In management consulting, we have this thing called a 3-4-5 – five days a week of work, four days a week that you’re traveling to client site, and three days a week that you’re home. Often that final (and fifth!) day of work is a day in the office for firm events! Both in consulting and most other professions, lots of these activities revolve around food, alcohol, and sitting on your butt all day. I can count so many times at the end of these I have felt over-full, a little too tipsy, and like I need to go run around in circles. And I can also count so many times that I started out at the beginning of one of these events and was like “TODAY I WILL ONLY EAT VEGETABLES” and therefore went totally off the wagon and felt bad about it afterwards.
However, it’s not like these work events can just be avoided…it is work, after all. So here are my tried-and-true, won’t-fail-you tips and tricks for how to stay healthy at an all-day work event.
1. Work out that morning.
It will start your day off on a healthy note and you’ll feel good if you are restrained to one room/area all day. Last Friday we had an all-day work event, and one of the activities was a SoulCycle class. Awesome, right?! You can use elliptical trainers as they are for aerobic workout, or if you are like me use treadmill at home.
2. Step away from the feeding frenzy.
Folks tend to congregate by food – whether it be the breakfast table or the happy hour snacks. Lead a group over to a different area where you can just enjoy one plate, and not feel the need to try everything that is right in front of you!
3. Take the stairs.
So easy! Go to the bathroom on a different floor so you can get some extra steps in.
4. Stand as much as possible.
When you’re done with lunch, stand up and mingle around. Opt for a high table at happy hour and stand as you sip your cocktails.
5. Know that most food they are serving you probably doesn’t fit into your “worth it” category.
Catered food is usually pretty average. I’m guessing that breakfast pastry is actually pretty meh. How about that multigrain bagel instead?
6. Modify your meals.
Just because that’s how they serve it, doesn’t mean that’s how you eat it! I’ve made hodge podge salads by taking the bread off of two or three sandwiches and mixing the vegetables and deli meats together. If I think there will likely be only breakfast pastries to start the day, I always come prepared with a protein bar.
7. Don’t follow the crowd.
Just because your usually super healthy coworker is downing those cookies, doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. Sometimes I’ll do the “well if she’s eating it, so will I!” even if I don’t really want to indulge.
8. Don’t limit everything.
I’ve done this before and it’s backfired. Your willpower goes down by the end of the day, so if you just eat some fruit for breakfast and pick around your sandwich for lunch, by the time they bring around that tray of treats you will be more likely to overindulge because you’ve just been saying “no, no, no” all day.
9. If it’s a boring event, focus on the networking and hanging out with your coworkers, not the food.
Sometimes these events are zzz-worthy, and the only thing that gets you through them is the thought of enjoying a large treats plate from the snack table during the lecture. Often filling yourself up with things that aren’t food – good conversation, laughs, sharing stories from this week’s work – is more satisfying than the snacks. And when you’re in a great mood, you’re less likely to look for a reason to boost your spirits through sugar!
10. Make fun dinner plans.
(Possibly with coworkers!) If you have an evening of dinner and drinks ahead of you, you’ll want to stay on track all day so you can enjoy your after-work parties.
11. You can’t have it all. But you shouldn’t restrict it all either.
This is one of my “a-ha!” moments that I learned. Enjoy a treat at lunch. Have the croissant for breakfast and then at lunchtime, avoid the chips and cookie in your lunchbox. It’s as simple as that. Allow yourself to enjoy some things, but likely if you indulge in everything your way you will be sugar crashing all over that corporate event and leave the day feeling crappy.
Working ladies out there – any of your favorite tips to add to the list?