Out with the days of factory work and assembly lines, in with the desk jobs and computers. If you’re an IT consultant, you may spend many hours sitting at a desk, reviewing lines of code, programming new computer systems and testing for software bugs – but what you probably aren’t doing is moving around a lot.
With an increase in wearable tech popularity (from devices that calculate the steps you take per day), a recent Fitness Blender article determined IT jobs are sedentary, meaning you only burn 820 calories per day, or take about 4,800 steps, from typical job duties, such as running to the printer, answering customers’ questions and gathering office supplies from the supply closet. Comparatively, the ideal number of steps taken per day is 10,000, or about five miles of walking.
According to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey on work and weight gain, 50 percent of information technology professionals report gaining weight since starting their jobs. To determine if your IT job might make you gain weight, notice if the following situations apply to your specific job function:
- You sit at your desk for long periods of the day.
- Your office break room has a television with cable connected to it.
- You’re in management.
- Your workplace has frequent celebrations, such as happy hour or catered lunches.
- You frequently go out to eat at lunchtime.
Since IT jobs typically mean long periods of inactivity, you can banish the IT bloat by incorporating the following diet and exercise tips into your work routine:
- Avoid office-provided goodies. IT departments are notorious for stocking break rooms with carb-heavy snacks and homemade treats for special occasions, so make rules for avoiding break room goodies on certain days, during certain hours or altogether, advises Susan Ricker, a writer and contributor for CareerBuilder.com.
- Bring a salad for lunch. Instead of going out to eat with your coworkers every day, vow to bring a salad – or build a to-go salad at a great salad bar near your office – to have a lunch that’s low in calories, loaded with vegetables and packed with filling fiber and protein.
- Exercise at noon. Since you brought your lunch and ate it at your desk, you’ll free up your lunch hour for sweating it out at the gym, jogging near the office or even walking around a nearby shopping mall. Some IT workers avoid the pounds by walking in groups through their multi-story building, up and down several flights of stairs, during their entire lunch hour.
- Drink water. Divide your body weight in half, and that’s the ideal number of water in ounces you should be drinking per day. Make it easy by filling up a 32-ounce water bottle right when you get to work, and sip on it all day. Water is an appetite suppressant and can flush out excess salt that leads to water weight gain. An added perk: Drinking water can improve your reaction time, according to British researchers.
- Pack your own snacks. If your office doesn’t provide healthy snacks, bring your own, such as low-fat cheese, yogurt, nuts, whole fruit and low-sodium vegetable juice.