The most common foods we overeat at work.


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The most common foods we overeat at work.

The office environment is notorious for weight gain. Not only does an office based job see us spending hours and hours a day sitting, but it is also an opportunity for plenty of eating, and eating foods that are particularly conducive to weight gain. Since we also know from behavioural research that we become like the people we spend our time with, when our officemates are eating, or more specifically eating high calorie foods, we are much more likely to follow their lead. So if you know your waistband is a little tighter since you have been at your workplace, here are the foods most likely to be doing the damage. 

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Biscuits

The biscuits may come courtesy of the office biscuit jar, or as special treats that colleagues bring in, but those tasty morsels made from vegetable oil, sugar and white flour are a recipe for disaster when it comes to eating mindless calories and weight gain. With a single chocolate biscuit containing up to 100 calories and 3-4g of fat, and the ease at which we can eat many biscuits throughout the day without even noticing, it is no wonder that sweet biscuits are so closely linked to weight gain. If your office does offer biscuits, one of the keys to reducing your consumption is not having them in sight, so try and keep them in a cupboard or ceramic container so you are not tempted so often. Even better, create your own rule to not eat the biscuits at work in general. 

Milky coffee

Think how many cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites you routinely consume while you are at work? Chances are there is one on the way to work, another mid-morning and even a third on a particularly long day. And unlike black coffee and tea, those milky coffee calories add up, with a small cup offering at least 80-100 calories, or the equivalent of an extra meal a day if you enjoy two or three. Therein lies the association with workday coffees and weight gain. So, if you do enjoy a milk based coffee, try and limit yourself to just one each day and swap to tea or black coffee on other occasions. 

Cake

There always seem to be an abundance of cake at work – it is always someone’s birthday, or a reason to celebrate and then we have the office feeders who routinely bake treats for others who have less willpower to enjoy. With a single serve of plain cake containing 10-12g of fat and 300-400 calories, you can see that enjoying this extra sweet treat a few times each week will quickly lead to weight gain. For this reason getting into a habit of saying no more times than not when cake is offered at work is the key to success, or limit the office birthday celebrations to just once each month. 

Chocolate bars

It may be the fundraising chocolate box situated at the front desk, or the vending machine that screams your name mid afternoon, but if you are in the habit of indulging in some sweet chocolate on more afternoons than not, you have cemented a pretty strong chocolate habit at work. With a 50g bar of chocolate containing as many calories as a meal, if chocolate is your thing you will always be much better to choose a small, individual portion as opposed to an entire bar, and where possible keep daily temptations such as fundraising chocolate boxes well out of reach and sight. 

Dried fruit and nuts

Fresh fruit is healthy, as are nuts but when we demolish entire bags of high calorie trail mix simple because it is within easy reach on our desk we are mindlessly consuming hundreds of extra calories each week, often under the impression that we are being ‘healthy’. Mindless munching is an issue for a number of reasons, but specifically when we mindlessly munch on high calorie foods such as nuts and dried fruit it is a recipe for disaster when it comes to weight gain. Keep your fruit fresh and focus on one single snack of nuts each day for both good health and weight control. This means not keeping the massive bag of nuts at work, rather portion controlling them out so you cannot overeat them 

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