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Get moving at the office to stay trim

Sunday - 2/19/2012, 11:25am  ET

vendingmachine512.jpg
The office vending machine can be the downfall of many a strong-willed worker trying to eat healthier. (Thinkstock)

Paula Wolfson, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - There was a time when workers ate hearty meals to fuel long days of labor -- not anymore.

Today, our jobs are largely sedentary, and our waistlines are getting wider. We sit too much at the office, and gradually pack on the pounds.

"Even though we are busy, we are not burning calories," says Tanya Johnson, a dietitian at Washington Adventist Hospital. "So anything that will get you up and moving around and anything that makes you more conscious of what you are doing is really important."

She says "mindless eating" is to blame for a lot of office weight gain, that we forget to think before we eat. Johnson says get rid of that candy dish on your desk, and if colleagues leave treats on a table nearby, "I would ask them to move it further away to somewhere where you actually have to get up and walk over there and chose to eat it."

Movement is crucial. Experts say to stand while making calls, take stairs instead of an elevator, and go down the hall to talk to coworkers instead of instant messaging.

Johnson says every little bit helps. She says skip the coffee break -- especially when doughnuts or muffins are involved -- and go for a walk.

She says you can stroll around your office, but it is far better to get outside. "That is going to get you in a different environment, it is going to give your brain a little bit of rest, it's going to give you fresh air and you are physically moving and you are not eating

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)