We spend a lot of hours at work — whether that means time at the office, at home, in the car, on an airplane, in a hotel, in a retail store, or anywhere else you conduct your business. The challenges are enormous — especially in the face of ever-present food – a good deal of which is carb and fat loaded – and an environment which can range from fast paced, stressful, and overwhelming to boring or downright exhausting.
Using Food To Cope, Manage, And Procrastinate
All of this can push you into using food as a means of coping, procrastinating, or looking for energy to ward off fatigue.
- Try to identify what you usually do when you’re stressed, tired, or angry. If your usual action is to grab a cookie or candy bar try to manage your stress without the reward foods. Instead of turning to a high-calorie, high-fat trigger foods to calm your nerves or as a reward, try some healthy, stress-relieving practices like deep breathing and meditation — and make them your default.
- Make a deal with yourself to work some activity into your workday. Instead of using eating as an excuse to take a break, make taking a short walk – even if it’s around your office or to another floor — an essential part of your day. The quick walk will get you out of the immediate environment, let you blow off some steam, and burn an extra calorie or two. If you travel, walk in the airport rather than plopping yourself down in the food court or bar.
- If you eat out or order take out for any of your meals, scout out the restaurants, delis, salad bars – or even your own workplace lunchroom. Identify the meal choices that are the best for you and make them your “go-tos” so you’re not caught in the trap of being starving or too busy to care when you order. Have you ever been so hungry that you throw your best laid plans out the window and end up eating a whole pizza followed by a piece of chocolate cake?
- If you plan your route to work to intentionally pass your favorite coffee shop with the absolute best blueberry muffins — or find yourself using the rest room on the next floor because you have to walk by the vending machine with peanut M&Ms — think about changing your route. Don’t taunt yourself with temptation. Do some thinking and planning. If you’re going to have a snack, plan for it – know what you’re going to eat and stick to your choice. Contemplating your choices while standing in front of a bakery display or vending machine filled with candy or salty treats is a sure fire recipe for caving in. Don’t deny yourself food – just make it good food.
- It’s always someone’s birthday — or it’s a holiday — or someone has brought in leftovers from their kid’s party or a recipe that you just have to taste. By the way, the reason they probably brought in the leftovers is because they don’t want them hanging around their house tempting them. Have a strategy for the inevitable food fest of leftover cake, pizza, and bagels. Perhaps allow yourself a once or twice a week treat. Just don’t make the snack room a routine place to visit to scrounge for the leftover cake.
- Install your own personal policy for bowl dipping — you know – the dipping into the candy bowl at the receptionist’s desk, the jelly beans on your partner’s desk, the chocolates on the counter. Use whatever reason you have to – maybe think about all of the other hands – and where those hands have been – that are also dipping into the same bowl.
- If your desk drawer filled with reward food that stares at you every time you open the drawer, aren’t you tempting fate? See it — eat it. Need I say more?