Mindful Eating: 7 Tips to Navigate Temptation in the Workplace

When I started my health journey I was 29 years of age, living alone and working in a remote community, in an office mainly solo.

When you do not have anyone else’s food influences impacting on you (plus having limited food outlets to choose from) it is so damn simple to eat and drink what you want without the 1) judgement and 2) the temptation. As you can imagine, I was super successful in changing my food habits at that time in my life.

But fast forward a few years when I was working in large city offices with cultures of celebrating staff birthdays with creamy cakes and having cheese and cracker platters for staff training and other events. Arghhhhh....keeping to my healthy eating regime was always being challenged!

At one interoffice meeting, I noticed a manager from another office did not touch one thing on the cheese and cracker plate, including the veggie sticks. She was super fit, looked fabulous and I wondered, how did she manage to do that? At the time I was overweight (even though I was food conscious) and feeling very frumpy. What mysterious personality trait did she possess to have such control? Me being a food lover could not imagine looking at a cheese platter and not have a least a little something off it!

Well I am pleased to tell you that I have figured it out! And it is not so hard. I am now a Ninja at navigating buffets, business functions and birthday parties without being tempted to go crazy or snack on things that I know will make me feel awful later on.

If you are interested in developing this super power, then read on. By the way, this super power has a name. It’s called mindful eating and it is powerful.

Tip 1. Get clear

 

One of the things I learned about that colleague who did not touch the cheese platter, was that she had a way of living that meant that she did not need to eat everything put in front of her. She was involved in triathlons so had a regime of eating that meant cheese platters at any time of day were off her menu.

 

 

 

I do not do triathlons but I do have health goals. As I got clearer on what I wanted for my life I created vision boards and journals, and in the area of health I have images of fresh food, running shoes, strong arms and back and pictures of women who look vibrant, fit and healthy. Getting clear on how you want to look and feel like is probably the most important tip of all these strategies. When you know what you want, it is easier to attract it to you and also to avoid those things that you don't want.

 

Tip 2. Plan Ahead

 

Start your day by planning your meals and snacks. Bring nutritious options from home to avoid the temptation of unhealthy office treats. Packing your lunch and snacks allows you to have control over your food choices and ensures that you're nourishing your body with wholesome foods. This is HUGE! If you are hungry, no amount of willpower will stop you reaching for that muffin or cupcake. I always, always have something with me. Either a protein snack bar, some nuts, an apple, or veggie sticks. If I don’t it means I am going to have to do the best with what is in front of me. I have been caught out too many times, so planning is now something I could win an Olympic medal for.

Tip 3. Create a Mindful Eating Environment

 

When it's time to eat, find a quiet space away from your desk where you can focus solely on your meal. Avoid eating in front of your computer or while scrolling through your phone. By giving your full attention to your food, you'll be more in tune with your hunger and satiety cues. Ok so I must confess, this is one that I am still working on.

Now when I snack whilst working, I realise that I eat way too fast. I do not notice the taste or textures of my food and am left feeling unsatisfied and hungry. So stop multitasking, look at the food and smell it before you eat it and savour every small bite. You will feel much fuller. See Tip #5.

Tip 4. Practice Mindful Decision-Making

Before reaching for a snack or indulging in a treat, take a moment to pause and ask yourself if you're truly hungry or if you're eating out of boredom or stress. Mindful decision-making can help you avoid mindless eating and make choices that align with your long-term health goals. A good question to ask yourself before reaching for that food is, “Will this take me closer to my goals or further away?”

Tip 5. Mindful Snacking

 

If you do decide to indulge in an office snack, opt for healthier options. If there are vegetable sticks, nuts and olives, or fruit choose those first. Avoid the crackers (unless you are sure they are made on whole grains or nuts and seeds) and have the dips with veggie sticks or find a fork or spoon and have them without anything. When bringing snacks to work think fresh fruit, celery, green beans and carrots (they travel better than cucumbers) nuts, boiled eggs, or Greek yogurt. Portion out your snacks mindfully and savour each bite. Pay attention to the flavours, textures, and sensations of the food you're eating, rather than eating mindlessly while distracted.

Tip 6. Stay Hydrated

Sometimes, what we perceive as hunger is actually thirst. Keep a water bottle at your desk and sip on water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Drinking water can help curb cravings and keep your energy levels stable.

Tip 7. Practice Mindful Eating Rituals

Incorporate mindful eating rituals into your daily routine, such as taking a few deep breaths before eating or expressing gratitude for your food. These rituals can help you cultivate a deeper appreciation for the nourishment your food provides and enhance the mindful eating experience.

By incorporating these mindful eating strategies into your workday, you can navigate temptation in the workplace and make healthier choices that support your overall well-being. Remember to approach each meal with mindfulness and intention, honouring your body's hunger and fullness cues. With practice, mindful eating can become a natural part of your daily routine, helping you thrive both at work and in life.

Lots of love,

PS: If you are wanting to go gluten-free I have a free gift for you, my Gluten-Free Kitchen - Making the Transition eBook. This is a guide I wished that I had when I was transitioning to a gluten-free diet after a diagnosis of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's autoimmune disorder. You can download it here for free www.vickiparker.net/GFkitchen

 

Posted in Health Tips.