Back in 2013 I was working in an office, managing IT Projects.
I found it pretty stressful. I was working long hours, eating in the canteen, then going home and thinking about work all evening. Worry-free sleep was a luxury.
I decided I wanted to take back control of my declining health before it got any worse, so like many people, I embarked on a healthy eating and exercise regime.
My new habits certainly raised some eyebrows in the office.
- Bowling up to work with three or four Tupperwares full of food (which took up all the space in the communal fridge!)
- Refusing to be part of the cake run
- Being ridiculed by my colleagues for walking like Bambi in my high heels because of terrible DOMS – “We thought all this exercise was supposed to be good for you …”
To say this pissed me off a bit was an understatement.
At home, we’re in control. We can empty out the biscuit tin and fill our fridges full of brightly coloured veg and delicious protein options. But we can’t control what happens at work.
When we’re trying our best to be healthy sometimes it seems like our workplace is working against us.
So, what can we do about it?
Strategies equal success 👊
It’s not enough to rely on willpower. Willpower is temporary. You need to know how you’re going to behave in any given situation.
Here are seven strategies that helped me stay on track at work.
- Know your hunger cues
Deal with them before they get out of hand.
Yes, I know it’s not always appropriate to be that Tupperware wanker in the middle of a meeting but there’s no need to try and ‘power through’ either – we’re not in 1980’s Wall Street.
If you know it’s going to be a long meeting, eat beforehand or bring snacks with you – protein will keep you fuller for longer.
- apple with peanut butter
- beef jerky
- instant porridge with protein powder
- cottage cheese with nuts, berries and cinnamon
- veg with guacamole or hummus
Even if it’s only for 15 mins.
Many of us eat lunch at our desks, checking emails or scrolling through our phones. When we’re distracted by technology we eat more.
Claim back your lunch break – take your lunch to a quiet area, or even better, outside. Leave your phone on your desk (the world will not end) and enjoy fifteen minutes of peace and quiet.
- Eat & meet.
Back to back meetings? Move them to breakfast or lunch and get some sustenance while planning world domination.
- Be that Tupperware Wanker.
Bring your own lunch and don’t be tempted by the onsite café full of muffins and milky coffees.
And it doesn’t have to be about soggy sandwiches and wilting salads. Double up on portions when you make dinner and bring the leftovers to work.
- Hang out with the healthy crew
Jim Rohn famously said ‘You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with’ and you spend A LOT of time at work.
Who are your lunch buddies? The ones who started the office squash league and swap healthy recipes, or the people who take a stroll to the pub at lunch for a pie and a pint?
- Gamify it.
Who doesn’t love a bit of colleague competitiveness?
We all know that introducing an element of competitiveness in the office makes everyone step up their game. Approach your manager to ask them to donate a prize or collect £1 per weekly weigh-in from everyone and make that the prize fund for the most active/most steps etc.
Or donate the prize to charity and ask the company to match it. Either way it’s a win-win – happy, healthy employees are productive employees.
- Be clear about your why
Most of us cave into peer pressure or face ridicule when we don’t join in the cake run.
Have an answer ready for the haters. Maybe your healthy eating makes someone feel uncomfortable and they’d rather call you a Food Nazi than face up to their own shortcomings (this actually happened to me) 🙄
The point is, if you’re clear about why you’re making these changes (to be a better parent, to live a longer life, to have a banging body on your next holiday) their opinion shouldn’t matter to you.
So, there are your strategies. All you need to do now is implement them!
Start small. Why not commit to implementing ONE of these strategies this week? The one that you think will make the most difference.
Share this blog post with your work colleagues or manager and talk about how you can incorporate some of these into your workplace.
Are you a manager or CEO? Lead by example. Company culture is your responsibility and there are plenty of ways to make your workplace a healthier environment.
If you’ve made some changes to your workplace that have helped, please leave a comment here and tell me about them. I’m always up for hearing about new strategies. 😁
If you need help or have questions you can get in touch here. 😊