I’ve received a number of pleas from Kick in the Tush Club members – desperate to find an answer to their office food situations. From co-workers (even bosses) foisting food upon them, to the ubiquitous parties – it’s just too much. What has happened to the workplace? Is it a breeding ground for fat thighs, soft stomachs, spreading rumps and sugar highs?
One member writes:
Dear Our Lady of Weight Loss ~ Office food is doing me in. I just don’t know what to do about the birthdays, going away parties, promotion celebrations, not to mention the leftovers from the in-house meetings and luncheons, as well as the bowls and bags of candies, cookies and chips at every turn of the cubicle. This week promises to be loaded with the inevitable fattening foods – ranging from greasy pizza to chocolate seven layer cake and/or champagne – where I feel obligated to be polite and partake. And, the culture is such that everyone comes in early, goes home late and eats most of their meals at their desk. I haven’t seen sunlight in two months. My hands are sticky with M&Ms.(I thought that they don’t melt in your hands?) Please HELP! ~ Sticky Fingers
What to do? Our Lady of Weight Loss to the rescue.
There are ways for us to fight the office food demons – both food and people a.k.a. saboteurs (listed below) – but there is a bigger problem at play here. It’s the corporate food culture, and it needs to be acknowledged, explored and changed.
Our mission is to establish new policy – to enlist the heads of our companies – the Presidents, the CEOs, the Directors of Human Resources. Our goal is to transform the office into a healthy, happy and supportive workplace environment. (“Impossible,” you say. “Nothing is impossible!” I say.)
Education and communication are our tools. For some it may be easy, as their Big Boss is into jogging and smoothies, but for others, Big Boss may be a bacon cheeseburger and donut junkie. Nevertheless, we must prevail.
Let’s start with The Office Manifesto – a document that you can clip, paste, print, sign and sweetly hand (minus the M&M fingerprints) to your boss.
The OFFICE MANIFESTO
We, employees of _____________________ declare that the state of office eating is heretofore declared out of control. We hereby instate the following policy.
Henceforth, healthy options are to be made available at in-house meetings and parties.
Henceforth, the refrigerator that the company so graciously and generously stocks with soda (both diet and regular) shall also house natural fruit juices and bottled water(s).
Henceforth, the vending machine shall make available small packages of fat-free pretzels and baked potato chips.
Henceforth, the ‘Take-A-20-Minute Break’ policy will be enforced. All employees, who have missed lunch and not seen the light of day are hereby required to take a 20-minute break. It’s not healthy to work without a break or to stay inside all day long.
Henceforth, there will be a designated meditation/rest space(s) for employees to take refuge in during their 20-minute break (in case of inclement weather).
Henceforth, there will be a designated walking track (route) throughout the office. It’s not healthy not to move all day long.
Henceforth, no ‘pushers’ allowed. If someone says, “No, thank you” the ‘pushers’ shall refrain from saying, “Oh, just one piece.”
Henceforth, the employer acknowledges that all employees are valued and said employer is thrilled to know that productivity and morale will soar if said employee is healthfully fed, gets air and rest. (“Oh, my – such an easy solution. Thank you, Our Lady of Weight loss,” says Big Boss.)
Signed and Dated
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In the meantime, here are a couple of tips on how to survive the office eating culture. Once again, it takes commitment and planning – AND YOU ARE worth it.
Have a Sliver - If it’s impossible to say “no, thank you” each and every time, you may want to plan to have a small piece, as in a sliver. However, if there are multiple parties per week, you may want to limit your one sliver to one party.
Bring Your Own – (This is what I did when I worked in a corporation that tried to ply me with food at every turn. Those Saboteurs!) Stock the office freezer with diet treats. From ice cream to cake to 94% fat-free popcorn. All pre-portioned.
Get Up and Move – What kind of craziness is this? Eating at your desk or not eating at all is unhealthy and contributes to fatigue, lack of concentration. Productivity drops. If you can’t get out of the office, get up and walk around a couple of times. Take the long way, the stairs, copy one piece of paper at a time.
Take a Brain Break– Working without a break is unhealthy, as well. Your brain goes on autopilot. Once again, productivity drops. Meditate. If you have to (I did), go to the ladies’ room and close your eyes for five minutes. Do some deep breathing exercises.
Drink More Water – Drinking really helps. We often think we are hungry, when we are in fact thirsty. Try flavoring a 1.5 liter bottle of water with a little Crystal Light. (All that water provides an opportunity to go to the bathroom and meditate!)
Find a Buddy – Support and company is always a good thing. Find someone to join you and you can buck the system together.
A Food Gift – When someone gives you a box of chocolate or a spaghetti pie (someone gave a Kick member one), and they know you are losing weight, refrain from hurting them. Simply smile and say as you push the spaghetti pie back in their direction, “Oh thanks so much, but you know, spaghetti pies aren’t a part of my food plan. I appreciate the thought and would really love some fresh fruit. Why not bring it tomorrow?”
Read Our Lady of Weight Loss’s books (or book of your choice that lifts your spirits). Her special powers are beyond belief. She’ll change your life.
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Productivity faToids for Big Boss that are sure to change his/her thinking!
58 million Americans are overweight;
40 million obese;
3 million morbidly obese.
Those who indulge in poor eating and exercise habits account for over $33 billion in medical costs, of which $9 billion in lost productivity due to heart disease, cancer, stroke and Diabetes.
Workdays lost related to obesity: 39.3 million
Physician office visits related to obesity: 62.7 million
Restricted activity days related to obesity: 239.0 million
Bed-days related to obesity: 89.5 million.