Eating Habits in the Workplace: 3 Arenas of Influence

The workplace is a unique place. We spend quite a lot of time there. It is the source of our livelihoods, and as such should contribute to a healthy and happy life.

To be a productive in our employment, we need to have the energy to complete our tasks to the best of our abilities. To get that energy, we need to maintain healthy eating habits throughout the workday. The structure of our working environment can have a significant impact on our eating habits in our physical work environment, our daily work schedule, and food availability.

Work Environment: What does your workplace look like? 
Do you work in an office building or in a manufacturing plant?  Are there vending machines or water fountains? Do you have access to a coffee maker, a refrigerator, a microwave, a toaster oven? Is there a break room? Or a cafeteria? Is there outdoor seating? Are these things areas provided by your company? Are they shared among businesses and/or departments in the same building?
Work Schedule: How does your workday flow? 
Do you have scheduled breaks or lunch times? Are you able to snack throughout the day? Do you bring your lunch or purchase what is available? If you stay at the office for lunch, how often do you eat at your workstation, if permissible? How often do you go out to lunch? Or get to leave the office on a coffee run? Do you work longer shifts less days a week or shorter shifts more days a week? Do you work swing shifts or night shifts? Do you work overtime? How often?
Food freebies. What food is available?
Does the office regularly provide like coffee and tea with creamers and sweeteners, or snacks and sodas for the employees? Do your colleagues bring something to share, like some homemade dessert or refilling the candy bowl on their desk? Do your colleagues bring or sell treats on behalf of their child’s school fundraiser? In routine meetings is there food available? Does your office sponsor events or trainings that are regularly catered?
Does any of this sound familiar? For as much as your work and your workplace is part of your life, it can profoundly impact your eating habits.

Whether you are trying to maintain your good eating habits or you are working with weight loss specialists to develop a daily regimen, it is important to factor in aspects of your work environment into your plan.

You will need to ask yourself what you do or do not have control over, and how to manage your work situation and your eating habits.

For example, some people may be able eat at their workstation depending on the nature of the work. Having healthy snacks may work in their eating routine. Having access to a refrigerator and/or microwave means that you can bring a greater variety of options for healthy lunch and snack alternatives.
What about at other times? Do you make healthy choices for yourself like when you buy your lunch, select something from the vending machine, walk by your colleague’s candy dish, choose the healthier options from catered office events?

If you are working to adapt, you could always as your colleagues to be supportive of your weight loss goals, or even petition your employer to provide healthier options and spearhead a movement to create a company wellness program.

As you navigate your workplace environment and work schedule, let the experts at the Metabolic Medical Centers help you make healthy food choices.

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