Last time, I looked at how living with a partner or other person who isn’t dieting might challenge our willpower. This time, I’m focusing on another problem area: at work. Now for the purposes of this article, I’m going to be focusing mainly on my experience, which is in an office. I can’t vouch for that being any different for those who have a more physical job, or don’t have the same physical tie to their own desk. But here are my tips for those in a similar situation to me.
1. Make a routine
Routine, for me, is everything. Once I get into a routine of having porridge for breakfast, I generally feel much better and fuller for longer. But it is oh-so-easy to pop bread in the toaster, and certainly much easier than stirring porridge to make sure it doesn’t overflow. At work, I have started to get there 15 minutes early so I have time to make breakfast there. That way, rather than having to eat nearly an hour earlier (my commute is 45 minutes), I can get to work, get sorted, and be less hungry less quickly.
2. Prep your lunch
Work is a hard one – there is scarcely a week goes by when there isn’t birthday food, leftover baking goods, leftover meeting buffet or a meal out to celebrate something, so it’s a difficult area. But, if you prep your lunch the night before you really are halfway there. I tend to do my boyfriend, Dan’s, and mine at the same time, and this means I have a ready-made excuse that I have to make lunch, and can’t just drive to Costa, because someone else is relying on me. But I understand it’s hard when you’ve already had a long day at work, and spending 20 minutes prepping a good, hearty lunch is the last thing you feel like. If that’s you, try making batches: I like to make a batch of soup at once, and freeze it, taking out single portions when I need them. Or splitting a pack of mackerel and a pack of rice with some veggies. If possible, make a few at a time.
3. Set goals
I don’t necessarily mean big goals, like your ultimate goal weight for this one. What I actually mean, is split your food up. If, like me, you like to have regular snacks to pick at at your desk, then make a mental note of what you’ll eat when. I generally don’t allow myself a snack before 10.30am, and then, it’s usually a piece of fruit. I normally have my lunch around 1pm, which is generally my main item, and then something sweet, and a piece of fruit again. I have a sense of what I can eat when, and I know if I eat more, I’m only depriving myself of an afternoon snack later.
4. Out of sight, out of mind
I’ve found a great way to keep in control is to keep the food off my desk. The food, such as fruit, which doesn’t spoil out of the fridge, I like to keep in my drawers under my desk. But because it’s hidden away, it isn’t staring at me all day! I also utilise the fact I have multiple drawers as a sort of portion control. Anything in the top drawer is my snacks, middle drawer usually has anything I’ll eat in my lunch hour. That way, I don’t have to think.
5. Get colleagues on board
Now I don’t know about you, but it’s ever so noticeable that it’s been a new year recently – the soups are out, and the chocolate is much thinner on the ground. You don’t have to recruit anyone to your diet, but let people know you’re watching your weight. Also, you’ll feel less inclined to gorge yourself in front of work mates if you know they know you’re trying your best – no one wants to look a failure, so use the social embarrassment to your advantage.
6. Stow away standbys
In my top drawer, I also have a few bits for occasions where I really need something extra. I have portioned out Weight Watchers hot chocolates, at a point each, and a few bits of fruit. That way, if I feel I need something else to pick at come 3pm, it’s not ten pences I’m reaching for so I can use the vendor, but sensible choices instead.
7. Allow yourself treats
As with my last blog post, this is super important. Friday is generally my day off – I often pop to the retail park for lunch at Costa, or grab something nice at Morrisons – and hey, there’s an M & S just opened, so cue office excitement! But more than that, be kind to yourself. When there are mini caramel bites or onion bhajis on the kitchen table, it is hard to resist, but 1 or even 4 won’t kill you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and promise to do better tomorrow. Or better still, blast those extra calories with a quick gym session after work, or a brisk walk around the local area on your lunch hour. Small mistakes are just that, unless you let them become anything bigger.
That’s it from my work tips – next time, I’ll be bringing you, surviving the diet, on a budget!