Weight Loss Support - Feeling like a Freak At Work

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04-04-2008, 12:21 PM
So, most of my co workers know that I've dropped a bit of weight over the last three years, and that I'm struggling to drop some more. And they've been very supportive. I don't have any real horror stories to tell about insensitive harpies trying to sabatoge me.

But tonight there was a little thing. One of the managers had been there 35 years, and there was cake to celebrate. I knew this before it was served, and I had decided not to eat any. I love cake, but it just wasn't worth the extra calories to me. So, when the time came, I remained seated. Everyone else got up and got some (we were at a meeting, so were all sitting together). Everyone noted that I wasn't having any, and there was some light pursuasion attempts ("C'mon, Annie, one little piece won't hurt anything.")

I didn't take it personally, wasn't angry, and wasn't tempted to change my mind. But I just felt really out of place, like I was being I dunno, just weird.

I'm not changing my lifestyle or plan or anything like that. But I wish there were a way I could feel like I was being a normal person when all the normal people are eating cake!

04-04-2008, 12:28 PM
Argh! I feel your pain!! What I don't understand is (and beware I'm not going to be able to offer much help just company) why everyone at work thinks it is their business what we eat or don't eat??!!

If I saw an overweight person at work wolfing down a McDonald's value meal (which I do every other day) I don't make it my business to tell her she really should lay off the McFries!!! So then why is it okay to tell a person on a diet that they should cram the cake? I don't get it?

Sorry for the rant. But people shouldn't be made to feel like freaks at work just because they're trying to be healthy in peace.

(I realize your coworkers aren't as bad as mine, but mine are REALLY BAD)

traveling michele
04-04-2008, 12:34 PM
My workplace is full of dieting pitfalls!

I have just learned to avoid all of it. I don't even look at what is in our break room to tempt myself.

I didn't realize how much my co-workers watched what I eat (since I've lost weight) until they started asking me about particular items I'm eating, how many points they are, what the nutritional content is, etc. I know I've been motivating to my co-workers as several have joined WW since I've joined and others are contemplating it. So even though I've lost weight for myself primarily, I feel I am a good role model to my co-workers and my family and that is important to me as well.

Stay strong!

04-04-2008, 12:39 PM
I know what you mean. It's hard in public situations to be the one person doing something different. For any reason (not just weight or health related). I think that we often feel more out of place than we really are, though. Were I someone in your office, I'd have been offering the cake so that everyone felt comfortable to have some... but if you declined it wouldn't make you any less a part of the group :)

04-04-2008, 01:04 PM
Well, if you're weird, I'm weird, and we are all weird.

I sense a book: 3 Fat Chicks, Cause We're All Weird Together!


04-04-2008, 01:16 PM
There are people with food allergies or other health concerns such as diabetes or, hard as it is to believe , people who don't like sweets.These people do not feel the need to explain why they don't want something. I think we apply a guilt trip to ourselves when we feel the need to explain or apologize that we don't want a piece of cake. Just say "no thanks " or "not today " and move on.

Mrs Snark
04-04-2008, 01:21 PM
It just goes to show you how strong the urge to "normalize" is in people. Everyone wants their behavior validated as Normal and Correct, so when even one person doesn't go with the flow in a group dynamic it is noticed and that person is coaxed (or coerced sometimes) into changing their behavior to match the group's.

Good for you for resisting!

04-04-2008, 01:26 PM
Why don't you say something alongt he lines of "I actually have a weird thing about icing. The texture bothers me. Funny, eh?" Or "I actually really don't like chocolate."

It's not honest, but maybe they'd believe you?

I know I tend to insist people eat because it's a cultural thing, but eating is always seen as a way of showing you're having fun. Maybe in these situations we also need to find new ways to show others that we're having a good time, and that we don't need cake.

04-04-2008, 01:39 PM
I have a new favorite quote...

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society" - Krishnamurti

That not eating processed junk whenever it is offered to you makes you feel weird is an indicator of the above...and I try to remember it whenever I feel that sort of group pressure.

04-04-2008, 01:44 PM
What a terrific, and sad, quote!

As our culture gets more and more unhealthy, those of us who buck that trend and make different choices will become the odd ones out.

There will be a new "normal" and we are not it.

Methinks our culture is in deep doo-doo (as my son would say).

04-04-2008, 01:48 PM
Well, I'm glad that there are people around here that know what I'm going through. I've been very open about my weight issues, and everyone there knows that I've been struggling for a while (I work in a factory, 3rd shift. We all know each other fairly well). No one was twisting my arm. There was no need to lie (and they've seen me eat stuff like this in the past, so it would have been pointless anyways). I think Josephine hit the nail on the head with the group dynamic observation.

It was a little depressing. I really didn't want the cake that badly, I can make baked treats myself that are lower caloried and I can eat hot and that I know I'd like eating much more. But I didn't want to be the only one not having any. I guess that I'm a pack animal on some level.

04-04-2008, 01:55 PM
The French way is to have a few bites then not eat more. I've been doing that lately. Savoring the taste if it's something I really like. But anymore I'm mostly turned off to cake and sweets having worked at losing weight. If I'm going to splurge it's pizza and a big juicy burger. Those SIN calories are at least gonna be my favorite foods.

04-04-2008, 07:06 PM
Asking "why" it isn't different unfortunately doesn't get anywhere.

Here's the deal: You get up, you get a piece of cake, and you take it back to your table. Maybe you even act like you're eating it. Maybe you even cut it up with your fork. Maybe you take a bite--or not! And then--you leave it. There is no such thing as "wasting cake"!

If you look around, you'll see that other people do this as well--because they just don't like the cake!

When I gave up alcohol, I had to find ways to deal with parties. I found that if you have a drink in your hand, no one cares what's in the glass. It's just part of being social. (Of course, I can't pick up an alcoholic drink and just take a sip--so it's always a soft drink.)

mandalinn82, :love: Krishnamurti


04-04-2008, 07:59 PM
Heh, actually having a piece of cake in my hand would be too tough for me - I don't think I'm strong enough to push chocolately gooey cake around with my fork and not eat it!

I just say no thank you and keep repeating it with a smile.

I did have the cutest thing happen at a work birthday party though - a coworker handed me a little package of blueberries bought JUST FOR ME and said, "this is for you instead of cake!"

04-04-2008, 10:50 PM
UGH! I'm going through the same thing RIGHT NOW with my work... so I've been working hard at losing and have lost 30 pounds since I started at my job 5 months ago... no one has commented on my loss yet though...

Well, I'm NOT going to ruin my plan just to make other people happy.

Next week we have firearms training (I'm a probation officer) and the gun range is out in the boonies. There are no restaurants nearby and we have a working lunch on the range since we're required to get the full amount of training hours in one week.

So we were told that traditiionally, the training groups will pool money and buy and cook big lunches every day (hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, etc etc etc) and I'm SORRY but I do NOT eat big lunches... it just does NOT work for me b/c I'm STARVING by the time dinner comes at the end of the night. I eat my little packed lunch and I'm fine...

I'm so worried that I will look like a WEIRDO in front of all my new coworkers b/c I (1) won't pool my money and help them lower the cost per person (2) will be eating my stupid fruits and veggies while they're chowing down on burgers and steaks. Hey, I'd LOVE to do it... but I'm just NOT going to, dammit!!!!

How am I supposed to not feel like a freak? ugh... I'm dreading it.

Someone else on here on another post said something like "why is it if I tell someone I have diabetes, they don't force food on me. But if I tell someone I'm on a diet, they think I can make special exceptions not to hurt anyone's feelings????"

That's totally how I feel. I'm planning on just telling them, "Sorry guys--- I'm on a restricted diet--- Dr's orders"... and if anyone presses, I'll act all offended and say, "no offense, but that's kinda personal don't you think?"

(Oh, and Jay---- I don't really drink and never really have--- just don't like the taste and spending the money on it--- yet god forbid I be a 20-something who doesn't drink!!! So I always get a diet 7 up and put a stir stick in it--- if people ask, I lie and say it's a vodka tonic. :)

04-04-2008, 11:25 PM
Totally understand this one! Either people don't understand because they do not have food triggers or weight problems, or they know the cake is bad and they don't want to eat it alone, lol.

GOOD FOR YOU! :carrot::cb::broc:

04-05-2008, 02:23 AM
It seems like they are implying that you are selfish for doing something good for yourself. Sucks.

04-05-2008, 04:48 AM
I have some of these same issues at work as well.

I work in a classroom with two other wonderful ladies (thin ladies)........I am counting calories and eat 3 meals plus 3 snacks a day.....I will bring lunch in and each day they comment on something I'm eating.........now mind you they do encourage me and are very supportive of my weight loss ..........but there are times!!! LOL specially when they break out the chocolate or cookies and start snacking and offer me one......I say no.....they say oh one wont hurt you.....I usually say something on the lines of....

I would rather not waste "X" amount of calories on one small piece of that.........When I could have an apple or orange.....or something of comparable calorie value....and be fuller longer.

04-05-2008, 05:21 AM
With some exceptions, I think people are just trying to be social and making sure no one is left out. At the end of the day, no one but the one who declined the treat is thinking about the fact that someone didn't eat a piece of cake or a cookie. After you refuse treats repeatedly, someone may remember. Or even plan something better for you as in Glory's situation.

04-05-2008, 08:39 AM
The worse is when there is another overweight person trying to shove food in your face. Well that's what happened to me last week. A coworker brought in ice cream cake and I love ice cream cake, but I'm really trying to make life changes now so I passed. And someone else gets a spoonful of the icing and puts it less than two inches from my mouth and tells me oh it won't kill you. Rude for starters. But if you looked at both of us, you'd be like hey it might. This isn't just about looking good, it's about being healthy too. I've had enough of that clogging up my system.
And yes I did pass on the spoonful of icing too.

04-05-2008, 10:49 AM
At work, our meetings are based around food. For instance, we have a monthly manager's meeting. Each manager rotates as the lunch providing person. They make lasagna, etc, salad (which is good), and then at least 2 types of desserts, sometimes candy. Now I don't eat sugar or white flour and struggle with compulsive overeating. They end up passing the candy and deserts around the table. I bring my own sandwich (whole wheat with sliced turkey and a piece of cheese and Nayonaise [soy mayo]) every month because there is usually white flour products.

Of course, next month is my turn to bring lunch--just great.

And that's just one of our monthly meetings. Food is very important to everyone. Of course, they pass all the junk food around the table.

Even my friends & family want to go out to eat. I don't want to. Jeez, and I thought things revolved around alcohol (I'm a recovering alcoholic too).

I feel good eating well, not eating sugar or flour, but I'm still uncomfortable around a lot of food sometimes. My mental programming when I go to a restaurant is to get a big fattening meal, not a salad, so why go? Because at work, they'll want to do Chinese for lunch, etc.

Sorry for the long rant. It's just nice that other people understand.


04-05-2008, 12:12 PM
The worse is when there is another overweight person trying to shove food in your face.
Oh, that's definitely a case of someone wanting to "spread the guilt around" - that person knew it was bad and was self-conscious about being "the overweight person who always eats the bad stuff" and wanted to bring you down with him/her. Congrats for passing on that spoonful of icing. Hopefully you made that person think about his/her own situation a little...

04-05-2008, 11:05 PM
Hey folks... I'm new on this and was just browsing the posts and noticed this one. I used to work in an office setting and I would get ridiculed when I brought in a HUGE salad while everyone else ate crap. "Wow! So nice of you to bring salad for everyone!" I swear, someone would say something at least once a day. Meanwhile, they're mowing down on something that probably had the caloric content of 5 times my salad. I like to eat a lot so I believe in the theory of volumetrics.

I actually believe it's because people are insecure about what they're eating so they need to make themselves feel better and less guilty for making fun of others for doing the right thing. It is SO frustrating though and you're not alone at all.

04-06-2008, 07:23 AM
LadyLex, :wel3fc:


04-06-2008, 07:32 AM
"normal" only has to be for the individual in my opinion - Tealeaf, you are not a freak, you are normal for you. This is what you do. You don't want the cake, you don't take the cake. I think we must have some kind of cake or treat every single day at my office (oh AND I work for Starbucks, so temptation is only a few steps away in our store) and there had to come a time where I just said "no" and then stick to my guns.

There will be people who don't understand or who say "come on, it won't hurt you" but ultimately they have NO IDEA how much this can hurt us.

What I do for birthdays and such is go down with my colleagues to get cake... but then I just hang back, stand around or move around from colleague to colleague having a chat. That way it looks like I'm going along with everyone else, but I have the added bonus of not having to consume something I really don't want :) Maybe you could try something like that next time you are in that situation?

By the way I bring a HUGE amount of food/containers to work every day. There is always someone who says "Are you going to eat all THAT???" I say "no one ever gained weight from a huge mixed greens salad" and then move on. Some people just don't understand, that's all.

04-06-2008, 07:51 AM
It's diffecult to please everyone, including your self sometimes...

But, I'm sure at the end of the day you were happy that you were strong and did the right thing. And I'n sure they were happy to see you strong will...

But to avoid such situations-mybe ina different place-, I've seen a few of my family who are wieght obssed take the piece of cake or food on to their plate, play with it, so it seems touched...

04-06-2008, 04:33 PM
Tealeaf, good for you for sticking to your guns! I understand what you mean about feeling like the event is revolving around food, and you're not fully taking part unless you're eating. It's hard, because we are social animals, and we want to share in the event/celebration.

At my old job, where we had monthly birthday parties, I suggested that we have a healthier option as well as the cake. This was after I noticed that five or six people (including me) were turning down the cake altogether. I left that job shortly after, so I don't know if anything ever came of it, but it didn't hurt to ask.


04-06-2008, 04:46 PM
I am such a food addict -- I could not dream of taking a piece and "playing" with it -- the gravitational pull to my mouth would be just too great!!

I'm amazed at the food pushers -- you wouldn't make an alcoholic feel bad about not having a drink, why should I feel guilty about not eating cake? For some reason, it makes us anti-social!!

I have a problem too with passing up food -- because I am still VERY overweight, I fear it draws attention to me -- either that they don't believe I'm trying/will ever lose weight or that for some reason I have to explain myself.

Every opportunity you have to pass on the "extras" while there are food pushers involved makes you a stronger person and puts you that much closer to your goal. "They" will always be there, but you have to live with yourself and the choices you make - why shouldn't these choices be in your best interest and not necessarily what makes you fit in. You will win in the long run.

04-06-2008, 09:53 PM
my work is the same way. I usually give in and have a peice. I don't think they are trying to sabatoge me or anything, but I sure do wish they didn't bring it around. *sigh* Sometimes I gotta get better at.

04-07-2008, 12:01 AM
I don't see myself ever taking a a plate of food that I didn't want just for show. I'm kinda stubborn. If I don't want to eat that cake/cookie/whatever, I'm simply not going to take it regardless of what anyone says or thinks about me. This might be in part because I know that if I have it in my grubby little hands, I will be much more likely to eat some.

Doesn't mean that I didn't feel really out of place while all this was going on. There's only about 8 of us on the 3rd shift in my department, and it was very, very obvious that everyone noted that I wasn't partaking. Like I said, I'm not mad at them because I do think that was just simple human nature. But it was tough. I'm glad so many of you here understand what I was feeling!

04-07-2008, 01:16 AM
I now tell people that I feel sick if I eat junk, sugar, processed food, they think I'm weird, but :coach: TOO BAD!!!! It IS an allergic reaction to junk food ....

04-07-2008, 02:28 AM
We have excess desserts often at my workplace too. Sometimes it is hard to pass up a giant cake staring me in the face, especially the gourmet cakes from some of the nicer bakeries. If someone else is doing the slicing, I usually say "thanks, but I'd like to cut my own slice" and proceed to take a small sliver. When there are mega muffins and donuts galore, I get a plastic knife out of my drawer and cut a tiny piece for a little taste. When I look 10 minutes later, someone else has used the knife to cut themselves a small piece as well. I am also in charge of lunch ordering for several department meetings so luckily I am control of ordering some healthy options (salads & vegetables) in addition to the calorie-rich meaty stuff the guys in the group seem to love.

04-07-2008, 12:20 PM
Everybody has their likes, dislikes or things they choose not to have. I don't drink alcohol or coffee...which you think is like a Ripley's oddity to some people. But I simply have no taste for them. There's things I dislike that I won't eat that most people wouldn't think twice about (like Chinese food or seafood). My Italian family members are surprised when I tell them I don't drink wine, like how can you be Italian and not? But I learned a long time ago not to consume anything if I really dislike it (like the two times I tried a little Chinese food and upchucked both times).

I don't know if anybody saw The Biggest Loser last week but they basically forced an oyster down Kelly's throat when she didn't want it and she was gagging afterwards, she was so repulsed by it. She was nicer about it than I would have been. I would have been like "Are you people deaf??? I said NO and I mean NO!!!" :mad: