Eating at your desk might help you cram more work into your day, but experts say that when work is your focus and lunch is an afterthought, you’re more likely to pack on the pounds. Rose Oldham-Cooper is an experimental psychologist at the University of Bristol in England. She says there’s a definite link between sedentary screen-time – like sitting at a computer – and weight gain, because working on a computer pre-occupies your mind and causes mindless eating. That's where you eat more than you realize – or literally forget what you’ve already eaten.
In one study, Oldham and her team served 2 groups of volunteers a lunch containing 9 items. One group ate while playing solitaire on a computer, while the others ate with no distractions. The result: The volunteers who played solitaire felt less full after lunch, and a half-hour later, they ate more food than the volunteers who didn’t eat while distracted. That’s not all. The volunteers who’d played solitaire had much more difficulty remembering what or how much they ate than the other volunteers. If you’re guilty of daily desktop dining, know this:
- Experts say you’ll eat an extra 122 calories a day. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that adds up to 9 pounds a year.
- Taking a lunch break is also good for your company’s bottom line. In fact, over 100 studies have shown that workers are significantly more effective when they take regular breaks.