• 10 months ago

    Work eating for sanity


    I saw that someone else had a similar post about snacking at work, and like them, I feel like this is something that is hard to find help for.

    I eat all day at work. I do it because it's the only way I can get through the day without murdering my co-workers. There's nothing wrong with them - they are perfectly nice people. There's nothing wrong with my job. Before I figured out what the problem was, I thought it was the job. So I changed jobs. Then I changed fields and changed jobs again. The root of the problem is that I detest/abhor/loathe with the passion of a thousand burning suns the act of actually coming to work and being at work. Again, I'm not lazy - I like working. I like the work I do. I really liked the work I was doing before. I just hate having to get dressed, dealing with traffic, sitting at a desk all day. For 15 years, I worked from home as a consultant and a mother, but then there was an issue with my marriage and I needed to go out and get a job with a 9 to 5 schedule with benefits. I have spent the last five years applying for other positions that would pay what I need and allow me to work from home. The best I've found is my current job, where we all work from home one day a week.

    When I worked at home, I never snacked during the day. I ate a healthy breakfast (a special shake that a nutritionist devised for me) a healthy lunch and a good dinner. I exercised throughout the day (I have a treadmill and I used to have a stationary bike, and there was a pool in my old apartment complex.) I would take calls, dictate memos, read emails while walking/cycling. I tried to keep that up when I switched to an office, but after my three most recent ab surgeries (more on those in a bit) my abdominal wall can't take the pressure of the leg motions of cycling. You never think about how much your abs are involved in that motion until doing it causes agony. I even tried one of those under-desk mini cycles, but still, no go. I got a note from my PT allowing me to get a treadmill desk, because they felt that walking is the only thing I can safely do (can't even do water walking any longer because of the abdominal pressure differential) but, because my office is inside a very old historic building the treadmill isn't feasible both because of potential damage to the uncarpeted hard wood floor, the floors' potential inability to support the weight, and the inability of the electrical system to handle the treadmill (we blow fuses in winter when more than one person on one side of the hall has a space heater on.) I tried forcing myself to get up and spend my lunch hour walking, but there are days when there was too much work, plus, I learned many years ago that much Iike the folks on The Biggest Loser, I needed to be active for 3+ hours a day to maintain (4+ for weight loss.) Spending my lunch walking wasn't nearly enough!

    But, back to snacks...I quickly realized that snacks helped me not spend time in the bathroom in tears, or come home in the evening and drink a bottle of wine. I tried to be good - I started with the idea of drinking water, or tea instead of snacking. That didn't work. I was making myself uncomfortably full because the liquid wasn't satisfying, so, I was still going to the vending machine and buying junk. Then, I decided to bring healthy snacks from home: cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, sugar free mints, melon, berries. But I have to be very careful about how many of those things I eat. I have a condition where the fascia in my abdomen is fragile and that causes recurrent abdominal hernias. One of the many surgeries I've had resulted in a resection and the anastomosis (spot where the two ends of intestines were rejoined) is thick. Too much plant fiber sends me to the hospital with bowel obstructions. The diet recommended for me to prevent bowel obstructions is starchy white carbs - because they're easily digested and leave little intestinal residue. I've tried to strike a balance between that and weight management needs though. The other issue with healthy snacks - they don't trigger the same feelings of calm that junk does. One thing that I do is take a single square of dark chocolate, smash it and then ration out the slivers. That helps a little. And Trader Joe's has some elote corn chips - very spicy, so I can only eat a few, but I still get that salty corn chippy comfort.

    I've tried modified Keto (bad gallbladder, so I have to limit fats, and I am allergic to eggs...) But in looking back over my weight, I've only successfully lost weight three times in my life - and all three times, I was exercising 4+ hours a day. (Even when I was in the hospital, receiving TPN through a PICC line because I couldn't eat for 22 days - I didn't lose weight!) Working from home, when I could be much more active and not snack, I was able to maintain my weight. But this daily office grind has me just packing on the pounds - the section of closet full of work clothes that don't fit any more keeps getting more and more full.

    I'd wanted to try a liquid program, like Medifast, but, no program would accept me. Because of my abdominal issues, I can't always exercise - if I'm having a bowel obstruction episode, or, I can feel a weak fascia spot, I have to take it easy for two or so weeks or risk an emergency repair surgery if I move too much and rupture the weak spot. Since I can't make the commitment to do the exercise component faithfully, and I can't eat in the way they want me to after the liquid phase they won't accept me. I have thought about trying to do it on my own, but, with my gallstones and high blood pressure, I feel like it would be much safe with medical supervision. There's also the issue of how on earth I'd get through the work days without snacks in my mouth to keep me sane. Because of my weak abdominal fascia and tendency for intestinal obstruction, something like lap band or orbera is also not possible.

    I don't know that anyone has any suggestions, I think I was just hoping that maybe there are others out there in a similar situation and we could support one another.