Do you love your job? Do you wake up every morning looking forward to the work day? Or does it take all your will power to drag yourself out of bed?
I bet you identify with the latter. After all, statistics show that most people are not satisfied with their job and want to work less hours.
Unfortunately, poor work conditions can lead to more upper arm fat.
How can this be so? Well, we can turn to the Whitehall studies from Great Britain for the answers.
These studies showed that irrespective of available health care, where you are on the work totem pole has an impact on weight gain, diet and levels of exercise.
The specific biological explanation for this effect is that increased stress causes increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline—hormones that can alter levels of fat in the female body.
So what about the workplace triggers the release of these hormones?
1. A lack of control.
2. Excess tension.
3. Unclear tasks.
And here is how to reduce (and possibly reverse) the damage so that you can get rid of flabby arms with a little more ease:
1. Seek out a supportive manager/team. If the person directly above you is a pain in the rear, it may be time to start “looking.” The key here is to cite benefits to the company instead of personal benefits.
For instance, instead of saying that you would like to be on a different team because you can no longer stand the sight of manager X, you could mention how your growth has reached its limit and in order to better serve the company you would like to be placed under a different manager/team.
Remember that most women are dissatisfied with managers, not companies.
2. Don’t let your job become your identity. This is even more important if you don’t have much control or say within your workplace. Seek out activities outside of work that you are naturally good at. For maximum effect, try to secure a dominant or leadership role within these activities. This can help offset the lack of control you have at work and serve as a buffer for the days when things don’t go so well.
3. Ask for clearly defined tasks. Again, state the benefit to the company. Cite how much more you were able to get done on project X because everything you were expected to do was clearly delineated. Tell your boss that you are having a hard time being productive because the work is “unclear”. And never finger point with the word “you” when having these conversations.
4. Build up your social support outside of work. You need to have non-work related social support. It can serve as a powerful buffer against the stresses of a subpar work environment. And research has shown that societies with stronger social tendencies are far healthier.
5. Quit. Life is too short. And letting it get shorter because of a job you hate is unacceptable. You deserve health. So if your job is simply intolerable despite your best efforts, move on. Don’t wait for the heart attack to force you into action. Countless women switch jobs all the time, and so can you.
And keep in mind that changing your environment is much easier than changing yourself. In other words, there is only so much you can tolerate within a poor workplace. If you find yourself unable to get out of reactive mode despite the best of efforts, change the place and stop beating yourself up inside.
You just might find that the upper arm fat comes off a little easier once you can reduce work-related stress.
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