Eating at Your Desk Is Making You Fat — Here’s Why!
By: Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
I’m writing this article while looking directly in the mirror because, essentially, I’m also to blame and talking about myself. If you’re like me, I’m constantly working, and breaking free from work to eat a meal simply isn’t feasible most days. What do I find myself doing? Eating at my desk so I can try to get as much work done as possible. But am I really productive doing that? I knew doing such wasn’t a good idea, but there’s a lot that you should know about eating at your desk and some of the ways it could be causing you to gain weight. It definitely made me rethink eating at my desk.
You’re Not Paying Attention to How Much You’re Eating
If you were to look at eating at your desk in the same fashion you do eating while watching television, you’d notice their similarities. The fact that you are working while eating at your desk takes your focus away from the food you are consuming, which means you could be consuming more than you wanted to.
Many people keep snacks in their desk drawer, and when their stomach starts growling in the middle of the afternoon, they reach for them. They open the packaging, and before they know it, they have eaten the entire bag or container. Just because you’re working doesn’t mean those calories don’t count because you weren’t paying attention. You need to be aware of what you are eating and in what quantity to ensure you aren’t putting yourself in a caloric surplus.
When you find you’re hungry, take a short break and focus on what you are eating. Portion it out and stick to the amount you should be eating and their serving sizes.
You’re Not Telling Your Brain You’re Full
In the office, you’re in a rush. As they say, “Time is money.” And when you’re hungry, you just want to devour whatever is in front of you and move on with your day. Well, that’s actually a terrible plan. When you eat, it takes a little while for your body to tell your brain it’s full. This is all partially controlled by the stomach, intestines, and even your blood sugar levels.
Eating at your desk takes the focus off of the food and onto your work. Your focus and attention on your projects could cause you to bypass the sensation of satiety and cause you to continue eating — leading to overconsumption.
Let’s get geeky for a second here. When it comes to hunger and satiety, two hormones come into play — leptin and ghrelin. When ghrelin (a hunger hormone) is released, you will get the sensation that you need to eat something — as in RIGHT NOW. On the other hand, when leptin (a hormone that decreases appetite) is released, it will tell your body that it is full and to stop eating.
You’re Increasing Stress Levels Which Raises Cortisol
I’m sure you have heard the word “cortisol” tossed around at some point. When stressed, your body releases cortisol — a stress hormone. This stress hormone can wreak havoc on your body and cause you to store body fat. To reduce cortisol levels, you need to focus on minimizing stress throughout the day. Working nonstop during the day and eating at your desk doesn’t allow you the opportunity to unwind, destress, and simply breathe.
When you are hungry, rather than eating at your desk, step away to eat something. That means getting up from your desk, walking out of your office or cubicle, and taking a break. Find a nice quiet place where you are clutter-free and away from your work. Clear your mind, focus on the flavors of your food, and take some deep breaths. Simply getting away for a few minutes throughout the day to relax is a great way to help control and reduce cortisol levels.
You’re More Sedentary During the Day
It’s a simple fact that if you are eating at your desk to keep working on projects, it means you’re not getting up very often throughout the day. The more sedentary you are, the less movement you have, which means the fewer total calories you’re burning throughout the day. When you aren’t burning as many calories and you lack activity, you’re not effectively burning calories, which means you’re risking putting yourself in a caloric surplus which can cause you to add on the pounds and body fat.
Make sure you are getting up during the day, and by not eating at your desk and finding another spot to have your lunch or snack, you’re forcing yourself to stand up from your desk chair and move.
If you want to provide your body with both physical and mental energy that can last all day, toss a serving of MuscleSport Thermal Revolution into your morning supplement regimen. Thermal Revolution can support heightened energy levels while also targeting and burning body fat. This potent thermogenic can also increase alertness to help you stay productive and on task at school or in the office.
You’re Rushing and Not Chewing Thoroughly
Those who eat quickly tend to gain more weight when compared to those who eat slowly and chew their food thoroughly. As odd as it may seem, research has shown that when you chew your food until there are no lumps or large pieces, it actually helps burn more calories during digestion. While the added caloric burn won’t produce a rock-hard six-pack overnight, the fact that it can equate to thousands of extra calories burned over the course of months can help prevent you from gaining weight in the long term.
Additionally, when you chew slowly and take your time, it also allows your body to send signals to the brain that it is full. If you rush through lunch when eating at your desk, you may drastically exceed the amount of food you should have consumed by the time your body tells the brain to give you the sensation of satiety.
BONUS: You’re Not Being Productive Eating at Your Desk
Think you’re productive by eating at your desk and continuing to work? Think again. The fact that you take your focus and concentration away from your work each and every time you go to take a bite can be enough to throw off your productivity.
If you want to stay productive and be as efficient and effective as possible throughout the day, walk away from your office for a meal or snack rather than eating at your desk. In the long run, you can get more done and stay healthier in the process.