Eating and weight talk in the workplace
For the last year, my consulting practice has been concentrated more on consulting than counseling and so I've been spending a lot of time in office environments. As a counselor in private practice, I find myself somewhat isolated from the food landscape my clients are faced with. It's easier for me to make value-driven food choices in isolation. This year has thrust me into environments similar to those my clients work in and I've been getting quite a refresher course on eating at work.
Offices have coffee, snacks, lunch meetings, cake celebrations, catered food, wine, and soda. News of who is feeling fat, who is on a diet, who gained weight, and who is working out is discussed casually in the kitchen. There are office diet bets, competitions, and support groups for weight loss and fitness. None of these things are inherently bad but they all create constant noise around issues of health, weight, food, and fitness that can make it difficult to hear your own voice.
I made the great decision, months ago, to check out the website of Be Nourished. I've been following them online ever since. Founders, Hilary Kinavey, MS, LPC, and Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD, use their backgrounds in counseling and nutrition to help women develop a healthier relationship with food. (Yes guys I know that men also have these issues and I'll scout around for a resource for you too, if you write me!).
They offer a wide range of services including articles online, e-courses, workshops, professional training, individual counseling, and group therapy.
What I love about their approach (or how I interpret their approach, I should say) is that it's additive. It says, let's not take the pleasure out of food. Let's learn to enjoy food more. Let's learn to listen to our bodies, respect them, and care for them not by depriving ourselves but by enriching ourselves with good food. Let's not squash the negative talk about our bodies by shaming ourselves (for having shame) but instead, add in some positive words and maybe over time, those positive perspectives will take root. Feed your body with good food. Feed your soul with some more love. Practice radical self-care through daily practice.
In an office environment, so much of what people eat is based on what everyone else in the group is doing or around scheduled events loaded with expectations. Perhaps with some consultation, we can start to transform offices into more intuitive eating environments by encouraging mindfulness, breaks, by offering a variety of food choices, and by not recruiting others into our eating escapades.
Check out their site and let me know what you think!