I hear it all the time, really – women who are too busy at work to get a grip on their weight and fitness.

Actually, I would call it the “factors” for fitness.  In other words, too busy translated directly to too busy to get the right food stocked, too busy to get regular activity and exercise, and too busy to get enough sleep.

A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity analyzed this problem.  In brief, a group of 40 – 60 year old women and men were studied for their weight gain during a previous 12 month period via questionnaire.

Reference: Intl J of Obesity (2005) (01 Aug 2005 29, 909–915. Psychosocial working conditions and weight gain among employees. T Lallukka, M Laaksonen, P Martikainen, S Sarlio-Lähteenkorva, E Lahelma

The variables included 7 factors:

  1. job demands
  2. job control
  3. work fatigue
  4. working overtime
  5. work-related mental strain
  6. social support, and
  7. work–home interface.

Can you relate?

The results were then adjusted for age, education, marital status, physical strain and body mass index.

I’m betting you’ve already guessed the results – for who of has haven’t faced this challenge of balancing work life, home life, and health priorities?  Women seem to especially prone to serving everyone else first.


In the previous 12 months, 25% of women and 19% of men reported weight gain. Work fatigue and working overtime were associated with weight gain in both sexes. Women who were dissatisfied with combining paid work and family life were more likely to have gained weight. Men with low job demands were less likely to have gained weight. All of these associations were independent of each other.

The study concluded that work fatigue and working overtime are risk factors for weight gain.

But we knew that, didn’t we?

You know, it may appear that as a “fitness person” that I’ve got it all locked up when it comes to time, and that it’s easy for me to find the time to work out.  And that it has always been that way.  But there have been HUGE blocks of time in my life (let’s say the last 20 years?) where my schedule was teaching full time days, teaching classes at night, and traveling often to give weekend seminars, workshops, and presentations.

The fact of the matter is I’ve had to do just what we all, as women who aspire to be energetic, healthy, and trim – must do.  Prioritize our own health care.  For example, I remember during days of gym membership, I’d leave the house with all of my teaching tools of the trade and a bag of good food for the day (that’s whole other blogpost- or 20!) along with my gym bag planted firmly on the floor of the passenger side of my car for obvious reminder.

In the morning, it always seemed so clear – full of optimism and energy for the day, I could easily envision myself pumping through whatever workout I had planned for later in the day.

It wasn’t quite so easy when it got to late afternoon after a full day’s work and I really just wanted to take a nap.  Know what I mean?
But I was somehow always (almost) able to look beyond my impulse to bolt for the couch by seeing forward into how I would feel after having completed my planned exercise.

Save yourselves!

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