Gaining Weight on the Job?

Companies are weighing in to help busy professionals fight the battle of the bulge

By Cherie Berkley, MS
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Monthly birthday cakes, free pizza breaks, long workdays, and regular client dinners are taking their toll on many Americans' waistlines. How many times have you heard a co-worker say, "Try some of these cookies I baked last night"? Sighing with guilt, you take a cookie from the plate. At some point, even the most disciplined eaters fall victim to the tempting office goodies, promising himself or herself that this is the last time.

Truth is, after awhile, many people do notice one more cookie or a "little" cake in the most inopportune places. We slowly start seeing our clothes shrink around us. For some busy professionals, the only exercise during their day is the walk to the restroom. And many employers are starting to pay attention to the domino effect.

"With a lot of professionals, their schedules fluctuate so rapidly. They could be in Paris today, L.A. tomorrow, and Chicago the next day. In that one given week they could've traveled two, maybe three times and still need to make sure they aren't sitting down at a restaurant consuming four times the caloric intake they should have," Jack Poll, recreation and employees services manger at SAS in Cary, N.C., tells WebMD.

Weight Gain Waiting to Happen

Twelve-hour workdays lead to a dangerous combination of eating out every day with no time to exercise, says Nicole Hudson, a human resources executive in Memphis, Tenn. She gained 20 pounds in two years. "The possibility of going to the gym was a dream deferred because I got off from work at 9 p.m. and the gym closed at 10 p.m. Therefore, I gained weight. My company didn't have an on-site gym, and the healthy cafeteria alternatives -- such as our salad bar -- were a joke."