Do you feel like your workplace is to blame for your weight gain or unhealthy lifestyle? You’re probably right. It’s important to take responsibility for your health and fitness. But for many of us, our work environments can actually be contributing to our unhealthy habits that can lead to illness, stress and even obesity.

Below are some factors that may make your office a hazard when it comes to health — plus some suggestions for what you can do about it:

  1. Snack machines. We’re all guilty of grabbing a fast bite from a snack machine now and again during the work day, especially in that long stretch between lunch and when it’s time to clock out. Sometimes there are “smarter” options available, like pretzels and low-fat chips. But anything that comes out of a vending machine shouldn’t be considered a healthy option for a snack, much less a meal. Those items are all packed with sugars and sodium, and they leave you hungry again shortly. Keep a box of cereal bars in your desk and fresh fruit in the fridge. These choices will be better for you and also keep you full longer.
  1. Sitting sedentary. If you’ve got a desk job, you probably spend a significant chunk of your day simply sitting still. It’s important to remember to take breaks fairly often to move around and stretch. One of our favorite tricks is stretching or doing some jumping jacks in the bathroom. But a long stroll around the block, out to the car or simply around the office is also a great way to make sure you’re moving every day even while you’re at work.
  1. Coffee breaks. Speaking of taking breaks at work, sometimes people get used to their routine trips to the coffee machine to help break up their day. But those can pack a wallop when it comes to calories, unless you’re having it black — and even then, too much caffeine isn’t good for you! If you’re grabbing more java just because you want to get away from your desk, consider getting a tall glass of cold water instead — which can also help wake you up. If you constantly feel tired in the afternoon, be sure to adjust your sleep cycle or consult a doctor. Consider having a mint or one cube of dark chocolate that you keep in your desk to give you a boost of sugar to get through a particularly dragging afternoon.

Check back next week for additional advice on workplace pitfalls and how to avoid them!