Considering that on average, we spend most of our waking hours at work, it only makes sense that the food choices we make at work can have a significant impact on our weight and our ability to lose weight – not to mention on our overall health. In fact, time and time again, I have seen people consuming healthy diets outside of work, but during work hours the lure of communal biscuit jars, birthday celebrations and being surrounded by tempting convenience foods, leads to the best of intentions going out the window.
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If you can relate, here are some key traps to look out for and how to strike a healthy balance between your work-life and a healthy diet:
#1. You’re not starting your day right
If you find you often skip breakfast and start your day with a coffee at 8am and find yourself ravenous by 9am and unable to quash hunger all day long, despite eating, there is a reason for this. Studies have suggested that those who start the day with a protein rich breakfast are less likely to snack and graze during the day and late into the night.
Do yourself a favour and prioritise breakfast because this will help to stabilise both appetite and energy levels during the day and help you eat in a more balanced way. Aim for approx. 20-30g protein at breakfast time, which may include a mix of, eggs, cottage cheese, salmon, scrambled tofu, yoghurt, milk, chia seeds, nut/seeds and/or plant-based protein powder.
#2. There’s too much choice
When typing away at your computer, pondering what to have for lunch can be a nice little distraction. However, when your mind starts to throw around too many ideas such as leftovers… UberEats… protein shake…. or quick dash to a local café, you can be left paralysed by too much choice. This can quickly lead to exasperation and out of frustration, you go for the quickest and closest but not always the best or healthiest option.
It’s as easy as coming up with three or so healthy lunch options to have on rotation. The deliberation is then greatly reduced, and you’re more likely to make a choice most supportive of your goals – not to mention improving concentration and I’d like to think, generally feeling healthier for it!
#3 Your desk is not your friend
While I do not advocate eating at your desk and in front of a screen, I am human too and sometimes it’s just not avoidable. If it must be done, opt for a desk friendly option, as it can be quite stressful to consume a messy meal at your desk while trying not to feel awkward or self-conscious. When we eat in a stressful state, the fact that we have eaten can take more time to register and we go on the hunt for more food, when we should be satisfied by our lunch. This can also cause poor digestion, which can lead to bloating and feeling pretty average.
For days when stepping away from the desk is just not an option, try leftovers neatly packed in a container or premade meals, such as Dietlicious’ 100% nutritionally-balanced and portion controlled meals that can be brought to work, and are ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. These options can help to overcome any messy-eating challenges, making for a much more pleasant and flavoursome lunch break!
#4. Eating as a form of procrastination
Have you ever received an email you kind of don’t want to reply to because it brings about some uncomfortable feelings and as a delay tactic, you go to the kitchen to find a snack? I am sure we have all been there and done that but found, it’s never a good solution! Not only because the email will still be there when we get back, but also, because we aren’t actually hungry yet force a snack. This unnecessary eating can add up over the course of the workweek and does little for our weight loss efforts.
Instead, when reaching for a snack, pause and ask yourself, am I truly hungry or is this snack being used for another purpose?
#5. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
This quote really rings true when it comes to healthy eating and in particular weight loss efforts. Some effort or forward planning is needed in order to eat well and stay on track. This does not have to mean dishing up seven days-worth of perfectly weighed amounts of food into containers.
Ideally, think of a few dishes you love and enjoy that you can have on rotation week to week, this way you won’t get bored and you don’t need to over complicate it, which means you are more likely to stick to the plan. Again, if you are really pressed for time opting for healthy convenience meals are a great way to support yourself to stay on track. It’s one of my favourite stress-saving tips of all time!
Celebrity Chef and Nutritionist Zoe Bingley- Pullin has teamed up with Dietlicious to create The 4 Week Body Reset Program, designed for people with busy lifestyles who want to reset old habits for healthy new ones. Find out more here.