How to Curbing Cravings at Work

It’s mid-afternoon and you’ve hit a slump. You’re staring at your computer screen, your mind wandering as your energy drops. Suddenly a coworker walks by with a delicious looking cookie in hand and the temptation hits you hard. Before you know it, you’ve grabbed one (or three) yourself and your diet is derailed. When you’re trying to watch your weight or eat healthier, it can feel impossible to stick to your goals. But with some planning, discipline, and smart strategies, you can curb cravings and stay on track with your diet, even in the face of workplace temptations. Here are some tips to stop self-sabotage and Curbing Cravings at Work.

Be Prepared With Healthy Alternatives

The best way to avoid the siren call of treats is to come equipped with convenient, satisfying alternatives of your own. That way when hunger hits or you need a pick-me-up, you won’t be tempted to grab whatever’s available.

Here are some healthy snacks that are easy to keep at your desk:

  • Fresh fruit like apples, oranges, grapes, banana chips, or cut up melon. The natural sugar will satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, pistachio, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. The fat and protein will keep you full.
  • Low-sugar protein bars. Look for ones with less than 5g added sugar. The protein will sustain your energy.
  • Fresh veggies like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, or broccoli florets served with hummus for dipping. The fiber and nutrients will power you through without a crash.
  • Plain Greek yogurt topped with berries or almonds makes a filling, creamy treat.
  • Hard boiled eggs offer an easy hit of protein to curb cravings.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can disguise itself as hunger, fooling you into reaching for a cookie when your body really just needs more water. Getting sufficient hydration will keep cravings at bay.

Get a reusable water bottle or a cup you love and keep it filled at your desk. Set a goal to finish 3-4 bottles over the course of your workday. Add sliced lemon, lime, cucumber, or fresh mint to make it more appealing.

Starting your day with a warm lemon water or herbal tea can also hydrate you and curb the desire to snack unnecessarily.

Schedule Smart Snacking

Hunger and cravings can get the best of you when your blood sugar drops between meals. Avoid this by planning timely snacks and mini meals.

Pack your workspace snacks the night before and portion them out to grab at set times, such as mid-morning and mid-afternoon. This prevents finding yourself so ravenous you gorge on whatever looks good in the breakroom.

Getting enough protein, fiber, and healthy fats will keep you feeling full and satisfied. Aim for snacks with a mix of whole grains, protein, and produce. Some easy combinations:

  • Whole grain crackers, nut butter, and apple slices
  • Carrots and hummus
  • Greek yogurt with blueberries and almonds
  • Cottage cheese with avocado and tomato
  • Hard boiled egg and fruit smoothie

Syncing your snack schedule with your coworkers can also help. Coordinate with your work neighbors to take a healthy afternoon break together.

Avoid the Breakroom

The office kitchen can be a danger zone for unhealthy cravings. With its endless bowls of candy, cookies galore, and constant stock of sodas and chips, the breakroom is a dieter’s nightmare.

Avoid this area entirely or minimize the time you spend there. Don’t linger if you’re just getting water or tea. Bring your snacks back to enjoy at your workspace out of sight of temptation. Tell yourself the breakroom is off limits unless you’re heating up a planned meal.

If you must venture in, steer clear of the snacks and focus on socializing with coworkers instead of food.

Manage Stress Without Eating

Stress munching can sabotage even the most disciplined eater. When you’re facing a deadline or dealing with frustration, it’s easy to soothe yourself with cookies or candy. But while the sugar rush provides momentary comfort, it actually increases anxiety later on.

Be aware of your triggers for stress eating and have other relaxation techniques ready. Here are some healthy ways to decompress stress without food:

  • Take a quick walk and breathe deeply. Get outside if weather permits.
  • Listen to soothing music or a podcast during breaks.
  • Take an exercise break. Do some yoga stretches, jog in place, or bounce on a small trampoline.
  • Phone a friend or talk to a coworker about your concerns instead of bottling them up.
  • Seek emotional support from a mentor or supervisor and talk out work problems.
  • Keep stress relievers like a fidget spinner, stress ball, or adult coloring book on hand to distract yourself from eating.

Stay Distracted

Boredom is another trigger that can lead to mindless snacking at work. When your brain is idle, cravings seem louder. Stay focused and stimulated by structuring your day to minimize lulls.

  • Drink water, tea, or black coffee between tasks.
  • Schedule meetings and phone calls closer together to maintain momentum.
  • Stand up to take short, frequent breaks to walk around and clear your head.
  • Keep fidget toys like silly putty or fidget cubes on your desk to occupy idle hands.
  • Make a to-do list you can tackle when energy lags. Crossing off tasks creates a sense of achievement.
  • Organize and clean your workspace. File away clutter and dispose of any tempting treats.
  • Offer to run work errands like delivering mail to other departments.

Staying engrossed in your projects and moving your body regularly reduces the chance of boredom eating.

Plan Meals and Pre-Log Calories

You’ll make better eating decisions at work if you start the day with an eating strategy. Take 10 minutes each morning to plan and log your meals and snacks for the day ahead.

Pre-planning reduces the chance you’ll make impulsive choice when hunger hits or the afternoon slump occurs. You’ll also be less tempted by treats knowing you have nutritious (and delicious) food waiting that fits your goals.

Use a food journal app to log calories and protein intake in advance. This puts you in control, so as long as you stick to your plan, you can indulge in moderation without going overboard.

Meal prep part of your food on weekends too. Cook extra portions of healthy recipes and pack items like hard boiled eggs and cut veggies to grab and go each morning.

Allow Limited Treats

Forbidding all sweets or treats sets you up for failure when the office birthday cake comes around. Allow yourself small indulgences by planning for them.

Decide beforehand how many treats or splurges per week will satisfy you without sabotaging your progress. Then work them into your food plan.

If the office doughnuts call to you on Monday morning, enjoy one but balance it out by planning a light salad for lunch. Drink more water and increase exercise that day. Then avoid other treats the rest of the week. Or if happy hour with coworkers is a must, have a light meal beforehand so you don’t overdo it while out.

By planning for splurges and limiting spontaneous treats, you can indulge without going totally off track.

Lean on Coworker Support

Let those you eat meals with regularly know you’re trying to eat healthier. Coworkers who enable your goals are less likely to peer pressure you to join them in poor choices. Build a support squad at work to cheer on your willpower.

Better yet, recruit colleagues to join you in healthy habits. Arrange daily lunchtime walks together. Form a weekly running group to start mornings on a healthy note. Celebrate birthdays by bringing fruit or baked goods instead of calorie-dense cake.

Surrounding yourself with coworkers who prioritize health will influence you to make better choices at the office. Their support can make all the difference on difficult days when temptations abound.

While the workplace may seem rife with diet derailers, with some discipline and preparation, can helps in curbing cravings at Work. Stay mindful of unhealthy triggers and have solid strategies in place. Meet temptation with alternatives and accountability. With commitment to your health, your office environment can support, rather than thwart, your diet.

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