Take control of office food habits

Last updated 15:02 13/06/2014

OFFICE SCOFF: Let's be honest, office cakes are rarely that great that you need to waste your calories on them.

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For those of us who spend eight hours or more a day sitting down in an office environment, between the biscuit tin, lolly jar, office lunches and birthday cakes, the calories are literally out to get us.

So, if your goal is to keep control of the scales, here are the key ways to be in the office while not becoming a victim of workplace weight gain.

1. Ban the biscuits

You know that once you start you cannot stop, and while the lure of sugar, fat and white flour can be powerful, there is literally nothing positive you can say about the nutritional profile of plain sweet biscuits. Perhaps the biggest issue when it comes to the biscuit tin is that once you start to have a biscuit or two with a cup of tea, it quickly becomes a habit and before you know it, you cannot enjoy a hot drink without a biscuit to go with it. Save yourself the heartache and step away from the biscuit tin, for good.

2. Stay away from the feeders

Every office has them, the seemingly well-meaning individuals who make it their job to make sure everyone else eats extra cakes, biscuits and treats they do not really want or need. Sure, there is nothing wrong with making a cake occasionally, but feeders are the ones who bring in food every other day; who organise food-based events and who take the chocolate or cake around to everyone's desk at 3pm. Like the office gossip that you remain wary of, keep well away from the office feeder.

3. Get used to tasting the cake, not finishing it

Have you noticed that there is always something to celebrate when you are in the office - a wedding, birthday, someone leaving - which all basically adds up to you eating a whole lot of extra cake? If you struggle to say no when celebratory treats are offered, practice asking for the smallest serve and just tasting the cake. Let's be honest, office cakes are rarely that great that you need to waste your calories on them.

4. Bring your lunch

It is really, really hard to find a nutritionally balanced lunch that does not cost the earth. Old habits die hard, so if you are in the habit of treating yourself to the fatty hot meals commonly found in food courts, it is going to be a hard habit to break. The simple act of committing to packing a nutritionally balanced, tasty and filling lunch on most days of the week not only means that you have actively taken control of your nutrition, but it leaves you less vulnerable to emotive ordering or skipping lunch altogether, while typically saving plenty of dollars each week. Utilise leftovers, start a work lunch club and if you really miss your food court lunches, give yourself a treat lunch once each week.

5. Separate work and pleasure

Yes, you may spend many, many hours there each week, and spend more time with your colleagues than you do your own family but at the end of the day it is still work. You would not be there if it was not for the pay, and you would not eat half the things you do when you are there if you were at home. There is nothing wrong with enjoying higher-calorie treats for special occasions or a few drinks with close friends and family on weekends, but why waste your limited calories at work when we generally eat because it is there, or offered to us, rather than really wanting it? The sooner you separate your work and your personal life mentally when it comes to your food and drink decisions, the sooner you will find that it becomes much easier to say no when you know deep down that you should.

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- Sydney Morning Herald


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