How to Stick to Your Diet at Work
Here are 9 easy-to-follow tips
You want to stick to a healthier diet, you really do. But it’s so hard to make better food choices at work, where cookies and happy hours abound. But fear not. It is possible to rise above. It just takes some discipline at the beginning. Once you get the hang of it, avoiding snack traps and throwing the office baker off your trail will become old hat.
Start the day off right
You know that it’s important to eat breakfast, but sometimes you oversleep. That’s when that basket of leftover pastries from the investor meeting looks mighty appealing circa 10 a.m. Instead, always have something on hand at home that you can grab on your way out before falling victim to a dry cheese Danish. Might we suggest make-ahead yogurt parfaits with nuts and fresh fruit?
Lie when necessary
Julia baked her famous chocolate-chip cookies again. Great. If she leaves them in the kitchen, just stay away. If she parades them around like a prized show pony, feel free to tell a little white lie. When she gets to your desk, say that you just ate, but that you’ll take one for later. Once she’s gone, pass the cookie to a grateful coworker. (Or, shhh, throw it away.) The baker will be none the wiser and you won’t be staring down a delicious confection all day.
change the subject when necessary
On the subject of lying, don't feel like you owe your coworkers any kind of explanation. The good thing is, most people don't want to hear about your diet. But to the stray busybody who wants to compare caloric intakes, we say, mind your own business. To avoid starting an office-wide conversation about nutrition, answer the question briefly--"I'm actually staying away from dairy right now"--and change the topic to something even more boring, say, the expense reports your work pal hasn't finished.
Become a master planner
This doesn’t mean you have to make your lunches for the week every Sunday night. (Although that’s obviously not a bad idea.) Aim to bring lunch a few days a week, but don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards. Just have a number of healthy go-tos for the days you can't be bothered to pack another kale salad.
but don't deprive yourself
Sure it's probably better for your wallet and waistline to bring your own lunch every day, but if your department is going out for a celebratory meal, by all means, go. Before you leave, though, check out the restaurant’s menu online. Making an informed choice while still at your desk will mean you’re less likely to order something you’ll regret at the last minute.
Beware of snack traps
Paul in marketing always has a bowl of Jolly Ranchers on his desk. Laura in finance has a Costco-size box of trail mix readily available. You know where snack traps lie around the office, so avoid them at all costs. Take a route to your desk that doesn’t include passing temptation. Out of sight, out of mind. Plus, your circuitous path means getting in a few extra steps--never a bad thing.
And your water bottle
News flash: You’re probably not drinking enough water. Not only is staying hydrated hugely important for your health and skin and hair and pretty much everything, but feelings of thirst are often mistaken as feeling of hunger. Buy a cool water bottle like this awesome one, that sends notifications to your phone reminding you to drink, and make a goal to drink two liters throughout the day. You’ll have to remind yourself at first, but after a few weeks, it’ll become habit.
Snacking at work is almost inevitable, but done right, it can be beneficial and can keep your metabolism in tip-top shape. The key is to snack smart. Instead of filling your desk drawers with cookies, chips and soda, stock up on foods that are high in protein and fiber, and low in sugar. Snacks like a handful of almonds, a piece of fruit or veggies with a bit of hummus are delicious and will keep you fuller longer (especially nights when you're working late and don't know how you'll make it to dinner).
So there's a whole tray of chocolate croissants up for grabs in the office kitchen. According to Robyn Youkilis, an Institute for Integrative Nutrition wellness expert and author, instead of reaching for it, you should play a little mind game. Set a timer for two minutes. Relax and drink some water--really do anything that isn't stuffing your face. After two minutes, if you still really want the croissant, have a little bit. It’s likely in those two minutes, though, that the craving will disappear, or you’ll be able to decide on a better-for-you alternative.