by Scholten A

Image for visceral fat article You have gained 10 pounds since you started your job. You want to lose the weight, but you feel hopeless. There are donuts at every meeting. There is a vending machine down the hall. You also spend long hours at the office. Here are some tips to help you regain control of your nutrition and your weight.

In general, weight gain is often linked to:

Plan Ahead

A major part of success is being prepared. Planning ahead can keep you focused and in control. Plan for the next day on the night before. Prepare meals ahead of time so you can grab them on the go. Have healthy snacks or cereal to keep in your desk. Keep them in small portions so you do not overeat. If you have a refrigerator at work, use it to store low-fat milk, yogurt, fruit, or salad dressing.

Too Much Food or the Wrong Foods

When busy, it is easy to grab fast food or skip meals. Both of these habits can ruin your weight loss plan. Here are some tips for eating healthy when you are busy:

  • Eat breakfast—it may give you more energy and help you resist donuts at the meeting.
  • Keep fresh fruit and veggies with you for snacks.
  • Use non- or low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, or milk.
  • Limit salad dressing to 1 tablespoon on your lunchtime salad.
  • Choose lean meats or other low fat proteins like beans.
  • When eating in restaurants or cafeterias, choose lean meats or grilled chicken. Choose small portions. Skip the french fries and chips. Also, order items without cheese, and limit or skip mayonnaise.
  • Drink more water. It will help you feel more full

Space meals out more evenly so you eat every 3 to 4 hours. Think before you act. Instead of a candy bar in the afternoon, choose:

  • Microwave light popcorn
  • Whole wheat crackers with peanut butter
  • Fresh fruit
  • Non- or low-fat yogurt
  • Carrot and pepper strips with a low-fat dressing or bean spread
  • Mixed nuts and dried fruit (not too much—they are high in calories)
  • A fresh fruit yogurt smoothie

Watch your portions. Even some healthful foods can cause weight gain if you eat too much.

Too Little Exercise or Physical Activity

It can be hard to get enough physical activity when you are busy. To get more exercise at work:

  • Park farther away from the office. Try this with appointments and errands too.
  • Get a headset or use your cell phone so you can walk while you talk. Make sure you do not bother your coworkers.
  • Have meetings on the run. Discuss business during an afternoon walk, run, or jog.
  • Hand-deliver a message or document instead of using email or the phone.
  • Take a break every hour or two. Get up, move around, or stretch.
  • If your office has a gym or is near one, use it! Keep workout clothes and an extra towel at the office.
  • Take a short walk around the block. Go up a few flights of stairs. Exercise helps improve blood flow to your brain, which can help you think.
  • Tell your boss and coworkers what you are doing. Do not just disappear to go for a run or walk at work. They will likely support your physical activity breaks. Some of your coworkers might even join you!


American Heart Association 

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 


Canada's Food Guide  

Public Health Agency of Canada 


Get moving: Easy tips to get active. American Heart Association website: Available at: Accessed June 10, 2021.

Healthy eating at work. Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety website. Available at: Accessed June 10, 2021.

Nutrition info about beverages. Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. Available at: Accessed June 10, 2021.

Physical activity for weight loss. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed June 10, 2021.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board
  • Update Date: 06/10/2021