I bring salads and top it with leftover chicken or tuna fish. I bring soups for lunch or leftovers. Check out the post I wrote on how to Reinvent Your Lunch. I have some good tips on making lunch time fun without getting burned out on sandwiches.

If you’re just starting out trying to lose the weight, try eliminating one lunch date a week. Then the next week, eliminate another one. You might find that you enjoy eating your lunches made from home! Small changes like a lower calorie coffee drink, water instead of soda, or walking at lunch time, or change your printer to as far away as possible so you have to walk a lot,  can make a humongous difference. Making time to run during your lunch break to energize yourself and get out of the office is also a plus and it frees up your evenings.

QUESTION: How often do you eat lunch out?