Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Weight Is Over pt. 1: Gaining and Losing Work Weight

I didn't get the freshmen 15 when I went to college, but I definitely got the first year 15 when I started my full-time job in Corporate America. That first year 15 became a second year 20.

The sedentary lifestyle common in most corporate offices has compromised my health from fatigue, to more frequent colds to weight gain.

Being in a client facing industry, especially as a woman, image matters. I know we wish that it didn't or believe that it shouldn't, but it does. I've written before about my trouble finding appropriate work wear that fits my size. My weight gain has only made it harder. More booty, more boobs, more belly, more problems. No, your waist does not have to be a certain size to get ahead, but weight fluctuations can cause a lot of problems if, like myself, you find it hard to keep your wardrobe updated. Whether the clothes are too tight or too baggy, the result can take away from your overall presentation of professionalism.

The weight is over for me. It's time for me to reclaim my health and my body.
There is a stigma about changing your eating habits and being purposeful about trying to lose weight. Often, people who admit to trying are accused of not loving themselves or being vain. The anxiety wells up when I'm out with co-workers or friends and it comes time to order food. To overcome these feelings, I started by telling my close friends and family about my efforts. My confession was met with the usual responses "You're not fat"..."What are you worried about?"..."You look fine"....  I don't feel fine. I'm ready for a change. Speaking it out loud has taken some of the shame and secrecy out of the process for me.

The first post of this series is about how I got here. Take this as a warning.


After graduating, I went from the active life of a student to the much more passive life of a full-time Corporate. Sitting for 10 hours a day (more some days) was the first contributor to my weight gain. Yes, I got up to grab lunch, go to the bathroom, and go to meetings, but these moments of absence from my chair were not nearly enough activity. 

Poor Eating

I started stress eating as the intensity of the job increased, especially sugary snacks. While most of my co-workers grabbed their midday coffees, I opted for midday cookies. On top of the stress eating, I was eating the same amount during mealtime as I did when I was more active. The most detrimental change to my eating habits was the increased takeout food due to my busy, unpredictable schedule and poor planning on my part.

Not Working Out

We all know them. Those co-workers who do a 6am run before heading to the office each morning. Well that has never been me. Once I started working, I felt no motivation to workout on a consistent basis. I was tired in the morning going to work and tired coming home. All I wanted to do was eat dinner and sit on my couch (I have a very comfortable couch). Not building in time for working out meant that I did not workout.


Of all the factors that contributed to my weight gain, denying that there was a problem was the biggest contributor. Even when it became harder to button my pants or find a top to wear, I didn't stop to consider why I was having so much trouble. The clothes hadn't shrunk. I had expanded. The denial and later, fear of acknowledging the truth led to a lot of pain and shame.

Each of the factors above: sitting, poor eating, lack of exercise, and denial, contributed to my weight gain, illnesses and my decreased energy.  Rarely when problems arise is there only one source. I'll continue to post about my progress and my experience tackling these issues.


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