Men, We Know Why You’re Fat: Time to Brown-Bag It!

take lunch to work for lower BMI

Gentlemen, did you know brown-bagging your lunch could be good for your waistline? In a large European study of 24,310 men and women, restaurant eating was positively associated with BMI, but only for men. No association was found between BMI and workplace eating for either gender.

Weight gain was assessed among those eating and drinking in restaurants versus bringing a lunch to work. The study relied predominantly on self-reported heights and weights, and the dietary recall may have resulted in under reporting of total food intake.

1. Beware of the “health halo.” Eating Subway does not mean you are eating healthy. One study found diners consumed less calories at McDonald’s than Subway. Why? They ordered more sides. Also, don’t be fooled by words like “organic.” Healthy choices have calories, too.

2. Beware of large portions. Restaurant portions are notoriously large, and you need to be aware of this fact. Furthermore, research has shown time and time again that the larger the portion, the more we end up eating. Though we know it’s hard, guys, splitting the portion size in half is probably the smartest way to eat out. Rather than be tempted to overeat at the restaurant, ask for the take-out container at the same time that you order your meal.

3. Beware of appetizers. You ordered a meal. The meal you ordered probably has all the calories you need. No need to preload your calories with an appetizer. Also, have them hold the premeal bread.

4. Beware of the surprise lunch. Many restaurants post menus on their websites (and some chains even provide nutrition information, too.)  If you’re worried about temptation taking over when you sit down to eat, try looking at the menu online before you arrive at the restaurant — and when you’re not hungry — and select what you want to order in advance.

Finally, many people don’t bring their lunch because they like taking a much-needed break from work. Next time, go for a walk.

The best part about bringing your lunch to work is both your waistline and your wallet with thank you.

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3 Comments

  • You can take your lunch to work, eat while you work, and then take your walk without worrying that you need to eat, too. It’s simple. I’ve been doing it for years and will do it until I retire. Being a diabetic woman, I can control when I need to eat versus being “scheduled” to eat when my body may need it earlier. It’s much healthier for me in the long run. The real reason guys, and it’s not just guys, either, go out to eat is because it’s not cool to bring your own from home. Somehow, there’s no consideration for that added expense of a lunch out, which can run as little as $60 per week on up for most. Nothing’s cheap except the food used to prepare the meals, until it hits your plate, which inflates it astronomically. This is an extension of the need to eat the “hot meal” served in the school cafeteria. We’d all do better at least financially if we brown-bagged; mom and dad, it’s up to you to monitor what your child gets when you pack his/her lunch; mom and dad, think of all the extra college money you could save if you packed your own.

  • @LABR Good points. I definitely agree with the “cool” factor you’ve described. Another problem, from my experience, is that brown-bagging is considered anti-social, especially among men. During my first job in Manhattan, running out to grab a sandwich was the best time to get to know some of the other guys, especially the higher-ups, who you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to chat with during a typical work day. When I would bring my own lunch, and decline an offer to join, I felt like I was missing out on an opportunity to further my career. This is all very sad, and I don’t necessarily feel the same way now, but even still, brown-bagging definitely carries a social stigma.

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