Valentine's Day: Not for Chocolate Lovers Over 40

Maryee Health Guide
  • Picture this: red streamers hanging down from the ceiling over a table covered with a red tablecloth and sprinkled intermittently with pink and red hearts; red heart shaped balloons, filled with helium, tied to the backs of each chair; a heart-shaped puffed pastry stuffed with vanilla cream and topped with sliced strawberries sits on the center of the table along side a tray of various dark and milk chocolate hearts.  It's a picture perfect setting for a Valentine's Day lunch at the office. Yet when the adults sit down at the table and the lunch is finished, no one dares to dig into the heart shaped sweets, all realizing the unavoidable outcome resulting from such indulgence --- weight gain!

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    And not many of us sitting around that table can afford to take that on, especially in the middle of February.


    The interesting thing is, as the sweets sat in the middle of the table untouched, the idea of a group supported weight loss effort became the topic of conversation. And among the eight people at the table, five immediately said they were down with the idea! Five out of eight want to (dare I say NEED to) lose some weight and get in shape (me among them). These days, that is reflective of the population at large. There are more people who are overweight or obese than there are in good shape. So for me, knowing I have not moved the scale in the direction I want this winter, I thought the additional support and being part of another effort to lose weight was good idea for me. Count me in!


    The other part to this for me is the reality of the working work, eating habits on the job and lunch time ethics. Like any office, the place where I work, on any given day has some kind of pastry (you know the kind - donuts! Cookies,etc.,) chocolates, candy or afternoon pick-me-ups and that sort of food - things that neither lead to a healthy heart or a healthy waistline. Then there's the actual work schedule. Working in a small office, always under the pressure of bringing in more clients - and more work --- but not more staff, means working throughout the day with no scheduled break. Lunch, if you don't bring leftovers from home, literally means "running downstairs to pick something up" which more often than not translates into a "quick" slice of pizza, burrito or burger.  Add to that that we sit at hour desks for hours at a time with the only "exercise" being walking from your workstation into the conference room only to sit for another hour or so.


    So since our "support group" came together, we have made some good (not great yet) strides. In the kitchen, the person who shops for the basic office supplies, has brought in fresh fruit and granola bars, a better pick me up in the middle of the day and just "seeing it in a bowl in the kitchen" makes it more likely I will eat it. We've also been helping each other select better lunch items - even if they are still taken out on the go. We're eating more chicken salads and sushi. And as important, we've taken time to get outside as often as we can to take a walk around the block or two. And it feels great to get out and move around a bit, help with digestion and even get the mind reset for the "afternoon shift."


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    Now, I won't say that by being part of the group I've lost tons of weight, but it has helped build in some consistency throughout my day. What I was attempting to do on my own, at home, was carrying over now to my entire day. It has helped me maintain my focus and be able to not lose sight of my end goal.

Published On: March 03, 2011