Is Your Office Environment Making You Fat?


While it is the norm for a great number of people the truth is that sitting at a desk, with no natural air or light, with minimal movement for at least 8 hours each day is not good for us. In fact, for many of us, it is the very reason that we are constantly feeling tired, run down and overwhelmed. As you can imagine, when you are not feeling 100% it can be exceptionally challenging to get through the day, let alone to fully focus and committing to a healthy lifestyle. So here are the key office diet saboteurs that may be derailing your diet. 

The office kitchen

You may be one of the lucky few who have access to kitchen facilities at your office that are pristine but in my experience, the office kitchen is not up to the hygiene standards that you try and maintain at home. Or, sometimes the kitchen is simply a major risk, because it is where the biscuits, celebratory cakes, fundraising chocolates or past scenes of an occasional 3pm raid, times when you have literally done whatever you have needed to do in order to get your hands on something sweet. Unless you are one of the lucky few who have a company who fully caters for the staff, or whose cleaners are particularly good, in most cases the office kitchen is a space to be very wary of. 

Staff Celebrations

How often is there a birthday, an engagement, a new baby, someone leaving to celebrate during the working week? Sometimes cakes and treats occur so often that you are more likely to eat cake on a given day than not. This is all well and good but if we then go home and celebrate our various family and other social events, you can be eating cake and other sweet treats multiple times each week. There is nothing wrong with treats occasionally but in many cases occasionally becomes more days than not and that is at least an extra 200-300 calories a week that we really do not need. 

The biscuit jar

At face value, the willingness of our employers to provide us with various refreshments to help us get through the working day is a kind gesture but unfortunately the most common options including biscuits and confectionery are far from ideal nutritionally. Research has shown that you are likely to eat double the number of sweet treats when you can see them and for this reason, keeping the biscuit or lolly jar well hidden when you are at work is crucial if you are to stay well away from these tasty workday treats which can become a nasty food habit if you are not careful.


We have all been there – purchasing the entire box of fundraising chocolates and then promptly eating them even though we had promised ourselves that we would door knock the neighbours and flog them off to them. Just because they are ‘for a good cause’ does not make them calorie free and fundraising chocolates also tend to be significantly larger than regular chocolate bars and sweet treats. 

Lunch at the desk

There are two main issues associated with eating at your desk – the first is that if you are eating while you are doing something else you are less likely to be eating mindfully. This means that you are unlikely to be giving attention to how much you are eating and more likely to overeat. Secondly, sitting at your desk to eat your lunch is likely to mean that you have been sedentary for the most part of the day, when lunchtime offers the perfect opportunity to get outside and get some sunlight and move your body. 

Working long hours

Long gone are the days of 9 to 5, with working hours more likely to be 8 till 6 and that is an easy day in the office. The increasing length of the working day, without even taking into consideration the added commuting times means that we have less and less time for recreation and exercise. Days are largely spent sitting; any spare time shunted towards more work or social activities which means that many of us barely move all day. The downside of this is that day by day, our metabolism rate declines, which means that on a daily basis we burn fewer and fewer calories which means that it is easier and easier to gain weight. 

The vending machine

It has happened to all of us, while we may start the day with the best of intentions, on those days in which we are not 100% organized and do not have all of our healthy snacks on hand we resort to a sugar hit from the vending machine. The issue with only having high calorie snack foods on hand is that when work is intense or when we need a quick sugar hot out of hours, often the only food option are high calorie snack foods found at local shops and in vending machines. 

Other workmates

You know exactly who I am talking about, the seemingly well-meaning work colleague who will appear to have your best interests at heart but who also seems to be constantly encouraging you to eat more and more. The thing about other people is that generally speaking they are thinking about themselves and the way your eating habits impact them as opposed to be considering your health, weight and well-being. Dealing with other people, particularly when you are trying to control your calorie intake and keep on track with your diet may mean that you are going to have to be tough, and keep your own health and fitness goals at the forefront of your mind.


Susie Burrell

Please note: This blog aims to supply user-friendly nutrition information for busy people without comprising on food taste and quality but should be used as a guide only and not in place of advice from your own dietitian or medical specialist. For further information on this topic, please consult your health professional. The content of this blog, including attachments, may be privileged and confidential. Any un-authorised use of this content is expressly prohibited. Any views that are expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender expressly, and with authority, states them to be the views of Susie Burrell Pty Ltd.
Category: Nutrition

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