The Ideal Dieting Office

by Ali on September 15, 2008

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if your workplace was geared up to support your healthy living efforts?

Instead of having a vending machine stuffed with chocolate and a dingy cupboard of a kitchen, the Ideal Dieting Office would have free fruit and vegetables, a sparkling clean fridge, a host of supportive colleagues and a boss who’d let you take a two-hour lunch break to go to the gym …

The Ideal Dieting Office might be a fantasy, but there are some ways to bring your workplace a little closer to being perfect. Here’s how:

Kitchen

The Ideal:
You walk into a sparkling clean kitchen. The cupboards are full of nice plates, bowls, mugs and cutlery. The fridge is huge and shiny, with a freezer compartment for frozen treats. The washing-up has always been done.

The Reality:
Okay, so your office has to make do with a rather poky little kitchen, and no-one’s seen fit to stock it with any crockery. The fridge is crammed with forgotten sandwiches and out-of-date ready meals. Whenever you try to leave something in there for more than a few hours, though, it inevitably goes missing…

What you can do:

  • Get those rubber gloves out, take a deep breath, and give the office fridge a good clean. Sure, it’s not quite in your job remit, but everyone will love you for it!
  • Label all the food you keep in the fridge – not just so other people don’t steal it, but so you don’t accidentally take theirs too.
  • Buy yourself a cheap plate, bowl, knife, spoon and fork to keep at work.

Snacks

The Ideal:
Tempting seasonal fruit is always on offer – for free! Your enlightened boss believes that healthy workers are happy and productive workers, and makes a point of providing plenty of healthy snacks.

The Reality:
Your boss’s eye is firmly on the bottom line, and you know that any suggestion of freebies would not go down well. The only snack source near your office is the vending machine in the corridor – packed with crisps and chocolate bars.

What you can do:

  • Stock up on snacks. Stash some long-life favourites (cereal bars, rice cakes) in your desk drawer.
  • Bring a couple of pieces of fruit into work every day.
  • Get together with a colleague or two and take it in turns to bring some healthy snacks.

Hours

The Ideal:
You’re getting better results than ever at the gym, because your boss lets you take a two-hour lunch break to fit in a full session mid-day. And you and your office mates are performing so well, you’re allowed to leave work early to beat the traffic and make it home with plenty of time to cook dinner.

The Reality:
You’re lucky if you get a lunch break at all – usually you just grab a sandwich and eat it at your desk. You often end up working late, which means you tend to live on ready meals – at least it’s better than getting pizza delivered.

What you can do:

  • Make a point of taking your full lunch break and go for a walk: you’ll be much more productive in the afternoon.
  • If your employer allows flexitime, can you start half an hour earlier and take ninety minutes for lunch – allowing you to fit in a gym session?
  • Find some easy, quick recipes to cook in the evenings.

Colleagues

The Ideal:
You love your colleagues and see them all as good friends. They’re all really supportive about your diet, and several of them are trying to eat healthily too – so there’s plenty of encouragement in the office. When it’s someone’s birthday, the focus is on fun treats rather than slabs of cake – maybe you all watch a DVD at lunch time, or play some silly party games.

The Reality:
Most of your colleagues probably don’t know you exist. Those who do aren’t interested in your diet – or actively scoff about it. When cookies are going round, people act hurt if you don’t take one.

What you can do:

Good luck bringing your office a little closer to the ideal. There’ll never be a perfect time or situation in which to diet – so make the most of what you’ve got, and go for it now!

(Image above by tracyhunter.)

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