IT Life
08:06 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata

6 Ways To Lose The Tech 20

Succumbed to the freshman 15's sequel? It's time to drop the Red Bull and Doritos and get a move on.
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(Image: SRxA's Word on Health)
(Image: SRxA's Word on Health)

Can working in IT make you fat? If the majority of your workday is spent in a chair, then it's entirely possible.

In fact, according to an article in Men's Health, "Sentenced to the Chair," a worker who stands all day (think store clerks) burns about 1,500 calories while on the job, while a person sitting behind a desk expends about 1,000 calories.

After only eight months of starting sedentary work, a person will gain an average of 16 pounds, according to the Men's Health article, citing research from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

And that's the average office worker in the average cube farm.

If you're lucky enough to work at one of Silicon Valley's celebrated corporate campuses, you're tempted by 24x7 access to all the food you can eat, for free or at significantly reduced prices. For example, the chefs employed by Google cook nearly 2 million pounds of meat per year, according to Thrillist, which highlights the "13 Companies With the Best Food Perks." At the Facebook campus, you score three free meals a day, five days a week, and your dining options on the main campus include two cafes, a BBQ shack, a burger bar, a pizzeria, a taqueria, a sweet shop... oh, and the obligatory salad cafe.

If that weren't enough, stress is known to cause weight gain. Anyone working in IT or tech claiming to not be stressed out is likely either lying or crazy.

Meanwhile, a growing body of research is showing that the negative effects of sitting all day at work can't simply be ameliorated by an evening gym workout. If you're spending eight hours or more sitting at a desk, your body is going through all manner of physiological changes that not only increase the chances of weight gain, but could actually take years off your life.

So what's a desk-bound IT professional to do? Here are six tips to help you beat the Tech 20. Once you've scrolled through the slides, drop by the comments section, and tell us which methods you think will work best for you. While you're at it, give us your own tips and tricks for keeping the forces of gravity at bay.

Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
IW Pick
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
9/4/2014 | 10:48:56 AM
Re: Moving tip

Super fantastic tip. :) That keeps you not only moving your muscles and eyeballs in a short healthy break but also keeps you efficient for longer time during your workday as your mind gets relaxed, then it gets less tired. 

Before, I used to bring the teapot to my desk. Then, I started to leave it in the kitchen to force myself to stand up and go to refill my cup. 

At some point, too, I started collecting apps similar to the one you have. All apps to take little breaks, which many times you don't do, otherwise. 

There are some five-minute exercise apps that I also use as mini-breaks. I have downloaded them from the AppStore and they are great. :D I have a 15-minute yoga routine for a longer break, and a meditation app for a 5 or 10 minute meditation break. All in all, I can get a 40 minute exercise routine at the end without moving far from my desk and taking only short breaks. :) 

There are some exercises designed for people who work in an office. They can be done without moving from your desk. 


User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 10:38:21 AM
Standing Desks
I don't have one -- and really, really don't want one -- but several friends swear by their standing desks. In most cases, they have both a regular desk (with chair) and a standing desk. Usually, they began by alternating between the two, and now spend most of their workday at the standing desk. One friend and former colleague, who lost a lot of weight, much prefers the standing desk and, I believe, no longer uses his traditional desk at all.

IW Pick
User Rank: Apprentice
9/4/2014 | 9:31:37 AM
Moving tip
Stepping away from your desk can be hard to remember if you're arms deep in debugging, or working on a report for the CEO. I set up a timer on my desktop using an online timer to go off every 20 minutes. That way I can give my eyeballs a break from the screen and also get up and walk around the office for a few minutes to stretch my muscles and my mind. 
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