Making it through meetings unscathed

If you’re still among the working population, sooner or later you’re going to find yourself in a meeting about an upcoming project, or even, a meeting about an upcoming meeting!  If it’s just a preliminary meeting about the meeting, you may not have any challenges, but what about when it’s a scheduled monthly/weekly meeting and there is food served that could potentially wreak havoc on your healthy lifestyle?  Here are some ways to endure the temptations right in front of your face or nose.

  • Rather than temptation, consider it practice.  Chances are you’ve told yourself, “Oh no, there are donuts, and cream-filled ones too – my absolute favorite!”  Thoughts like that make it harder to resist your favorite indulgences.  Instead, ask yourself some questions – how long has it been since you’ve had a donut/croissant/pastry?  How will you feel after you’ve eaten it?  If the answers to those make you determined to avoid them, then change your thought process.  “I don’t need to eat that today.  But it will be good PRACTICE for me to face my fears and avoid indulging.”  Skills need to be practiced.
  • Sit back a ways from the table.  Over-reaching is both awkward and uncomfortable.  This may be just enough to convince you not to grab for something you don’t want or need.
  • Have water, coffee, or, at the very least, a pen in your hand. Sometimes it’s not hunger that drives you to eat, but needing to keep your hands busy.  Fiddling with a cup of water or a pen can help distract you.
  • Sit at the front of the meeting, closest to the speaker.  I find when I attend a meeting when I’m tempted to get bored or distracted, yet it’s a meeting I *must* attend, sitting at the front, nearest the speaker, helps keep me focused and attentive.  It also means the speaker can see me well too, and the last thing I want is to take a chance on a piece of food or powder from the donuts being on my face and looking like an idiot.
  • Eat a healthy snack before the meeting.  Have a good breakfast with a protein and complex carb (think eggs with whole grain bread) if it’s a morning meeting.  That’s a good deterrent to having your stomach start growling while you’re practicing facing the snack table.  If it’s an afternoon meeting, a large salad with grilled chicken and a light oil and vinegar dressing will help fill you up and keep the afternoon drowsiness at bay.  Evening dinner meeting?  Carefully look over the menu prior and have your choices in mind.  If no menu is available, then a portion of almonds and some carrot sticks, sliced peppers or other finger-food veggie should help keep you from arriving starving.  Avoid alcohol at evening meetings too – not only is driving home a concern, but alcohol will lower your resistance and cause you to make less than healthy choices.
  • Lastly, and what we all strive to do, avoid the meeting!  Make sure your attendance is actually required. In fact, if you can, avoid ALL the meetings!

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