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Eating Healthier at the Office

10 Ways to Make Your Workplace Work for Your Diet

-- By Jennipher Walters, Health and Fitness Writer
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8. Keep a list of go-to restaurants with healthy options. You know how it goes. You pack a deliciously healthy meal when, all of a sudden, your biggest client wants to go out for lunch. What's a SparkPerson to do? Research! Write out a list of restaurants around your workplace that have healthy options (you may have to look them up online). Then, the next time you're surprised with a lunch offer, you can recommend dining at a place that you know has healthy food that you like. Not able to pick the restaurant? Follow these tips!

9. Make the vending machine a no-go zone. If you really struggle with junk food or soda from the vending machines at work, the first step is to commit to avoiding the vending machine. (Remember, you packed healthy snacks to nosh on!) The next step is similar to tip No. 6--out of sight, out of mind. If possible, try not to walk by the vending machines at all. If you have to pass by them, don't look at them, and walk quickly past them. You might even consider not keeping loose change or bills in your wallet so that you won't be able to buy from the vending machine in a weak moment. Another idea is to set up a reward system. Give yourself a dollar (or the amount you'd usually spend) for every day you successfully avoid the vending machine. In a few weeks, treat yourself to a fun reward like a manicure, a new book, or something else you love (that's not junk food!) with the money you've saved. Before you know it, the vending machine will lose its appeal altogether.

10. Indulge in your absolute favorites—and savor every bite. By no means should you never eat junk food or donuts at work again! When something is really calling your name, or a special event is going on, go ahead and indulge. Keep your portions in check. Savor every bite, eating slowly and fully enjoying the experience. Afterwards, get right back to your usual healthy eating plan. Just don't fall into the trap of indulging at every "special event" at the office, because those special days tend to come up quite often (it always seems to be somebody's birthday in an office setting!).
 

No matter if you follow one of these tips or all 10 of them, one thing is certain: If you work in an office and are trying to manage your weight, you have to be committed, organized and ready to stand up for your decisions to eat a nutritious diet. While it can be hard at first, don't be surprised if over time, more people start to try eating your way. Being healthy becomes contagious once others see your dedication, increased energy and great results!

 
Source
HybridHer via Yahoo Shine. ''5 Strategies for Mindful Eating and a Healthier, Slimmer You,'' accessed March 2011. http://shine.yahoo.com.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • All of these are great tips, and essential too. I am blessed with a regular schedule so I can plan snacks and lunches. I prefer to bring my own. What helped me the most on this journey, at work, was a buddy. We were even Sparkfriends as well. We kept each other accountable, shared our good times and bad, shared recipes, brought each other experiments, etc. It was wonderful to have someone that REALLY understood. Our office now has moved toward a more healthy atmosphere which helps alot.Great article. - 2/17/2014 10:16:01 AM
  • The last place I worked there is no way you could do some of these things. You had very little time for meals, most places (I worked for an inventory company) you didn't even get breaks. A lot of them they didn't allow you to have any water with you and you couldn't take breaks to go get water. If you took your meal someone would throw it away. They threw away my entire cooler and food plus a couple other things. It is nice when you have a company that actually cares about their employees. - 1/17/2014 9:23:14 PM
  • Being self employed with DH is both a blessing and a challenge. He is my worst nemesis. I keep healthy lunch makings in our office refrig, I have a toaster and microwave and do my best to keep us out of fast food and restaurants at lunch. However, he gets tired of healthy foods and encourages me to go out to eat. I'm always relieved when he has a lunch meeting I'm not going to or one of his buddies takes him to lunch. However, exercise is almost nil at this office, There's only about 900 sq ft in the whole office. When the weather permits I try to go out and walk. As with lunch when he goes to a meeting without me, I jump at the chance to go for a walk at lunch since we are right dowtown and are in a really small community. - 1/16/2014 4:02:50 PM
  • Good advice! I pack my lunch and snacks each day. I don't get into any trouble with bad eating habits until I walk in my front door very hungry! HELP!! - 1/16/2014 3:05:24 PM
  • MANDYCAT3
    It's amazing what a difference there can be among workplaces. My last job before retirement was with a tech company in Denver, a city that is (relatively speaking) a very lean and health-minded place. Many of my co-workers were runners and ski buffs who worked out regularly and ate in a sane fashion.

    I now do volunteer work here in the Florida Panhandle. Eight out of ten of the salaried employees around me are overweight and sedentary. The break room is a nightmare of take out food and junk snacks. (Ironically, this is a healthcare facility.) Oddly enough, these unhealthy folks, most of whom are 20 to 40 years younger than I, have inspired me in a negative way. Watching them devour Southern Fried Everything has helped me lose the 20 pounds that had crept on in retirement. Go figure. - 12/26/2013 5:09:46 AM
  • At work, I was not tempted but at home is another story! - 10/18/2013 7:01:54 AM
  • Good suggestions. I wouldn't tell everyone I was on a diet since some people take it as a challenge to test you. I just say No thanks, and take my own snacks where ever I go.
    I've never had a desk or worked in an office, but I would take my lunch if I did. I like fruit and nuts for snacks. You need protein to stabilize your blood sugar though. Small piece of cheese, a few nuts. Carbs just make you hungry in a short time if eaten alone.
    Where ever I go I take water and some nuts and/or an apple, cheese crackers. That way I won't be tempted to get junk food. - 10/11/2013 12:20:30 PM
  • Some good suggestions, but I personally don't think suggestion number 2 is a good one. Announcing your intentions to the office is what dieters do, and dieting is a temporary mentality. Success is about your lifestyle, not your diet. How many times do you have other people in your office come and tell you they're making a lifestyle change? How many people at your office would you WANT to come to you to tell you about a lifestyle change (think about that one). Your lifestyle is personal, your commitment to changing it is personal - your support group is not a business matter. - 7/29/2013 11:53:15 AM
  • While my company is wonderful about supporting healthy nutrition and fitness, there are still ample opportunities to to create havoc on my health goals at work. I plan ahead, eat six small meals per day (so I am never hungry) and I am prepared for the unexpected...for example, I sometimes have to unexpectedly stay late. So I keep some raw almonds and fruit cups handy. I also keep some Quaker Real Medleys around. Peanut butter is another good option (just use portion control). I am confronted with donuts and bagels all of the time but I try to be mindful...am I hungry? What will this do to my calorie counts for the day as a whole...most of the time I realize that I don't want the food. - 4/22/2013 9:06:13 AM
  • Scheduling H2O breaks is an interesting idea. I keep a big bottle of water on my desk but I am erratic in drinking it. - 4/15/2013 9:16:13 AM
  • Plan ahead: bring your lunch. If possible snack every few hours on fruit or steamed veggies.
    Try not to let yourself get so hungry that you will eat anything that does not move!

    And never forget to have breakfast. Ideally do not eat at your desk but instead find a quite place where you will not be distracted but can focus on your food and the nourishing benefits it is providing. - 4/15/2013 4:46:48 AM
  • The library where I work has a cafe connected to it. It's maddening to sit at the desk and have the smell of brownies and scones wafting toward me all day. I do need to start packing snacks so I can resist the temptation of the cafe!

    (Not to mention making use of the coffee maker in the break room for my caffeine!) - 1/27/2013 9:35:06 PM
  • This is a really good list! I just started a new job and I've been great about bringing my own food (weekend cooking, full freezer) and have only succumbed to Friday treats in the kitchen once. I keep picturing the treats as picked-over and germy, and except for the white chocolate last Friday, It has worked. AND thankfully for me the soda and junk are on a completely different floor.

    I've been really worried about starting a new job and restarting some old, bad behaviors. I'd love to read more articles like this! - 1/27/2013 1:19:26 PM
  • This article is good timing for me. I'm starting a new job this week so I can establish good habits right from the beginning! - 1/27/2013 6:47:23 AM
  • Since I work with very young children all day, and for the last 23 years, some of these words are very foreign to me.
    Structure? Desk? Break? Candy dish? Vending Machine? Lunch at a resturant?
    Very good article. Yes we eat healthy 90 % of the time, but I do eat a Birthday Cupcake with the Birthday Child and bake cookies while reading "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" - 1/27/2013 6:19:44 AM