Is your desk job making you fat?

When you first start a desk job, you notice a change in your shape, writes Dana Z. Taleb. Even though your calorie intake remains the same, you still gain a few kilos. You get busier and have less and less time for exercise. A small weight fluctuation isn’t such a big deal, but over the course of a year or five years, that could result in major weight gain.

Sitting down all day long is one of the worst things for your health, as it increases the likelihood of heart disease and weight gain — among other things. We sit down at the office, then we sit in the car, and once home, we sit to eat and watch TV!

So, what can you do to prevent weight gain in that case?

Try to schedule your exercise, if it’s not scheduled it won’t get done. It helps if you choose to exercise somewhere close to work or home. The goal is to increase blood flow and heart rate, so even if you can only do 15-20 minutes, it’s better than nothing.

You are not moving much, therefore you need need eat lower calorie lunches and snacks. Bringing your lunch from home is one of the best ways to control your calorie intake. Remember to focus on fruits and veggies for your meals and snacks.

Take regular breaks and stretch. Every hour, get up from your desk and go for a quick walk anywhere (furthest restroom, copy machine, water cooler, colleague’s desk). Just move. You can set alarms to help remind you to get up and walk.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator to reach your office. This is a simple but effective exercise. At the base of the stairs, put your toes at the edge of the base step and lower your heels to the ground and then stretch up on the the balls of your feet. Do this five times to give the calves a thorough workout.

Hydrate. Get yourself a water bottle and keep it on your desk. Make yourself drink at least one full bottle before lunch, and one full one before you go home at the end of the day. Drinking water will keep you fuller and less tempted to snack on empty calories.

Experts say that with every hour of inactivity, levels of blood sugar and the stress hormone cortisol rise. This triggers cravings that lead to overeating. Plus, the liver slows down and doesn’t do its job of burning fat for energy. The body thinks it’s in an emergency state because of high blood sugar and high cortisol — and it’s thinking something major here, like famine — causes the liver to signal the body that more calories should become fat; and that this fat should be stored mostly around the belly as an easy energy resource when the perceived emergency comes.

So stay fit and healthy despite all the hours spent sitting by just moving every chance you get.