How to Stop Yourself From Eating Free Office Food
“Oh, maybe I’ll take just half…”
Food My coworkers often announce that they intend to eat “just half” of something. They usually make this pronouncement to no one in particular, while breaking off part of a cookie or bisecting a slice of cake.
Today, however, my colleague held up half a pumpernickel bagel, and started straight-up bagel-shaming herself to me. This was completely unprompted; I hadn’t even said “good morning” to her yet.
“I wasn’t going to have one this morning, but I caved,” she said, looking sheepish, like she’s expecting judgment.
I’ve noticed that my coworkers often justify their eating habits, especially around me. The truth is, I couldn’t care less what they eat, but I don’t love being seen as some Sheriff of Healthiness around the office. I do try to eat healthily, but that’s a choice I make for me, not to make them feel bad about themselves. Still, trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle in an office environment can be strangely difficult.
In my first job after college, I worked in an office that provided free bagels and spreads on Mondays and Fridays. My department even got bagels on Wednesdays too. My coworkers would always get excited whenever there was free pizza, cake, or doughnuts in the kitchen. And despite their regularity, the bagels prompted a super-positive response too. But personally, I dreaded all of it.
I mean, they may be tasty, but I think we can all agree that bagels aren’t considered part of a clean diet.
Having a healthy lifestyle has always been a priority for me. After college, I had this goal of looking like fitness guru Kayla Itsines. You know, of Sweat with Kayla? She of the most pristine abs ever? Yeah, that was my dream. Three years later, I’m glad to say that I’ve changed my focus to just being and feeling healthy, and I’m just trying to maintain my body instead of constantly trying to slim down.
Regardless of my goals, having access to free unhealthy food five days a week was (and still is) a huge obstacle in my life. In the beginning, especially, it was on my mind every single day when I went into work and faced what I call the paradox of free office food.
Free office food is widely viewed as a nice perk. One survey indicatesthat employees are much happier in the workplace when free snacks, coffee, and drinks are available; it’s well-known that all the hip tech companies offer free food to their employees; and younger job seekers are widely thought to factor in free food when searching for jobs… even if they’d really prefer a collaborative work environment and increased transparency.