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How to Navigate the Office Food Minefield

Working in an office can be one big food minefield from various celebrations, leftover business meals, to the “obligatory” candy bowl on your co-worker’s desk. You start off the day strong with a good breakfast and eat what you brought for lunch. But when you see the free food you just can’t seem to resist it. Cue mindless eating!

So why is it that the donuts or candy jar become irresistible even though you have the best of intentions to eat in alignment with your goals? Throughout the day, different emotions can build up that can impact your behavior. This could be positive or negative interactions with coworkers, feeling overwhelmed at work and needing a break, not having the right nutrients at breakfast or lunch, or even missing a work deadline. If you find yourself accommodating a situation or another person to resolve real or perceived conflict, it can lead to feeling depleted. And that’s when we end up eating out of alignment with our goals or feeling an immediate need for sugar. When that happens it typically means we have real needs that aren’t being met. 

The first thing we need to do is understand what’s leading to out of alignment eating. Sometimes just by having the awareness of what we’re actually feeling can help so we don’t feel so powerless. Then we can check in on what we actually need in the situation, which can be challenging when we haven’t been in tune with our needs for a while. 

When you end up eating the array of food left around the office it may be a sign you’re feeling some level of physical or emotional depletion. This can happen from situations such as:

  • Comparing yourself to others 
  • Feeling behind and like you can never catch up
  • Accommodating another person or a project by putting their needs ahead of your own
  • Procrastinating and not taking action on a big task on your to-do list that is consuming your thoughts

When you find yourself straying to the food around the office and aren’t sure why, check in to see if one of the situations above have occurred. If so, here are some strategies you can use to determine what you need since the food likely isn’t the solution.

  1. If comparing to someone, how can you connect with the other person, project or yourself instead of compare? 
  2. If accommodating ask yourself, where is the win-win? We often (subconsciously) think both people can’t win in a situation and that it’s an either/or, but coming up with a collaborative solution can be really helpful to ensure everyone’s needs are met.  
  3. If procrastinating, what’s one step you can take to help you take action? Hint: you may need to break down the steps and prioritize one small thing. 

Not all of these strategies will work for everyone, so it is important to try different ones until you find what works best for you. If you could use some support exploring your patterns around food and what’s been keeping you stuck from doing what you know works, sign up for a complimentary 30-minute Q&A session. 

About Laura:

Laura B. Folkes is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and holds a certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She supports busy adults who know what they should be eating but have a hard time sticking to it by helping them identify the familiar patterns keeping them stuck so they can radically transform their relationship with food. She ensures her clients don’t feel deprived by guiding them to make small, incremental changes so the journey is more enjoyable and will last long-term.

After successfully losing 60 pounds and working through her own emotional relationship with food, Laura recognizes there are many factors keeping individuals from sticking to what they know works but it’s her mission to help others overcome these factors to become healthier and happier.

Laura can be contacted at laura@laurabfolkes.com.

Laura B. FolkesHow to Navigate the Office Food Minefield
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