Who dreads office treats more than the dieter? That’s a rhetorical question. No one. If you work in an office, you have to deal with this on an almost daily basis. The struggle is real my friends and it doesn’t end with birthday cake. You also have to fend off leftover Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, and doughnut days. Not sure what your office environment is like, but I am confident I could become morbidly obese and diabetic in about two weeks time by subsisting solely on the snack items brought in or donated for consumption at my office break room.
I know this can feel like you are fighting an unwinnable war. Don’t despair! There are a few simple things you can do to help you fight off your urges and stick to your healthy eating plans.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Mornings can be crazy busy especially if you have kids to get moving in addition to your own prep. Despite this, you must make time to eat a healthy breakfast, preferably including healthy portions of protein and fiber. I have heard many a coworker state they power their morning through coffee alone. These folks are also usually the first in line for community doughnuts when they appear on site.
Protein and fiber are not only good fuel for your body, but also slower to digest. This means you will feel satisfied from your breakfast well into your day instead of feeling hungry the moment you arrive at the office.
Having your belly full of clean burning fuel will help you power through your morning and give you more willpower when those plates of cookies and boxes of doughnuts begin orbiting your cube.
Fight back with your own snacks
I don’t know about you, but the mid-afternoon birthday cakes seem to have the gravitational pull of a black hole! I swear I can smell butter cream frosting from 500 yards come mid-afternoon. I’m guessing I am not alone.
How do you combat this? When I smell sweet temptation, I quell these urges by dipping into my own supply of healthy snacks. Your body likely needs a snack around mid-afternoon. This is totally normal especially if you are working out regularly. Don’t deprive yourself. Just make sure you are giving it the fuel it needs, not the empty calories the normal office treats supply.
I like to make sure I have either whole fruit or a serving or two of nuts at my desk at all times. Raw vegetables are a great option as well. If I find that I am tempted by office snacks, I reach for one of these instead.
Stay away from dried fruits or large nut containers as it is very easy to go overboard with these.I would recommend pre measuring reasonable portions at home and packing these in sandwich bags to make sure you are not overloading. With whole fruit or certainly veggies, eat until you are satisfied.
As with your healthy breakfast, the fiber and protein from these snacks will keep you satisfied until dinner time.
Pack your lunch
I try and pack my lunch every day. It does take me some time in the mornings to put this together, but this will ensure I have a healthy balanced lunch to anchor my day. If you lean on restaurants or your office cafeteria for lunch, you have less control over what you consume. If you end up eating an unbalanced lunch high in processed foods and carbs, you will likely hit a wall mid afternoon. Your body can misinterpret this and make you feel hungrier than you should.
It is certainly reasonable to go out to lunch on occasion, but try and get yourself into the habit of packing a healthy lunch for yourself at least three days a week. I think you will notice a change in not only your hunger, but also your energy level in the afternoons on the days you do this.
Go for a walk
I know on days when I am head down at my desk all day with no breaks I am more likely to be tempted by snacks. This is more likely if I am working on what I affectionately call “busy work”. You know what I am talking about, these are the non-mentally or physically challenging tasks that most of us desk jockeys have to deal with.
A lot of us have the same problem at home in front of the TV. These are both forms of boredom, our minds require stimulation and if you go too long without it, you may feel more tempted by unhealthy snacks. These snacks will fill the stimulation void but unfortunately will sabotage your health.
When this happens, you should look for other forms of stimulation. I would recommend getting up and taking a walk. Get outside if you can, anything to provide some different mental or physical stimulation.
If getting away from your desk is not an option, try and take a break from your current task and work on something a little more stimulating or thought provoking. Just 10-15 minutes is usually enough time to clear the cobwebs and resolve your misguided hunger.
The office environment can be a challenge to navigate when you are trying to stick to healthy eating habits. You can be successful if you prepare and have healthy options avaialable to fight off your urges. It’s OK to treat yourself every once in a while but do it with the confidence that you will be able to avoid temptation most of the time.
Do you have any strategies you use to limit the office calorie vortex? Please share these with us in the comments below.