Woman eating a healthy lunch at her desk


How to manage your weight at work

  • Combat a sedentary lifestyle with simple desk exercises and standing work routines.
  • Focus on hydration, balanced meals and fiber-rich snacks for sustained energy at work.
  • Manage stress and sleep well to aid in effective weight control and overall well-being.

Managing a healthy weight and lifestyle can be challenging, especially if you work from a desk all day. Plus, you have a busy schedule and making time for healthier habits may feel overwhelming. Whether you work from home or in person, every ounce of effort can bring meaningful results over time.

Maintaining your long-term health is also a savvy way to protect your financial goals. Less medical bills means more money in your retirement or vacation fund. Keep reading for ways to reach your weight loss goals—one step at a time.

Workplace exercise

Regular exercise controls your weight, lowers your risk for disease and can increase your lifespan. If you’re strapped for time, don’t worry. Even five minutes of physical activity can burn calories and sharpen your thinking to meet that big project deadline. Take advantage of every minute of your limited free time by planning quick and easy workplace exercises.

  • Start your day with a workout. Start your morning on the right foot with light exercise or stretching to get your blood flowing. It can feel good to accomplish something before the workday starts.
  • “Deskercise.” Keep the momentum going with desk exercises throughout your day—no gym equipment required. Try desk pushups, chair triceps dips, squats, lunges and other exercises. Balancing parenthood, a career and staying active can be daunting. Get eight tips for staying active with your kids.
  • Stand up. Sitting all day can trigger health issues—and in some cases, a dormant lifestyle can lead to death. Standing more may reduce your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and back and shoulder pain.
    The transition from sitting to standing all day can be challenging. Ease your way into standing at your desk by setting a timer for 30 to 60 minutes a day until you adjust. Talk with your supervisor about workplace ergonomics and ask how you can get a standing desk.
  • Build exercise into your busy day. Sneak exercise into your routine on days full of meetings. Stand up during meetings if you can. Lunge your way to lunch. Take a short walk and get some fresh air.
  • Walk it off. Walking can boost your mental and physical health and improve work performance. Park farther away from work, take the stairs or start a walking group with co-workers.

Learn more about the benefits of exercise and how much physical activity you may need.

Workplace diet

  • Stay hydrated. Your jam-packed routine makes it easy to forget to drink the daily recommended amount of water. Consider adding hydrating fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli and other water-rich foods, into your diet.
  • Plan healthier meals and snacks. Eating healthier is easier when you plan ahead. Dedicate one day a week to grocery shop and prep meals ahead of time. Packing your meals and snacks keeps you in control of your nutrition.
  • Don’t forget fiber and protein. Fiber and protein help you feel full for a longer time.
  • Balance your diet. Your plate should be one-half vegetables and fruit, one-quarter protein and one-quarter grains or carbohydrates. A balanced diet can help control weight, decrease cravings and keep you energized during the workday.
  • Make your calories count. Calories give your body energy. You need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Physical activity is one way to burn calories. Download a calorie counting app to track your intake and reduce your portion sizes.

Ready to start a weight loss program? Explore how to set yourself up for weight loss success.

Reduce stress

You’ve likely seen “Works well under pressure” as a desired skill in job descriptions. The fact is, everyone experiences work-related stressors—and some stress is bad for your health. You can try a few things to handle stress and turn stressors into fuel for productivity and personal growth.

  • Get enough sleep. While not everyone has a flexible work schedule, poor sleep is a top risk factor for weight gain and obesity. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule and eat a healthy, balanced diet to reduce stress and promote better sleep.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can help your mind handle and adapt to work stress. Try the mindful workout for your overall health.
  • Feeling like what you eat. What you eat can make or break your ability to digest stress. Add these top foods to relieve stress to your healthier work diet.  

Your mood can influence how you eat

Work stress can send your body into fight-or-flight mode, your body’s reaction to a potential threat. Eating is a common response to stress because your body wants to gain more energy. Fight your cravings for junk food with four tips to prevent overeating.

When to seek treatment

While you don’t want to delay a healthier you, ask yourself, “Am I ready for significant lifestyle changes?” You’re more likely to reach your goals when you’re committed to change. Weight management in the workplace is more critical if you have health issues increasing your risk of obesity. Learn more about obesity and its complex treatment challenges.

Weighing your options

Focus on what you can control, and remember that weight loss isn’t about immediate changes and results. Learn more and schedule an appointment when you’re ready to reclaim your life with safe, sustainable weight loss programs


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