Good-bye waistline, hello Open Enrollment – that’s how I felt at the start of the OE season.

If it isn’t difficult enough to try to lose a few pounds or maintain a healthy weight throughout the year, working in an office setting is ten times more challenging. Most of the time, however, I believe I do a good job making health-conscious decisions when it comes to meals and snacking. Purchasing healthy options at the grocery store is easy. It’s also not that tough for me to avoid the invite for sweets at the office; there is always a birthday or a reason to celebrate. But for the past month, I have been caving in to those dreadful OE carbohydrates.

Open Enrollment is our busiest time of year! My team told me these weeks/months will be chaotic, full of ups and downs, but we survive and come out shining in the end. The workload I can handle; the food, on the other hand, not so much.

During OE, we begin to experience stress, so our boss provides weekly bagels and pizza for comfort and happiness. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by pressure and anxiety, we relax and indulge in bagels and cream cheese. My favorite is the sesame seed bagel with honey almond cream cheese – yum! At least it is reduced fat, but that doesn’t stop me from loading more than the serving size on each half.

Every Tuesday, I tell myself, “You do not need to eat a bagel today, just stick with your yogurt for breakfast.” But when those carbs arrive, somehow I find myself rummaging through the bag looking for that sesame seed bagel. I do the same thing with pizza on Thursdays: “You don’t need pizza; you have this beautiful salad already prepared.”

I’m all about free food and appreciate my colleague’s generous offering every week, but enough is enough. I need to take back control!

There are a variety of ways to manage stress, like exercising or taking up a hobby. I know stress eating is not the best option (or the healthiest). But why do I continue to do it? Why do I cave in? There are many team members here that don’t even bat an eye at those carbs. It’s time for me to focus on helping myself. In the weeks ahead, I am going to work on maintaining my stress and well-being at work through:

Self control – Just because the food is free and sitting there, doesn’t mean I have to eat it. If I already ate breakfast and/or lunch, I don’t need to eat bagels.

Moderation – Allow myself to enjoy bagels or pizza once a month, as opposed to every week. If I forget breakfast or lunch one week, eat only a half a bagel or one slice of pizza.

Keeping busy – On those days where there is actually down time, a moment to relax, I should still occupy my time by finding new projects. If I keep moving, this will decrease my urge to eat.

Get up and move – Make it a priority to step away from my desk and go for a walk. Even if it’s just ten minutes to get outside and take a breather, it’s better than sitting all day.

Jaymi Crowding

Written by Jaymi Crowding

Trion Communications jaymi.crowding@trion-mma.com