General chatter - How your profession helpsor hinders you weight loss

08-31-2009, 01:30 AM
Just out of curiosity, do you have a profession that you think helps or hinders your weight loss.
Do you have a job in which you engage in physical labor(obviously good exercise)?Are you in a profession that requires major attention to detail(beneficial for journaling, counting calories...points...) ?
Do you have a desk job? Has this affected you weight at all?
This interests me after a recent trip to NYC.I was walking down wall street and noticed the hundreds of business people walking (Very briskly I might add).I saw very few overweight people.....On the other hand, I work with many overweight physicians and nurses.I have a coworker that wears a pedometer to work (she is a nurse) and logs 5-7 miles a day.She is very overweight.Can the stress of our professions make it more difficult to lose?
So...what is your profession and have you made any changes in your daily work routine since you began your weight loss journey??And how has your profession benefited or hindered you in your journey?

08-31-2009, 01:46 AM
I sit at a desk and take calls all day, and there are tons of overweight and morbidly obese people in my profession! There's also the opportunity to snack in between calls...either due to stress or boredom depending on what's going on. And of course our rewards often involve party, cupcakes, donuts etc. So I definitely think the job has something to do with it. It is funny about the doctors and nurses. My sister is a nurse and works 12 hour shifts...just had the gastric sleeve done because she was over 300 lbs. Maybe you're right about the stress level of the job as well.

08-31-2009, 01:59 AM
I'm a nurse and work a mix of day and night 12 hour shifts, an equal mix of each. Going onto and coming off nights is my biggest killer.

It messes with my sleep patterns and means I am awake for longer than people in normal jobs. If I'm working a night shift, I try and sleep in until 10-11 am, but am not always successful. So I have breakfast when I get up, and lunch mid-afternoon, then dinner at 10:30pm or so while I'm at work. Then supper around 2am, and a quick break around 5 or so to get me over the hump.

Coming off nights, I go through this same routine, but then try and stay awake as long as possible so I get back into a normal sleep pattern. So I'll often be awake for 24 hours straight when I start nights, and 28-30 when I'm coming off. I'm not going to eat any less often than every 3-4 hours or so, so that means reducing the calorie count of my individual meals.

Every few months they come out with a new study that says working shift work, particularly nights, messes with your metabolism, increases your risk of cancer and heart disease and reduces your lifespan. Hey, we know that already! Enough of telling us we're going to die, how about concentrating a bit more on what we can do about it? And not working shifts isn't an option. I'm in NICU. The babies can't look after themselves...

08-31-2009, 02:04 AM
I have a job that could VERY EASILY cause me weight control complications, but that I have chosen to use to enable me to more success, and that offers some advantages as well. Every situation can probably be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it.

I work from home, using a computer all day. Now, in addition to being a standard computer job, where I sit all day, I also have the added temptation of having my entire refrigerator, cabinet, and pantry available to me all day, every day. I also have a very high-stress job, which often goes into long hours, and that can trigger overeating (and again, I always have snacks, healthy snacks, at arms's not like I have the food I packed and that's it).

The positives, though, are pretty nice. I have healthy food options from my pantry available, so I can make healthy meals even if I didn't plan ahead. I eat at my desk, and use my lunch breaks for workouts, without worrying about being sweaty/gross afterward, because no one has to see me. And in those meetings where you need to listen, but don't need to talk/interact much, I sometimes do some strength training with my phone on speaker, while watching my monitor. And, of course, I avoid the break-room snacks and vending machines because I don't have them in my house.

08-31-2009, 02:15 AM
Yeah, one of the advantages of working nights I guess is that there are no options, so I have to take my own food. Which means that the decision about what I have is totally up to me, and I am able to take healthy options without being able to buy anything else. So it's totally up to me.

08-31-2009, 02:21 AM
I'm a Freelance Sign Language Interpreter. As an Independent Contractor I have a very flexible schedule. I'd have to say my career is a benefit to me. :)

08-31-2009, 02:34 AM
I do feel not only the job you do, but what shift. I do have a job that I'm on my feet for most of my shift, but my food choices cancel out all that moving I do everyday.

I happen to work as a machine operator, on my feet 8hrs a day, and I do alot of walking, and try to go out of my way to sneek in extra steps, whenever I can. With that said I find it so hard that I do work 2nd shift, 3-11pm, which is alot, better than the 8years on was on 3rd, 11-7am, those hrs were so hard. I do find when I get home at 11pm I want to have a snack while I spend some time on the computer. {never have time in my morning to get on-line} I'm trying to break that habit, but after working 8hrs, can't come home and just go to bed, need to unwind a bit. Which, I then stay up for 3hrs and can't get myself out of bed under 10 or 11am, the next morning, which leaves me so little time, in my mornings {to get my butt in gear, and get some exercise in}

The one thing I do, every Sunday is cut all my veggies and fruits for the week, I also try to make at least one crockpot meal or DH will grill up extra meat, for my lunches for the week. I do find that helps alot with my stress level, before I would just buy my lunch everyday, I did try to eat a salad most days, but those salad dressings are loaded with salt, and some days I would just give in, and get a full fat chicken salad wrap with baked potatoe chips, which would then lead to "I blew it for lunch" so why not add some other junk foods to your day!! Now I pack my lunch, and stay out of the cafe for my last break, and enjoy the snack I brought. Now I just need to work on those nightly snack attacks.

look forward to other replys

08-31-2009, 07:57 AM
I'm in NYC and as the OP mentioned we walk a lot here... in a NY pace. I'm a freelancer by profession and I work all around the city and the boroughs. I have to trek to these places usually by subway which means stairs and walking, and probably standing during the train ride. Lots of old buildings don't have elevators either so my job helps me in my weightloss.

08-31-2009, 08:06 AM
I work in the largest academic department at my university, and we frequently have invited speakers that we take out to dinner, or at least greet with wine, cheese, and other snacks following their talk. Conferences are essentially funded bar and restaurant hops with intermittent scientific symposia. And then there's the semester barbecues, holiday parties, and prospective faculty and grad student visits (which usually involve copious amounts of pizza and cookies). Basically, my job is one big food fest. I guess the only consolation is that since I live in Burlington (the organic food capital of the world) everything is pesticide free :D

08-31-2009, 10:29 AM
I work in the largest academic department at my university, and we frequently have invited speakers that we take out to dinner, or at least greet with wine, cheese, and other snacks following their talk. Conferences are essentially funded bar and restaurant hops with intermittent scientific symposia. And then there's the semester barbecues, holiday parties, and prospective faculty and grad student visits (which usually involve copious amounts of pizza and cookies). Basically, my job is one big food fest. I guess the only consolation is that since I live in Burlington (the organic food capital of the world) everything is pesticide free :D

This is my life, too. I'm a graduate student right now... so as if the constant stream of free food and alcohol wasn't tempting enough, it becomes MORE tempting when you're poor. :dizzy:

08-31-2009, 10:31 AM
I drive a school bus. I think that the stress involved in my occupation plus the fact that I am constantly moving helps me to lose weight. I am not a stress eater.

08-31-2009, 10:45 AM
I'm a software developer (for now) so I sit at a desk all day long. Before I had kids, I also had more active jobs like working in a grocery store and fruit packing sheds, so I was on my feet and moving all day long. I was slim then. :) Now I sit on my butt all day so I think that my job hinders my weight loss.

The programming part of my job is coming to an end so there will be other jobs opening up; hopefully I can snag one that is a little more active!

08-31-2009, 12:19 PM
I'm a midwife (duh) and it definately can hinder weight loss/maintenance. There is always crap food at the nurses station and one of my triggers is being tired and anxious---and a 2 am with a worrisome situation--that is not a great time to see 2 dozen donuts. In addition, families bring food as thank yous, drug reps cater lunches (although I avoid those from a moral standpoint), and the provider lounge at the hospital is like a convenience store---all sorts of free sodas, candy, donuts, juices, cookies, chips----whenever I might desire 24/7. And then there are the days I am at the hospital for 24+ can be hard to fit in exercise. And sleep deprivation makes exercise the next day hard too.

But excuses suck, so I set up guidelines. I don't eat catered lunches, I avoid the junk in the breakroom, I avoid the lounge unless it is to grab a salad, I get up and run before my hospital call days/nights, and I know it is better for me to forgo the first bite of junk than to struggle against the urge for bites 2-200.

08-31-2009, 01:12 PM
I'm a barber/hairstylist. I absolutely hate eating lunch that I made ahead of time AND I'm poor and can't afford fancy things like PRODUCE. If I'm at home, I eat well with fresh sandwiches on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomatoes. Unfortunately, I hate sandwiches made ahead of time because they're soggy and flat. Basically, I only like things made fresh and I won't eat it if its not...if I do, I literally feel sick to my stomach. Yogurt everyday with an apple got old a few days into it.

I also have the constraints of running a walk-in business. People tell me I should take time for lunch....but, of course, after I've finished their hair. ;) I just don't have time for lunch most days and when I have a few minutes, I need fast and convenient. So, I end up at the gas station/convenience store across the street and eat a muffin with a cup of coffee for lunch. If I don't, I binge when I get home because I'm starving.

Also, before I started working, I was sticking to my Sugar Busters plan and lost over 25lbs. I had time to exercise when the kids were at school and could eat fresh, healthy stuff right from the fridge. Since I've started working, I've gained the weight back and then some. I'm disgusted and living off empty carbs.

What to do.....?

08-31-2009, 01:29 PM
Sounds like mandalinn82 and I have the same job situation. I expect this job to evaporate in the next few years so have been thinking a lot about my next profession and want to find something that has some built in activity.

08-31-2009, 01:31 PM
I think my profession makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight because it is a desk job. Before I entered the workforce I did not watch what I ate (not really eating crazy though), but never really monitored calories or limited this or that and I was still in a health weight range. Why? Because I had to do ALOT of walking. When I started working full time I did not really change how I ate but the pounds started QUICKLY piling on simply because I pretty much spend 9.5 hours behind a desk every day.

The flip side is that I will say my organization TRIES to be pretty "fit friendly" and we do have the option of working out during lunch (although we have to make the time up at the end of the day so this is not all that motivating for most of us.)

As others have stated when you sit behind a desk for HOURS at a time, it's so easy to engage in mindless snacking or to start dwelling on a craving for certain foods you would not normally crave. I curtail this by sticking to a very regimented eating regime and making sure I don't allow myself to "starve" and reach for the nearest vending machine in sight. But I will say it is VERY difficult. I don't think if I stopped working out that I could lose weight unless I went into ketosis or something, that is how low I believe my daily activity level would be without exercising.

Shannon in ATL
08-31-2009, 01:48 PM
I have a desk job, and my desk is located in the upstairs office area over a quick service restaurant... Two things working against me... I'm sitting most of the day and every time the door opens from downstairs I smell onion rings, fried pies, chili dogs, etc... And I get to eat here for $1 per day, so it is definitely the most cost effective meal choice. Like midwife, I set rules - I bring in healthy snacks to keep at my desk, I eat a grilled chicken salad or grilled chicken on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, sometimes bacon every day. I don't allow myself to have the other items - I try to look at them as belonging to the customers, and the grilled chicken as my food option. :) Grilled chicken isn't one of our specialty items - it is a plain piece of chicken with a little pepper that they cook on the grill with no oil or added calories, the salad is pretty simple. I brought my own dressing because ours is bad for you. We do have pretty good whole wheat bread as we sell pimento cheese sandwiches, which I also avoid. :) I occasionally let myself have a 'treat' item but my rules are either entree or side item, not both, and if I get a dessert item it is my only afternoon snack or I split it with someone else here. No chili cheese dog/onion ring/pie blowout anymore.

I find myself sometimes falling into the mindless snacking - when I'm stressed, when my computer is acting up, sometimes when I smell food from downstairs... I have to be careful to log everything. I have a water pot on my desk so have hot water on demand - I make a lot of tea, and have considered getting a french press for coffee, but I like a little cream and sugar and that might get me in trouble. I use Stevia in my afternoon teas most of the time.

Unfortunately, I did just learn that the whipped ice cream we carry is only 120-160 calories for a serving depending on flavor... I try not to go down to that end of the counter...

08-31-2009, 02:15 PM
Midwife-THANK YOU for saying what you did about drug rep catered lunches!!I come from a family of physicians who all feel like you and I.I am glad that recently some of those rules have changed....I could go on and on about that, but I wont.
Shannon-OMG.I dont know how I would do working in your situation....the smell of food is a major trigger for me.

08-31-2009, 10:58 PM
I work for a bunch of restaurants and my office is above one. Food is free and always available (and not many healthy options as restaurants tend to go...).

I have a reasonably nutritious, prepared just for me meal every single day (I love having a job where a man cooks for me daily :D)

Ironically, my problem is the 7-11 across the street.

Slurpees, chocolate, the doughnut case (I haven't cracked on that one yet!!)... THAT is my weakness and I try to stay on my side of the street. It's the place where all the packaged stuff lives that could do me in. It's been a real eye opener.

It's funny, but I only work with one person who is overweight (even though we all eat restaurant food all the time). I suppose it's the industry I'm in where people sit down together to appreciate their meals and when they are up... they are moving. By this, I mean when lunch time rolls around we all stop what we're doing, sit around a table and eat together. No one eats alone hardly ever.

It's wild how much that has cut down on my mindless eating outside of work. Food is hardly worth it if I can't sit down and appreciate it, you know?

08-31-2009, 11:11 PM
I also sit at a desk all day and answer phones, deal with clients, monitor operators, etc. Everyone is always ordering take out or going to get fast food. So YES my job hinders my weight loss.

08-31-2009, 11:40 PM
In my job & my life, it cuts both ways.

I live in a suburb of Manhattan, though I originally grew up in Upstate NY. Now, every time I visit my former home, I see that in general, people are heavier up there than they are down near the city, particularly in my neighborhood -- where there are about four different places to do yoga, one small gym & a personal trainer's storefront all within four blocks, as well as a costly, privately owned natural food store. I also live on a long & popular running/biking trail, so I am always seeing groups of runners & bikers in full gear. I live in a very walkable area (which has a rating of something like 98% on those sites that measure such things) & people walk everywhere, toting grocery bags or pushing upright carts. It's possible to live well here without owning a car, particularly if you take the train into Manhattan for work or to shop on weekends. Tennis is extremely popular here, with private clubs & municipal courts. It's an active culture.

The same is true of my workplace in Connecticut, right on the Greenwich/Stamford border. My company has a gym on site. The CEO is a runner & goes out every day on his route when he's not traveling. We have a sizeable running culture at my workplace -- no trouble getting a big team together for athletic-related charity events. These are all extremely subtle influences, but they're part of where I live & work, and can't be ignored.

I have a sedentary job, working on my laptop all day. But I'm fortunate in that I can work from home two days a week & commute the other three. This means that on my work-from-home days, I can get in some extra time cutting up veggies & cooking, for those nights when I get in at 8 PM or later from work & the gym. My job is stressful, which makes me sip tea & chew gum all day, in an effort to keep from eating. But I also know that exercise helps me burn off the stress & I actually crave it at the end of the day & feel too "wired" if I don't take the edge off at the gym.

08-31-2009, 11:59 PM
Saef-cool on the on site gym...very cool!!!!

09-01-2009, 12:14 AM
I teach high school, Home Ec, so I'm around food all day. I don't sit during the day however so constantly moving has helped me from gaining too much weight. Hard to do when the students want me to sample everything...
I think the stress of the job causes me to become a couch potato when I come home which isn't good for my middle.

09-01-2009, 03:08 AM
Isn't it funny the amount of you who say "my job hinders my weight loss - I have a 9-5 desk job". Yet I wish I had a 9-5 desk job so that I could plan my meals properly (having regular on-time breaks would be lovely!), have time to exercise before/after work, not work weekends, not work get the picture.

I think sometimes we (myself included) use external excuses that really aren't proper reasons. They're just mind games we tell ourselves, and use as a crutch to not do what we need to do.

So I'm changing my post. I think my job HELPS my weight loss. Why? Well, I'm on my feet all day so I burn more calories. I work 12 hour shifts, so most weeks I have 4 days off. So I have more time to exercise and shop for healthy foods. I don't have access to takeaway or canteen foods overnight, so I'm not tempted.

So there's my attitude turnaround post. How about everyone else?

09-01-2009, 10:35 AM
Primm-Good idea.I work in a hospital so.....cafeteria food is sure not a temptation for me.Our food is really bad!!!!!!!!!LOL>Plus, I walk all day for 12-14 hours a day.I cover all floors of the hospital.Take the stairs when i can.....

09-01-2009, 06:36 PM
I'm a nurse at a hospital too and I see the good and the bad. I work mostly 8 hour day shifts, but sometimes go in at 3am or stay over till 7pm (which messes up my planned food). I can find healthy food in the cafeteria. Sure, they offer a lot of bad stuff, but they also have a wonderful salad bar and lots of fresh fruit. They always have chicken breasts on the grill, oatmeal and eggbeaters in the morning. I almost always take my lunch and am prepared when the drug reps bring their goodies (like Panera or Olive Garden) and politely decline. We get lots of food from patients & from physicians at holiday times. We have monthly potlucks that I avoid indulging in. We also get a tremendous amount of walking in a day. We have a very large unit, that is not always nurse friendly for getting supplies and what not. Our hospital also has a McDonalds and a Starbuck's that I see a lot of people grabbing instead of healthier eats. We do have an onsite Wellness Center that is very cheap to join. The biggest obstacle I see to eating healthy at my job is taking time to get off the floor for a decent lunch and not wolfing down your food, the odd unpredictable hours due to staffing needs, and the constant temptation of the offerings from the potlucks, food gifts and on-site food sales.