A friend of mine just texted me to let me know her pants are fitting better; this is on top of the 15 lbs she’s dropped since leaving an office work environment.
I couldn’t help but smile since I’d experienced the same thing since I was laid off…less stress, more ease in making good food choices and of course, weight loss. After watching the changes in both her and myself, I’m pretty firmly cemented in my belief that offices are more of a drain on people’s physical health than most of us want to admit.
I look back on my office days from the outside and it’s scary how much of a relief a trip to Chili’s (I don’t even like Chili’s!) could be. A slice of pizza could erase the stress of a bad call and a Publix sub? Those things were silver bullets (especially with some McDonald’s sweet tea on the side.)
Don’t get me wrong, we were a health conscious office — nobody drank coffee. I took 5 stretch breaks a day to do yoga. We walked on breaks and kept the fridge stocked with fruits and green snacks. Still, will power can only do so much in the face of a toxic office environment and, well, we all ended up carrying extra weight, mostly from emotional eating.
Until recently, I’d forgotten the feeling.
I’ve had some stress pop up in my life (around something I really don’t want to do) and let me tell you, it all came flooding back. In the face of over a year of centering plants in my diet, improving my snacks, and drinking more water, I found myself with SERIOUS cravings. I left Target yesterday and somehow a box of Cocoa Krispies, a pint of Talenti, and some churros had jumped in my cart. Let me tell you…these are things I do not eat regularly (OK, I do eat about one Talenti a month) but all of a sudden found myself craving them…bad. It went beyond that though. Instead of chicken breast for lunch I opted for the (very rich) blue crab tarts I’d gotten as a gift. Even my morning green smoothie that’s usually a mix of carrot juice and greens turned into bananas, spinach, whole milk, sugar, and vanilla.
That smoothie is when it hit me. This is how my particular brand of emotional eating works.
I don’t just eat when I’m sad, confused, stressed, or lonely. Food is fun to me, so when I feel like I’m being forced to do something I strongly dislike, I run to food as something I genuinely enjoy. When I was employed, I felt that the bulk of my existence was something I was compelled to do against my will. I felt that way for over 10 years, and my body showed it.
Just the other day, an acquaintance noticed I’d slimmed down and asked what I was doing. I told him something along the lines of a recent focus on cleaning toxic people and experiences out of my life. He laughed and made a comment about getting rid of a man in my life.
It’s funny that people default to thinking a romantic relationship the most stressful thing in your life. For me, it’s almost always been a job.