How to Stick with Intuitive Eating at the Office
Work + Life Balance

How to Stick with Intuitive Eating at the Office

IN A WORLD FILLED WITH DIETING AND RESTRICTING, WE'RE EXCITED TO FINALLY SEE THE CONCEPT OF INTUITIVE EATING GETTING SOME WELL-DESERVED RECOGNITION.

Intuitive eating is simple but not easy. It means checking in with yourself to figure out exactly what your body needs to eat and drink. If you’re someone who’s been on a diet, or tried to lose weight with a precise calorie restriction in the past, this intuitive method of dieting can prove difficulty, especially during busy work days. Here are five simple steps to help you get started, and stick with this method, even when your swamped with projects.

GO ON A DIET FROM DIETING

Working in an office, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everyone else’s dietary patterns. Frequently, break room conversations turns to eating styles. Instead of getting fixated on the diet du jour (Gluten free? Vegan? Paleo?), try going on a diet from diets. Stop listening to everyone else talk about their eating habits and weight, and focus on listening to your own body. It has some amazing answers if you can give it the time.

Office Tip: Eat lunch with coworkers who aren't preoccupied with talking about food. If that's not possible, consider heading outside on your lunch break for some solo time. Taking a few minutes alone can help you reset during a stressful work day as well. 

CUT THE COUNTING & START COOKING

If you’re currently counting calories, grams, or pounds to measure your diet’s success—stop now. This is a major conflict of interest when it comes to intuitive eating and definitely creates some tension between what your intellectual brain thinks it needs and what your intuitive body knows it needs. Some days, your body will tell you it wants a "huge" lunch at 11am and a snack at 2pm—and that's totally OK. 

A great way to break up with calorie counting is to start making more meals from scratch and bringing them in from lunch. Try prepping meals on Sundays when you have extra time. You'll know exactly what ingredients you're using, without the temptation to look at the numbers on the package. Generally, this is a healthier way to live, too!

Office Tip: Make sure you have a few different types of snacks on hand at your desk. Intuitive eating is about listening to your body, which is impossible to do if you find yourself starving with no access to food at 3pm. 

EAT WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS

Any time you eat while driving, scrolling on your phone, watching TV, or answering emails, you inhibit your body’s hunger and fullness cues from working properly. This makes eating intuitively astronomically more difficult. Wake up twenty minutes earlier so you can eat breakfast at home or at a cafe before getting in your car. And try taking a proper lunch break to enjoy your meal, ideally away from your desk. 

Office Tip: Step away from the computer, even if it's for a few minutes. Maybe you don't have time to do this every day, but intuitive eating is a process. Start by trying to eat lunch without distraction once a week. 

We need less go time and more slow time.

KEEP A MINDFUL EATING FOOD JOURNAL

A "mindful eating food journal" is simply a food journal, best handwritten, that entails details your eating habits without calorie counts. A thorough mindful eating food journal will document the following: 

  • Time.
  • Food consumed. Be as specific as possible, but again, no calorie counting! 
  • Activity. Are you watching TV? Sitting at a table with your SO? Driving to Work? Be as detailed as possible.
  • How you’re feeling before the meal. Are you stressed? Tired? Happy? Include a general account of how you’re feeling, and possibly why.
  • How hungry you felt before the meal, on a scale from 1-10, 1 being not hungry at all, 10 being starving.
  • How full you feel after the meal, on a scale from 1-10, 1 being not full or satisfied at all, 10 being absolutely stuffed. 
  • How you’re feeling after the meal. Energized? Tired? Guilty? Include a general account of how you’re feeling, and why. Note, it’s okay if this is the same feeling you had as before the meal.

Keeping a food journal helps you veer away from counting calories or grams of carbohydrates, and allows you to discover personal patterns. Do you always crave chocolate when you’re tired? Maybe that’s your body’s way of asking for more sleep, not necessarily more chocolate. Try keeping this journal for a month, and see what unfolds. Maybe you can even start an office trend!

Office Tip: Make sure to bring the journal with you into the office to make sure you're as accurate as possible. Alternately, you can write out your lunches and snacks in an iPhone note and transfer them to your journal when you get home. {Click to Tweet}

SLOW DOWN

Have you noticed that all food advertising for working professionals is on-the-go?

Breakfast on-the-go!

Soup on-the-go!

Go-gurt. 

We need less go time and more slow time. I’ve never met a 75-year-old that said they wish life went a little bit faster. Take a step away from the marketing trends and some time to slow down and appreciate your food, even if it means waking up earlier in the morning or watching one less episode of Homeland at night. Give your body a chance to actually tell you what it needs.

Office Tip: Sometimes our crazy schedules make it close to impossible to break for a snack, or even a meal. If your only alternative to "on-the-go" food is starving on the commute home, try stocking your desk drawer, bag, or car with a simple healthy snack such as almonds and dark chocolate to hold you over until your next snack or meal. Sometimes just knowing you a back-up snack can prevent impulsive fast-food stops on the ride home. 

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We hope you try at least one of the steps above. Which one will you give a shot? Let us know in the comments below to get the conversation started!

 

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