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Why You Should Stop Eating Lunch at Your Desk

By Amy Bunn, RN BSN


If you’re anything like the 67% of Americans who eat their lunch at their desk, you may think that you’re too busy answering phone calls and emails to take a “real” lunch break. Although this may seem like a good option in order to get more done in your day, you may not realize the negative toll this can have on your weight loss efforts and overall health. 


Eating, especially at meal times, should be something that is done mindfully. This is so that we can savor and appreciate every bite, which will help us tune in to our natural satiety cues and eat less while enjoying our food more. We have all been told not to eat while being distracted by things such as the television or our phones, and while it may seem more acceptable to eat while catching up on emails or working on a spreadsheet, the concept is the same. If we are not fully focused on eating, we may tend to consume more calories while not fully savoring our food.


Getting away from our desks also allows you to get more steps in, which is an important contributor to your exercise goals and overall health. Whether you walk 200 feet to the company cafeteria, or stroll to a nearby park for a picnic style lunch, you will be burning more calories to get there than by sitting stationary at your desk. Although this may seem to take precious time away from your busy days, this break also allows you to have some mental clarity away from our work, which can boost our mood and increase productivity.


There may be times where leaving your desk is impossible, and for those times, a little planning can go a long way. Keep healthy, portion-controlled snacks within easy reach at your desk. Ideas include fresh fruit, pre-portioned bags of nuts, or fresh vegetable crudités. This can help you make better food choices and steer clear of the dreaded vending machine.


The bottom line:  While you may think that you are making a responsible decision by choosing to stay and eat at your desk during your lunch hour, you may actually be sabotaging yourself and your efforts towards weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Give yourself the opportunity to move, socialize and enjoy your meal even while you’re at work. You deserve it!