Is it acceptable to break open the tupperware box and start eating chicken during a board meeting?
Can you have a protein shake when everyone else is having coffee and cake?
Can you refuse to go to the team lunch because they are eating forbidden foods?
I know of people who pretend to have allergies or illnesses that prevent them eating certain foods, so that they have a socially acceptable excuse to give to colleagues.
Others just end up hardly eating at work at all, to avoid awkward situations and hostile comments.
One friend of mine found it so difficult to eat properly at work that he decided not to do it. He had a large breakfast at home in the morning and a large dinner at home in the evening, eating the majority of his daily calories at these times. Therefore during the day he could get away with minimal food intake.
This is a possible solution for someone trying to lose fat (it’s a version of intermittent fasting), although not so good for those wanting to put on muscle. However, it is a pity that it comes to this at all.
I empathise with all of these problems as, before I was a personal trainer, I worked in a variety of corporate environments and went through it all myself.
There’s no single answer, everyone needs to find their own solution.
The first thing is to make sure that this situation does not put you off. Understand that you are not alone; practically everyone who tries to clean up their diet has ‘challenging’ encounters in the workplace!
If your colleagues have a problem with what you are eating, that is their problem not yours. It is a pity that they take it out on you, but often the truth is that you are succeeding where they are not, and they resent it.
Try not to take umbrage or make the situation worse, since you’ve got to work with these people. Reassure yourself with the fact that you are pursuing your goals and seeing results.
At first people will ask why you’re doing it, but eventually after the hard work pays off, they will ask how you did it!
Preparation is key
Take your own food in to work so that you have complete control over what you eat. Take in your snacks and your lunch, and store some spares at work if you can, so you are never without a healthy option.
Have a back up
Scout out places where you can buy something in line with your diet for the days when you just haven’t had a chance to prepare your food. If you are going low carb, supermarkets are a good option: you can generally get cooked meat and salad.
Set an example by bringing in healthier options (yoghurt, fruit) as well as the obligatory cake for birthdays etc. If you like cooking, experiment with low sugar/gluten free cooking. You’ll find good stuff if you search for ‘paleo recipes’ online.
You don’t even have to tell people they are ‘paleo’ cakes, just bring them in and see what the reaction is!
Get an expert to help
Why not invite a nutrition expert in to give a talk? People will often accept what an outside expert says more easily than their peers. We have plenty of experts at http://upfitness.co.uk.
If all else fails…
If real food is too awkward to consume, make use of shakes – you can get an entire meal in a homemade shake, just make sure you have enough protein, carbohydrate and fat.
What cunning methods have you found to eat well at work? Have you been in any awkward situations and how did you deal with them? Do share your experiences in the comments!
Image courtesy of http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.co.uk
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