Keep Your Diet on Track at Work
Wouldn’t it be nice if your work life would change to make watching your weight easy? In this fantasy, a gourmet salad bar opens next to your office and your favorite caloric snack suddenly
vanishes from the vending machine.
In the real world, you’re always facing temptation and need smart, easy ways to stay on track. Here are some tips on how to stick to your diet.
Diet dilemma: Coworkers bring in treats.
If you’re trying to slim down, the last thing you need is easy access to candy or baked goodies a coworker wants to get rid of at the office. To burn off the calories in a handful of plain M&Ms, a 140-pound woman would have to walk briskly for 43 minutes. Focus on saying “no thanks” or limiting yourself to just a small sample. Avoid walking by the candy or treat if you can. For office birthday celebrations, as you take each bite of cake, ask yourself whether it’s still satisfying you. If not, why keep eating it?
If you commit to balance treat calories by eating less that night or stepping up your exercise program, you’ll think twice about indulging.
Diet dilemma:You often eat at restaurants or order in.
Even fast-food places offer healthy options such as a tossed salad with lite dressing, a baked potato or a turkey, roast beef or grilled chicken sandwich on whole grain bread. If your sandwich comes piled high, consider saving half for the next day. Meat portions in particular are often overly generous.
Steer clear of tuna salad (unless the menu specifies that it’s made with lite mayonnaise), chef salads (which often contain loads of calorie-dense meat and cheese), crispy chicken or fried fish sandwiches and any mayonnaise or oil-based pasta or vegetable salad.
Diet dilemma:You work (and nosh) at home.
If you work from home, easy access to the refrigerator and snacks can make sticking to your regimen more difficult.
Avoid the excess calories that come from grazing. Also, have a firm idea of what you’re going to have for breakfast and lunch rather than rummaging. If the kids are home for lunch, rather than just peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese, sometimes serve “mom food” such as chicken salad sandwiches with lite
mayonnaise and baby carrots dipped in fat-free ranch dressing.
Diet dilemma:Your work schedule is irregular.
Research suggests that working the night shift can make it harder to watch your weight. Our metabolism tends to slow at night. Night workers can beat this bodily slowdown, says Allan Geliebter, PhD, a Columbia University Medical Center scientist, by increasing on-the-job exercise, such as walking more during their shift.
Workers who rotate day and night shifts tend to wait too long between meals, becoming ravenous and making unhealthy food choices. “Instead, try to plan out what you’re going to eat ahead of time,” says Karen Miller-Kovach, RD, chief scientific officer at Weight Watchers International.
Sandra Gordon is a freelance writer.