At my work, we have a potluck at least once a month for our team then our supervisor will bring in donuts or sausage biscuits at least once every couple of weeks. Last week, we had two company provided free lunches so we eat alot. I've turning everything down...none of it has even sounded tempting. But in our team potlucks, my co-workers and my boss have been trying to get me to cave in and eat what's there. One co-worker even fixed me a plate of veggies and fruit after I said I wasn't participating. Pecan pie, donuts, cheesecake and Sonic shakes have been pushed on me over the past couple of months. After continuously saying no the pecan pie one day, one co-worker finally spoke up and told everyone to leave me alone and congratulated me on my weight loss so far. Maybe if you turn down the food that's brought in, you'll motivate others who may feel the same way you do but don't want to "rock the boat". And then some healthier options might be considered. If they still bring in the same stuff, just know you are doing so much better for yourself...something even the value of free food can't top.
6/20/14 4:23 P
I cannot speak for others, but this is my experience. When I worked at a Florist, during Valentines Day and Mothers Day. The phone was ringing off the hook. A line out the door. And seriously this was from open to close it and simply didn't let up. This was for two weeks, straight. Leaving for a lunch break, leaving to heat up your own food was simply not an option. The store provided food was handy.
Some of you may say. That isn't legal. They have to let you have a lunch break. They informed us this would happen at these holidays, before being offered employment.
GREAT idea to save some salad for the next day!! That's perfect. Then you can add your own healthy toppings.
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
808 6/20/14 7:44 A
Yesterday there was a salad with no dressing on it, I took some and put it in the fridge for me to have for lunch today =) There was chicken parm which was also served yesterday, I have a serving and felt so full, it was a heavy meal, but i'm hoping with the weekend coming up I can get this heavy food feeling out of my system
Wow, that menu sounds especially challenging. It is really hard when you can't even 'separate' out healthy parts of the food
Maybe talk to HR--sell it as "here's a way you could make our company more appealing to potential workers--if it is a positive work environment where people are encouraged to lead healthy lives, it will be more attractive to employees."
Fitness Minutes: (20,268)
291 6/18/14 8:44 P
I run into a similar problem whenever I go to holiday meals at family friends. It used to make me anxious being faced with literally everything I knew I shouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Here are a few things that help me so you still get a taste of whatever they were serving, but you're not sabotaging your weight loss plans.
First rule: Track every calorie afterwords! Especially with unhealthy foods, it's important to be aware of what you're actually consuming, so you can adjust the rest of your day to accommodate it. Plus, if you know you have to mentally remember what you ate, you're less likely to go crazy trying everything.
Two: Grab the healthiest things you can.
Three: Pick off the worst offenders (extra bread, extra tortilla, extra cheese, fatty meat skin, etc) and eat it slowly and deliberately so everyone else finishes before you.
Four: Bring something with you to snack on that fills in the gaps of the meal you missed. Usually catered meals like that miss fruits, veggies and lean protein. For me, I'd usually bring a healthy snack/protein bar and piece of fruit that fills me up for afterwords.
Fitness Minutes: (255)
6/18/14 7:47 P
I liked the comment by JustMe about tossing the bread and making a lettuce wrap. When that's not possible, I really feel for you and the struggle. In the work environment you really don't want to $&@? off the person who ordered the food, yet you also want to eat healthy. It's like walking a tight rope. If you find a solution I would be interested in hearing it.
Fitness Minutes: (6,372)
475 6/18/14 6:03 P
Pack your lunch and put in whatever good healthy food you like. You could also try asking the person who orders the food to include some other options for you. Surely you can't be the only person looking for a healthier choice.
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
808 6/18/14 12:35 P
The salad is pre-made... they did have a dressing drenched string bean salad which I had... not going near the chicken. I feel sick just looking at it (no offense to anyone who enjoys that), I like fried chicken but it was literally a big bowl of crispy fried chicken... i'm bringing my own lunch tomorrow!
6/18/14 12:30 P
NSKYLINE115 - did you ask if they could leave the dressing on the side? Or if they could bring fruit in?
I'm really confused on how some people think that eating the company provided lunch isn't optional. I'm a vegetarian, I have friends who eat kosher - we've all managed to request things for company provided lunches or to just join the group but bring our own food. People will ask and I'll say "oh, I'm a vegetarian and they were serving burgers and fries so I just brought in this fancy salad so I didn't have to ask for anything special." And most of the time that's just fine. Sometimes people comment they wish they would have brought something else too.
I think it's important to stress that eating something different doesn't take you away from the group team building. The time it takes to grab a bagged lunch isn't going to somehow make you miss the whole time together.
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
808 6/18/14 11:48 A
Lovely... deep fried crispy chicken, with dressing drenched salad, soda and cookies
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
808 6/18/14 9:31 A
Thank you all for your responses! I have read all of them and will take them into account for today. I did not bring my lunch, but I will be aware of my portions today, and what I choose to put on my plate. Wish me luck, hope I dont cave and pile on the creamy pastas!
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
6/18/14 7:50 A
I would imagine that if you had some kind of "legit" dietary need, nobody would raise a stink about you bringing your own food. It's just a matter of being firm enough about what you need for yourself. There should be no shame in saying outright that if you continue to eat what they serve all the time, it'll compromise your goals for your health, so you're going to bring your own. End of story. They'll get over it. Or hey, even tell them you're just plain sick of what they're serving!
I've only been back working for 2.5 months and I already can't count the number of times I've turned down various odds and ends either because I don't like to eat those things, or because I wasn't feeling well and temporarily could not. (Bad reaction to a stomach bug which is thank heavens mostly resolved now.) Aside from the occasional dubious look from the cafeteria check-out lady at my 20th salad in 20 days, sort of thing, nobody cares.
And if either the food or the social aspect is important enough, you could always set aside one day a week to eat the same as everyone else -- that wouldn't likely compromise anything.
i do think one part is bringing in a healthy lunch that "beats" what the company provides. crab salad stuffed in a tomato, samosas, roasted vegetable sandwich, a fancier salad, whatever it takes to pique your tastebuds is what you should be packing. once you know what you want, odds are you can find a way to make it a portable finger food. for me, the second part would be having an upset stomach. it's loosely true. nothing major, just enough that i wanted to stick to what i brought that day instead of what the company ordered in. maybe my cream cheese from yesterday was out a little longer than it should have been. maybe it was the mayo on my sandwich. it's hard to tell. but this is what i had last night for dinner, so that's what i want to stick to today so that i can rule it in or out. and that's the wedge i'd use to start bringing in my own stuff. no outright or graphic lies, just vaguely introducing the idea that the food from home makes you feel better. plus, if you really want to have some of the free work food, you can try it again as you want to. because it sounds like you have a company that just orders the basic variety pack for x many people. which is fine until one person wants something special. and once that one person asks for and gets something special, then everybody else wants and orders something special, at which point the company goes back to the variety pack because ordering is taking too much time.
6/17/14 9:48 P
Not all business lunches are optional. Like my previous post stated. When it happened to me, leaving to heat up and eat my own food was not a option. No one else got that luxury. Why should it be afforded to me?
Fitness Minutes: (27,160)
159 6/17/14 6:39 P
I agree that you should try to still participate but just try to request that they provide some healthy choices.
Not all business lunches are an opportunity for social networking. Many are - true, and those shouldn't be skipped - but not all. Likewise, when one as a stack of work to do and an option to do it and still get lunch (particularly a healthy one) is available but chooses to go discuss hunting (someone one does not participate in so would really just be sitting there) and let the work wait, it can also leave an impression. I go to many a work lunch - it's why that restaurant is one of my favorites since it's so close to the office - but today, I was better served staying in the office and working through, with or without having my own healthy lunch to enjoy.
Yes, still participate but ask for healthier choices. They might just come around and you'd be surprised--other coworkers may also be relieved not to have the daily temptation.
Fitness Minutes: (76,715)
7,162 6/17/14 2:56 P
Can you ask them to provide healthier fare? Salad with the dressing on the side, more fresh fruit and veggies?
6/17/14 2:44 P
i know for business lunches there is gossip, gabbing, but also networking. You don;'t really want to miss important networking opportunities. That is why I suggested the smaller portions but not disengaging from the group.
It's the reason my daughter is a solid golfer. You don't want to be left out of networking.
I'd say eat what they provide (I have a hard time resisting free food too) but eat a small amount of the unhealthier things and eat more of the healthy parts. Like one commenter said, if they have sandwiches then eat the meat, half the bread and all the veggies but avoid the sauces and higher calorie additions
Plan ultra healthy meals for at night to balance your lunch meal. If it's the biggest meal of the day then just plan accordingly.
Finally, make your voice heard. If your company is buying the food, then I would recommend either writing a note or speaking in person with the person who does the food buying decisions. Explain to them that many people these days are trying to live healthy lives and it would be great if they could order at least some healthy options. If they provide health insurance for you then they should be interested in keeping you healthy since overweight people frequently have added insurance costs.
Aaaaand, I wanted to send a hearty "thank you" to the OP. This thread was incredibly timely for me and reading and replying this morning got me in the right frame of mind. My boss and some visitors invited me to join them for lunch today, to go to one of my favorite restaurants. The restaurant does not serve much healthy food - everything (literally) is deep fried - but it tastes quite yummy. But, I brought my lunch today and have a special dinner planned for Friday (hubby and my anniversary - going to a restaurant where I already know I'll exceed calorie budget). So I felt fine about politely declining the invitation in favor of the half of a ground turkey and basmati stuffed bell pepper, with carrots on the side. And it tasted divine, if I do say so myself, and I'm bouncy with energy. Meanwhile, everyone just came back groaning about how they overate and feel ready for a stomach pump and nap.
This is a choice - one that is yours alone. Make the decisions that are best for you. Yes, it's hard to pass up a free lunch. Yes, it's hard to be the only person eating something different. Yes, some people will make comments, some may even try to make you feel bad.
But would it be worth it? If you started bringing in your own food that you love but is healthy. If you brought fruits and veggies to offer to others throughout your hectic day. To come home and feel great instead of guilty because you made the right choice.
Wouldn't it be worth it?
6/17/14 11:52 A
I used to have an employer that would provide us with lunch when things got hectic. I just ate what they served. Leaving for even a minute to heat up your own lunch was frowned on. We were expected to work through lunch
6/17/14 11:43 A
Find out who is placing the lunch order and ask if the salad can have the dressing one the side. If they order pizza ask if one can just be cheese, if there are sandwiches ask if they can have a vegetarian option or if mayo can be served one the side. You don;t have to explain you are watching what you eat, just say the food gets too soggy.
If there is pasta, feel free ot take more of the meatballs and less noodles.
Breakfast - ask for light cream cheese and just have half a bagel. Bring in some fruit to share.
Adding, if you know calories are high during the day, planning snacks and dinner are really critical. And also unhealthy foods can be worked in. I had a night thing and no time to cook and my spouse bought fried chicken to "help." Half of a chicken breast that was fried was only 200 calories. i just made sure to eat a piece of fruit and a smell salad as well.
If you have your own healthy lunch, there is no secret to help you eat your own lunch. You just have to do it. You have a choice to make.
Good lunch/ Bad lunch. You get a choice every day.
Things to consider.. Your lunch is obviously less desirable than their lunch. Despite knowing it is bad for you, you can't stop from eating it. Is this because your lunch is so tasteless, or because their lunch is something you can't control yourself with?
I know that for me it was both.. " Healthy " food tasted like poo, and I couldn't turn down the unhealthy food, because I craved them.
If that is true for you, you have to ask yourself why, and what can change that dynamic.
6/17/14 10:13 A
What do they serve? Sometimes you can remake a lunch. My site used to always serve those sandwiches on the thick white bread. There was always big pieces of romaine on the sandwich. I took a sandwich, threw the bread away and made a lettuce wrap. Can you do something like that?
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
3,691 6/17/14 9:53 A
Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. Focus on your goal with a clear visualization.
My employer does this from time to time. Ugh. I crack open my Tupperware and endure the random comments of being too good for their butter-laden, fat-smeared artery blocking meal and eat my home-brought meal with the comfort of knowing my arteries will stay clean another day. It takes a few seconds to heat up a lunch; toss it in the nuker and do a bit more work while it heats if you're worried about looking unproductive. Better yet, pack something that you can eat cold - a salad or sandwich and pre-washed veggies? - so all you need to do is grab your lunch bag on your way back to your desk after a restroom visit. Then you can be the most productive one there, because you just crack open your baggies instead of standing in a lunch line, deciding what to have off the table.
P.S. What works for me in feeling good about turning down the free lunch is to - in my own head, mind you! - take a glance at the table and find all the little faults. For instance, "ugh, that chicken salad is more mayo than chicken," or "I'd need 10 paper towels to get all the grease off that pizza," or "way to ruin a perfectly good salad, those poor veggies are drowning!" It makes my own home-brought meal taste and feel so much better. If someone comments - and someone usually does - I deflect with a casual comment that I just feel like eating lighter today, or I really had a crave for (insert food I brought that isn't available on the table).
Edited by: KASTRA at: 6/17/2014 (09:41)
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
808 6/17/14 8:53 A
There have even been days where I do bring my own food, but then end up eating what they serve
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
808 6/17/14 8:52 A
Yea, I've thought about packing lunch everyday lol, but like you said its hard to turn down free lunches, especially when things get hectic at work. And usually when its that crazy we all get lunch together, maybe I should just swallow my pride and just do it. Its hard when everyone is eating something together and i'm on the side heating up my tupperware. I've been trying to pack on the veggies but I eat so fast since there is alot going on in the file room. We dont really have time to just sit down and focus on eating during these audits
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
6/17/14 8:50 A
Oh do I know the feeling. The only way I can combat it is to continue bringing in my own breakfasts and lunches to work, even if the company is providing meals. Just thinking about having the food I bought/brought for lunch go to waste is enough to get me to eat what I brought over what is provided.
I've also become an unapologetic food snob so unless they're bringing in food from a Zagat rated restaurant, I won't consider it worth eating.
6/17/14 8:45 A
I know it's hard to turn down a free lunch, but have you thought about packing something if what they are serving isn't working for you? Or at least you could pack some healthy snacks/sides to go with the main dish so that you can stay on track a little better. Just a thought.
Fitness Minutes: (1,256)
808 6/17/14 8:29 A
Its been tough for me to eat a healthy lunch lately at work (literally 3 weeks now). I almost always bring in lunch, but for the past 3 weeks our company has been under investigation by auditors (typical yearly regulation). It gets crazy and hectic so our company provides breakfast and lunch for my department since we literally stay in the file room for 8+ hours. They have been serving bagels/breads/pastas/creamy stuff and a salad drenched with dressing, oh and don’t forget all the sodas and cookies. I’ve been trying to control portion control but its been hard. We are all so super busy, we are working as we eat. I have not been gaining or losing weight, but I know what I’m putting in my body these past 3 weeks has consistently been unhealthy. For breakfast I’ve been choosing the yogurts, and choice of drink all day is water, but for lunch thats when I mess up, and its been 3 weeks consistently the auditors have been here, and I hear they are here all this week too… help!
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