How Not to Get Fat at Work: Miami Dietician Lisa Eichenbaum Weighs In

In my first real desk job, I worked as an editorial assistant at a travel company proofreading a thousand-page resort directory, making sure words like "laundry facilities" were spelled and spaced correctly. Yes, that sucked, but it wasn't the worst of it. The worst was having to sit in my cubicle day after day, hour after hour.

Requiring people to sit in a chair for more than half their waking hours is against the natural "movement patterns of our ancient forebears," as Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, might put it.

All the sitting made me miserable. And more troubling still were the extra pounds I saw creeping onto my ass and thighs as a result of my desk jockey-dom. While chained to a desk, someone of my height and weight only burns about 50 calories per hour. That means I needed a mere 400 to 450 calories to get through the workday. That's the approximate number of calories in a typical 6" Subway sandwich, without any cheese, mayo, or sauces. Add in a 300 calorie breakfast (cereal, soy milk, banana) and a few snacks, and the average worker could easily be looking at a minimum of 500 unused calories per workday, if she doesn't consciously try to battle the bulge. Since 3,500 calories constitute a pound, at this rate the typical desk drone could tack on a pound of fat every seven workdays.

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Camille Lamb Guzman is a journalist who writes on wellness, travel, and culture. She is also finishing a book of creative nonfiction.