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Overcoming Office Temptations
8 Ways to Eat Healthier at the Office

You can resist the temptations...
You can resist the temptations...

A friend of mine recently took a new office job. The hours were perfect, her co-workers were nice and the work was fun. There was just one problem, everywhere she turned was food. Candy jars on desks, a break room with pastries and a group of co-workers that ordered high-calorie breakfasts and lunches daily. In four weeks she put on five pounds. Something had to change.

Even the most diet-hostile work environment can be tamed, but you need a plan. Here are eight things you can do to eat healthier at the office.

Bring your food from home. Pack a lunch box with fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. I bring meals I’ve prepared in advance and frozen. Then when it’s time to eat, I just microwave it for a couple minutes. Having food on hand makes it easier to say “no thanks” when a take-out menu is being passed around. There are hundreds of healthier options online at WeCookFit.com.

Pack healthy snacks, for when the delivery food arrives. Instead of focusing on what your co-workers are about to eat, grab your food and take a bite. If you look at an apple but don’t want any, you aren’t really hungry. You’re just being seduced by empty-calorie cravings and the smell of fried fat.

Use your work schedule to remove temptations. If everyone orders and eats a fatty breakfast at 9 am, pack a healthy breakfast to eat at the same time. If donuts are brought to a break room at 10, keep your food at your desk so you don’t have to walk by the little lard circles. If there are times you think it might be too much, see if you can take a 10-minute break to walk up and down stairs or around your office building.

Put an alarm on your phone, computer or watch to go off once every hour. Use that moment to stand up, take a drink of water and stretch. Often when people think they’re hungry, they’re really just thirsty. By constantly reminding yourself to stay hydrated, you’ll be less likely to indulge in food.

Sometimes you’ll find it easier to order with everyone else. But that doesn’t mean you have to get the same things. Make copies of the menus from their favorite places and figure out the healthiest options. Highlight that item, carefully writing notes beneath it on how you want it prepared. Then when you get asked what you want, hand them your highlighted menu and you don’t have to agonize or summon up any willpower to order something appropriate.

Ask for support from a sympathetic co-worker. If there’s someone you have a good relationship with, ask them to help you when your resistance wavers. Tell them about your healthy eating commitment and see if they’ll join you.

Move things out of sight. If you have a candy dish on your desk, get rid of it. If you have to keep it, put the candies in a container you can’t see through. Then move the container to another place in the room, away from your easy reach.

Take snacks left in a conference room and move them to a break room, if you have one. Put the lid on boxes of donuts and bagels. Cover cookies and put sugar-filled drinks in the refrigerator or away in a cabinet. You might go so far as to take alternate routes to avoid walking by snack machines or food spreads. It’s easier to resist things you don’t have to look at.

Keep gum, mints and a toothbrush and toothpaste handy. Sucking on a mint or chewing gum can get your mind off the obsession and give you a constructive action. If things get really bad, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. Mint flavors suppress appetite and signal your brain you’re done eating for a while.

Remember you have the right to say NO. Stand up for your health and protect your body.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.