Stop Eating Junk Food At Work: Perform and Feel Better
I remember getting this text message from a friend who worked in the ER: a break room full of cookies and donuts, captioned with “The Struggle Is Real. I don’t know how to stop eating junk food at work when I walk into this!”
I smiled as I walked, curiously, into the break room of the ER I was working in at the time. What I discovered was only slightly less disturbing:
Two columns of pizza boxes stacked five high, with a mound of cookies from Jimmy John’s. Oh, and a neglected vegetable platter from 2 days ago that was growing mold on the counter.
First of all, let me state for the record that my metabolism runs incredibly high, and unless I stick to my lifting and eating regimen, I tend to look slightly emaciated. So, I have the opposite problem of most people who are reading this. Consider me aware.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like total crap and experience the intense sugar/carb cravings, indulgences, and inevitable crash that comes with a stroll through the typical break room.
Although I discussed this calamitous break-room scene with my manager, it turns out that getting a fruit plate with some hummus and pita bread delivered at 8PM on a Thursday requires more effort than just calling Dominos.
Now, nobody is hating on free food. But let’s be real:
That kind of free food is better left untouched when you have hours left to work.
So lets run by a few quick strategies to stop eating junk food at work so you can make your body more energized, your mind more focused, and your whole organization happier and healthier.
Don’t bring junk into work, and ask your coworkers and employees to do the same. If it isn’t there, you can’t eat it. If you’re the boss, provide a healthier alternative like fruits and nuts and some hippie granola with a very slight honey drizzle. You’ll see a spike in your performance, not your blood sugar.
Stay Hydrated. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse being thirsty for being hungry. I know, it sounds silly, but even we adults get so busy that we forget to drink water and reach for a snack instead. Keep a refillable (you’re not using the styrofoam cups by the water fountain, are you, planet killer?) liter bottle by you all day and keep drinking, even if it means extra trips to the bathroom! (And hey, extra trips to the bathroom means more steps on your fit-bit, and more opportunities to stop staring at that screen.)
Recognize Your Triggers. If 2:30PM means a trip to the vending machine, pack yourself a fruit and nut bar and go for a quick walk instead. While it can take 2 weeks to start forming a new habit, it can take up to 180 days to cement it into your new and amazing work lifestyle. Own it, be patient with yourself, and recognize that any failures during the process are just a sign that you are leveling up.
Have Healthy Foods Handy. Keep a stockpile of sliced red peppers, carrots, hummus and peanut butter as easy and accessible as the chips down the hall. Yes, it requires foresight, but once you begin noticing the way that your body feels you’ll want less and less of those empty carbs.
Tell the People Around You What You’re Up To. This was one of the most effective treatments for a recovering sugar addict such as myself. Someone would leave a pile of candies on the desk and, as I went to dig through them, one of my friends would take it away and say, “You don’t want to do that.” In that moment, I was mad. Rip-roaring pissed off. But 15 seconds later, I was happy to have had a person who could help me through my moments of weakness. Never undervalue the power of a supportive community, even if that community is only built up of two people.
Keep these guidelines in mind as you move throughout your day to stop eating junk food at work, and I promise you’ll feel, look, and perform better.
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