We spend a lot of time at work – either in a corporate environment, perhaps in a business of our own, or in an office from our home. No matter where it is that you work, there always will be temptations facing you in the form of food.
Deadline pressures, big projects and birthday parties can make it difficult to stick to your nutrition plan (I really dislike the word “diet”) at work. These are some changes you can make in the way you eat and other activities that will help you avoid putting on extra pounds from nine to five.
Eating Strategies to Use at Work
1. Stay comfortably full. It’s easier to resist temptation when you’re free from hunger pangs. Start each day with a nutritious breakfast – and add volume with healthy additions like fruit when possible. Make time for lunch and snacks – adding lots of veggies to up the quantity without derailing your nutrition plans. As a bonus, you’ll also feel more alert and energetic.
2. Stock up on healthy snacks. If the vending machines are full of candy and crackers, you can avoid them by bringing your own treats. Store yogurt and baby carrots in the office refrigerator or in your own freezable portable lunch pack. Keep a bowl of dry-roasted nuts on your desk for crunch and protein with less fat.
3. Drink more filtered water. Carry a steel water bottle with you to sip water throughout the day. You’ll feel full while consuming fewer calories.
4. Eat mindfully. Sitting down to eat helps you become more aware of your food. Chew slowly and pause between bites. Intentionally slow down your eating speed if you’re used to plowing through your food at high speed.
5. Focus on conversation. Birthday parties and other gatherings are great for getting to know your colleagues better. Switch your attention to socializing so you’ll forget about multiple trips to the buffet table or cake platter.
6. Bring in healthy potluck dishes. Sign up to bring in a delicious green salad or three bean chili. It will make a nice break from the usual cheesy casseroles and chips, and might encourage your co-workers to follow suit.
7. Advocate for healthy fare. If you’re planning the menu for office functions, serve steel-cut oats for breakfast or fish for lunch. Collect take-out menus from local ethnic restaurants for balanced meals that may cost even less than super sized sandwiches.
8. Suggest happy hour alternatives. You can still get together with your colleagues after work without blowing a day of healthy eating. Organize a softball league or volunteer as a group at a food kitchen if you’re looking for more ideas than drinking beer.
9. Share the goodies. If vendors send you ten pound boxes of chocolate every December, put them out in the kitchen or lobby immediately. You’ll make friends fast, and reduce the number of calories you take in from the gifts..
More Strategies for Sticking With Your Nutrition Plan at Work
1. Put on a sweater or additional layer. Evolution has designed our bodies to seek food when we feel chilly. A sweater will help you deal with excessive air conditioning in your office, and can be removed or hung up if you feel too warm.
2. Manage your stress. Alleviating stress reduces the risk of overeating as a coping mechanism. Listen to instrumental music or take deep breaths while you work, and intentionally pause before resorting to eating snacks as a method of relieving stress..
3. Squeeze in some exercise. Burn more calories by being more active on an intentional basis. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Visit the gym before work or learn exercises that you can do in your chair.
4. Get enough sleep. A well-rested body digests food more efficiently, and provides energy from that fuel more easily. Individual needs will vary. Experiment to find the right amount for you and develop a consistent schedule.
5. Brush your teeth. Brushing and flossing is one simple way to discourage eating more than you intended. Put together a small dental kit for your desk drawer or handbag. For times when it’s impossible to brush, chewing sugar free gum provides some of the same benefits.
6. Enlist support. Since so many people struggle with overweight issues, you’re likely to find support among your colleagues. Ask your human resources department about employee wellness programs. Creating a culture of health has been proven to be good for productivity and fosters better health.
What’s good for your career can be good for your waistline too. Planning ahead makes it easier to eat sensibly during the workday and taking care of your overall health increases your chances of success in every aspect of life.