It’s the holiday season and I’m sure your work environment is filled with delicious junk food. Many of you ask me how to avoid the office break room trap. As humans we have limited will power and using it all day is simply impossible. There are hundreds of articles online about stimulus control i.e. meal prep, arm yourself with healthy snacks, drink water…they can all definitely help to an extent.
Avoiding Junk Food at Work
I think the only sustainable solution is a change in mindset. If you go in everyday thinking “I won’t give in,” you are using will power which will eventually fade. Instead, if your mindset is one of fueling your body with only the best, that certain foods don’t serve you, or that food x is just not your preference for indulgence – the junk will not even tempt you. You won’t need to activate your limited reserve of will power.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a glazed and creme filled donut from time to time (as you’ve noticed on my Instagram), but it doesn’t sabotage my health goals.
Unfortunately, mindset takes a real commitment to yourself and your health.
Generally speaking, I think society’s messaging on being healthy and fit is about restricting/denying yourself and how fast you can get to the finish line – “avoid this, don’t eat that, lose 10 pounds in 7 days…”
When I was an athlete, I was forced to diet in very unhealthy methods and attitudes that didn’t serve me (or anyone). Dieting – coupled with the wrong mindset can be deadly. I learned some pretty effed-up binge eating behaviors. Recovering from that ordeal took a huge shift in mindset and commitment to my overall health.
1. I took back all the power. While competing, I didn’t have power. I gave it to coaches, opponents, society. That sounded like ” I can’t eat butter on toast because then I’ll gain weight and then my trainer will be mad” or “I shouldn’t eat a scoop of ice cream because I don’t fit in size 4 jeans and thats the size I should be” and “the girl that won the last tournament was skinnier than me, so I need to not eat today.”
I reclaimed governance over myself and how I wanted to feel. This was not an overnight process and neither was it a cakewalk. I used positive affirmations, diary entries, friends and counselors. I stopped weighing myself and started listening to my emotions.
I gave myself the power of choice. Telling myself I could eat anything I wanted to but I chose not to made all the difference.
2. I kept a regular workout routine. I’m sure there is research to back this, but even if there isn’t, I truly believe that regularly working out 3-5 times a week, enables me to easily make healthier choices with how I eat/sleep/live.
3. Keeping my goals small. This has been the hardest to follow. I tend to make grandiose plans and get severely overwhelmed when things don’t work out. I’ve retrained myself to make small goals that I know I can actually achieve. This keeps me from venturing in to all or nothing behaviors.
Working on these three things consistently has actually changed my preferences for more nourishing foods and behaviors. A complete health focused mindset helped me overcome binge eating and the office break room trap.