Want to Lose Weight? Why you Shouldn’t Snack in the Workplace
Grazing. We do it in the office all the time. To alleviate stress, boredom or perhaps just not eating enough at breakfast or dinner. Either way, temptations are everywhere, whether it be due to the weekly offerings of treats and sweets brought back from fellow workers returning from overseas vacations or ‘City breaks’, the evil vending machine, or the variety of food outlets in the City trying to convince you to part ways with your precious money.
Snacking however is also a recipe for disaster if you are conscious about the size of your waistline, and here’s why:
When we eat, insulin is produced to break down glucose in the body. That glucose is converted into glycogen and if it is not used, then it is stored as fat. That fat tends to appear as visceral fat around the waistline. Sound familiar?
I mentioned that comfort eating in times of stress is a result of the body producing stress hormones, in particular for sweet or salty foods. So stuffing yourself full of chocolate and other savoury foods during the day will only add to the office ‘bottom line’. The wrong line if you know what I mean.
Take me as an example: I arrived back from Bali last year from teacher training with a ‘yoga body’. A month’s intensive yoga practice in hot sweaty conditions with a kick ass yoga teacher resulted in any spare fat being sequestered from my body. I was a new ‘me’.
It didn’t take long though: despite my good intentions, I found myself ‘grazing’, even justifying to myself that a ‘vegan chocolate cake’ was healthy and ok. Sadly, the cracks began to be appear in the veneer and the western habit of snacking in the office became part of my routine. Not to my surprise, the weight slowly started to come back and my core wasn’t so tight as it used to be. Shame.
The idea that we shouldn’t graze is really an opportunity for the body to rest and clean itself, a process known as autophagy. Literally, the body starts to consume itself, cleaning up old, damaged or diseased cells. The process of consuming such cells creates energy and acts as a source of fuel. Ever had that feeling of jumping out of bed after fasting or inadvertently skipping a meal? Think of it like compost. Consume your own waste to create fuel as a by-product. ‘Healthy’ cannibalism one could say.
The principles of intermittent fasting work on the same basis, although the consumption of food occurs during the day, as opposed to limiting the number of meals consumed.
Likewise Ayurveda, the sister science of Yoga also recommends eating only 3 meals a day to preserve our ‘tejas’ or fire. Indeed, we should be reserving our largest meals for the middle of the day when our digestive juices are at its most potent. Large meals when the body is getting ready to wind down doesn’t really stack up, especially as we have circadian rhythms that dictate when we rise and fall. The infinite intelligence of the body knows better than that. As we have previously learnt, between 10 – 2am is when the body starts to ‘clean’ itself.
In short then, regular snacking is a disaster for the body and your waistline. Each day in the office can be a challenge, and I’m not always perfect I have to admit. Sometimes it is ok just to ‘let go’ just a little, but the regular consumption of sugary snacks is bound to have its consequences.
For me, I have found peppermint tea as a useful means of quenching any hunger in the body. Dowse the raging urges with some soothing mint tea and your body will quickly reset itself to focus on whatever it should be doing, rather than nonchalantly fretting over how it should feed itself.