Weight Loss Support - Need to vent about free food!!

View Full Version : Need to vent about free food!!

04-11-2005, 12:41 PM
There are two things that drive me crazy about being a grad student. Okay, three. First is that I type so much my wrists hurt (I have chronic tendonitis). Second is that I sit in a chair in front of the computer all day, so I barely burn any calories at work. Third is that there is SO MUCH FREE FOOD. Argh!

I swear, ever single special event has free food. I know it's because they don't pay us very much, so we can use all the free stuff we can get, and because more people come to events if they get food. But it's gotten to the point where I am skipping talks and lectures I really want to hear, because I know I will not be able to resist the free food if I go. I went to hear someone's thesis defense the other day, and I ended up eating a huge piece of cake. I went to a talk by Google about job opportunities, and gorged myself on Indian food. A professor is going to have a discussion session to talk about what it's like to work in industrial research and development, and I really want to hear it, but they are going to have pizza and I just know I will eat some of it.

If I'm on my own, I can eat healthy, no problem. I watch my calories, and I'm fine. But if food is placed in front of me, I just can't help myself. I will eat and eat until I am stuffed, because all of a sudden I think "Pizza! I haven't had pizza in months, I'd better pack it all in while I've got the chance and it's free!" I just can't turn it down. If it was just occasionally, like, maybe once every couple months, that would be okay, and I could just eat a little bit. But the fact is that they have free food events multiple times each WEEK! Like three or four times a week! It's crazy! I can't control myself when there is free food in front of me.

Whew, I really needed to vent about that. Do any of you have this same problem? For that matter, are there any other grad students on this forum? I'm getting more and more tempted to quit this field (computer science) entirely for the sake of my health.

04-11-2005, 12:54 PM
I am not a grad student, nor a member of this particular forum, but as a former Welfare kid, I can tell you: free food is the hardest to pass up, for me. My best defense is to pack a piece of (or canned in it's own juice) fruit & another snack (bagel, granola bar, lowfat string cheese, V8 juice, unsalted nuts,etc) and a can of seltzer. I eat a small portion of the free stuff, then stick to what I've packed. But it's much easier said than done. Good luck! :)

04-11-2005, 01:18 PM
how frustrating! we have that problem at work as well - in fact, there are people who will crash meetings simply to get at the food [and trust me, the only ones who do that are the ones who are making big bucks! go figure!]

as always, SAPF has great ideas...

seems to me that you have a lot of things to consider in these choices: like, why overeat just because it's free? a portion isn't a bad thing. it's the over-age that seems to be the issue.

and let's just add in the stress factor that you have, and the fact that you're stuck in front of a computer all day long.

maybe a brief walk before these events, with a soothing cup of tea or <Decaf> coffee, or some other beverage would help.

and then when you're faced with the food [and let's face it, you're probably hungry at that point!], fix yourself ONE plate - and go sit FAR FAR AWAY from the food. and clutch a bottle of water or tea or soda or whatever for dear life after you're finished eating.

good luck!!!

04-12-2005, 03:36 PM
that is my biggest problem in my weight loss journey. I work with Middle School and High School kids and we are constantly feeding them. Snacks every day which, I have gotten good at passing on. But when we are with them all day we have to eat luch with them and some times dinner and all they ever give them is Pizza. I have no chance to go out and get a salad and I promise my self I'm only going to eat one slice but that never seems to happen. Then when we have staff meetings, there is always so much food. Like they are feeding four times the amount of people. And don't forget the openings and lectures those events are catered. I ussually pray they will have stuff I won't like other wise I jsut seem to lose control.
I think a lot of it for me is that its my only option, I'm stuck in the building and with the students and I have to eat so I figure hey I'm already eating bad might as well eat extra bad. This is something I am constantly reevaluating and trying to figure out an escape route. When I do I'll let you know. Just give me any ideas you come up with!

04-12-2005, 03:43 PM
I have this problem too, I work in a call centre (in fact am here now) sit on my big butt all day, and we get food as treats (like throwing fish at seal to make them perform!!!!) and it's all unhealthy. Like SAPF I have emergency food at all times, so that at least I don't feel quite as deprived. If you really have to eat something rotten, have one bit, fill yourself up on your salad sandwich or whatever, and then say ok if I am still hungry I will have one piece of pizza or whatever, that works for me. If I go for the flat out avoidance strategy, I stress out and end up eating more!!!

Best of luck with it and we're always here to help on another!

04-12-2005, 04:04 PM
Thanks for your advice! I will try to make sure I eat before going to events with free food . . . I do have the bad habit though that if it is something tasty (especially cake or cookies), I will eat it even if I am full! I know that this is something I need to work on, but it's really hard to resist the temptation to eat eat eat when that little voice says "it will taste soooo good!"

04-12-2005, 05:12 PM
I work for a department in a large medical complex/university and there is CONSTANT buffets sponsored by pharm. reps. You can eat something different on every floor....

I'm also in charge of planning medical student lunches....of course we have to go with what is inexpensive, but i asked the pizza caterer to do only thin crusts and use skim mozz. cheese.....i order veggie toppings and salad to go with, for desserts I order fruit trays....it meets with most people's approval to have a fresh alternative to the processed stuff....it's by no means weight-watcher, but not as "bad" for me. Exercising control for means giving the food away after I have a reasonable portion.

04-13-2005, 05:40 AM
Paperclippy - Most processed food has transfats (hydrogenated fats) in it and they are very, very bad. They do horrible things to the body. So, when I'm faced with food at events, I tell myself that I DO NOT EAT TRANSFATS. I reframe the food as POISON (thanks, Ilene) or as VERY UNHEALTHY INDEED. This sometimes works for me. In fact, more often than not it works for me.

Good luck.

Kykaree - I can't make out your employer at all! Doesn't it provide a gymn? So what's it doing giving you food as so-called treats? That doesn't add up to me.

04-13-2005, 11:06 AM
hey we had a free food night last night. it was hard... we had pizza first for the high schol kids so I had 2 slices of cheese only, no extra peperoni or sausage like the kids l ike. then after the lecture it was the buffet of finger food. you know what i did though, I skiped the food line and they had some wine so I just sipped my glass of wine the whole time. Probably not the best thing but it kept me from visiting the food line 10 times!

04-14-2005, 12:03 AM
Drinks tons of water! Before and during the event and don't use the bathroom until the end. that way you'll feel full and instead of staying and snacking you'll have to run to the bathroom afterwards! (j/k)
Goodluck, I say go to the lecture or whatever it is. Education is important. You could up your excerise that day or next day and give in to just on piece or bring your own thing to snack on. I wish I didn't give up on school. It's so much harder to get back in than it would have been to finish it. Who provides the food? Maybe if you talk to them they would provide healthier food too. (they might want something from you like help setting it up or something though)

04-16-2005, 11:41 PM
Oh boy can I relate to this topic!!
I work in a doctors office and EVERYDAY we get free lunch from drug companys. AND on top of it they bring in cookies and cakes and you name it!!! Ive been at my office for 3 years and I try to ask some of them to bring fruit!!! but I work with a bunch of skinny minis so they usually want the cookies and cakes..it's horrible!!! I have somewhat good will power but it doesnt help when your whole office is stuffing their faces with the yummy treats and at the same time saying.."OH MY GOD these are soooo good!"...AHHHHHHHHH!!!! and they wonder why I get pissy sometimes!!...hehe

04-17-2005, 10:48 AM
Kykaree - I can't make out your employer at all! Doesn't it provide a gymn? So what's it doing giving you food as so-called treats? That doesn't add up to me.

Thank you silverbirch!!! I can't make head nor tail out of my employer either!!! I have ranted at our department head before now, saying that it is completely ridiculous, to provide us with a gym but to motivate us with food. I think part of it is that the gym is provided by the company, but the department manager buys us food, without thinking of the big picture. I work for a health insurer!!!! Who buys us chips, cakes and biscuits - it's enough to make you bang your head against the wall!!!!

Last time though, they did get a selection of fruit as well as the bad stuff, so perhaps my ranting is doing some good!!!

04-17-2005, 11:41 AM
Oh, can I relate! I work two part-time jobs for two different school departments as the Free/Reduced Meal Program Coordinator. Oh, and that job falls under the Food Service Department. Both of my offices are, literally, in the kitchens! Now talk about unhealthy choices! Oh, I could eat a salad . . . EVERY SINGLE DAY (NOT!). How about smelling dishes like home-made mac & cheese, fresh pizza, turkey swimming in gravy with gobs of mashed potatoes, fresh-baked chocolate chips cookies & right-from-the-fryer French fries & onion rings every day you go to work?!? Is it any wonder that I put back on 12 of the 45 pounds I was so proud to lose?

My new plan of attack? BRING MY OWN FOOD & supplement it with salads & hot veggies (they do serve steamed broccoli every now & then). The up side of it is that they do serve beverages like regular & flavored water (no cal/no carb) and Tropicana's Lite Lemonade (only 5 NC for the entire bottle). So I don't have to worry about bringing bottles of water.

I think it is just as bad to deny yourself good food as it is to deny yourself the benefits of listening to a speaker who has something you want to hear. Eat a good, filling meal before the event, bring a bottle of water (which you should be able to refill at a fountain or at least in the ladies room), and a low-cal snack (granola bar or energy bar). Another trick might be to bring sugar-less mints or gum with you as it is not possible to eat & chew/suck on these treats at the same time. I know that I now never travel without a bottle of frozen water, a low-carb meal bar & a pack of sugarless mint gum.

Good luck!

04-29-2005, 06:51 PM
Most processed food has transfats (hydrogenated fats) in it and they are very, very bad. They do horrible things to the body. So, when I'm faced with food at events, I tell myself that I DO NOT EAT TRANSFATS. I reframe the food as POISON (thanks, Ilene) or as VERY UNHEALTHY INDEED. This sometimes works for me. In fact, more often than not it works for me.

Yeah! That happens with me too now! The idea that something is really really bad for me just turns me off eating it. Something like a suger filled donut or a big mac just doesn't sound appealing no matter what it tastes like. I even had to throw away my poor tootsie rolls when I read they had hydrogenated oils in them. :( poor poor tootsie rolls. :lol:

04-29-2005, 07:28 PM
We have free food, and booze, where I work at least once a week so I feel your pain. I just don't go anywhere near it and I'm fine because if I start I won't stop.

05-02-2005, 12:23 PM
Okay. I just finished my post earlier and Windows shut me down. So, here goes again.

I work at a law firm that has luncheons almost on a daily basis. There are lots of leftovers, most of which are not good for anyone. Even the chicken has some kind of gooey sauce over it! The veggies are usually drenched in some kind of oil, so the veggies may be good, but the oils are not. Who knows what kind of oil is used!

Not only that, we have a Candy dish and Cookie Tin in the Services Department. My solution? I go into Services through the door that doesn't have the temptations near it. It does two things for me: One: I'm not near the goodies; two: I have to walk farther to get to the other door.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I can "step back from the leftovers and goodies" and stay OP! :lol:

11-09-2006, 05:09 PM
Hey everyone. I thought I would resurrect this thread as it is a topic I've been struggling with lately.

I am having the worst time resisting free food. Today for example, we're having a meeting in the office and someone brought in donuts. Ok, I don't even like donuts. I would never buy them for myself, even in my lowest moments, but I'll eat them if they are free. Luckily, I resisted this morning and when I went back later they were gone. Thank goodness. :D It would make more sense to me if I was hungry or the food being offered was one of my favorites, but it is just something about free.

So as we are approaching the land of holidays, food events, food gifts, and candy dishes I thought I'd see what folks out there do to resist the free food.

I'm going to try a tip I heard somewhere - Never eat standing up. That way if I see something being offered for free I actually have to make the decision to pick it up, put it on a plate, go to a table and sit down, and then eat it. I'm hoping that giving myself a rule to follow will take over the ingrained frugalities of my childhood.:dizzy:

11-10-2006, 01:14 AM
I'm not a grad student, but hope to be! I'm a senior English/Creative writing major, taking a year off next year, and then hopefully will go back to get my master's in library science. But I DEFINITELY understand the frustration about college functions and the ties to food. It seems like every single meeting on my campus lures its members by promising free food, which is fine, but not so fine for me, who has a hard time saying no. :dizzy: Usually I bring water, chug it like crazy, and either leave before food is served or bring my own food to snack on so it doesn't look like I'm a party pooper.

By the way, I thought your username, Paperclippy, sounded familiar...you post on the lj community weddingplans, right? I'm stone_fox, I don't post too often but I comment. I think we even have the same wedding date! (10/6/07?) Do you mind if I add you over there? :cool:

11-10-2006, 01:37 AM
I totally understand your fustration. I am a law student on a really tight budget and every event is free pizza and beer. Or appatizers and beer. Or something else and beer. Every social even the school holds is at a bar. It drives me nuts because one last time I had pizza I got sick to my stomach because of all the fat and two it is really hard to pass up the temptation of having a drink (espically when it is free) since I don't drink often. I actually didn't go to the last two social events the school had because of this.

11-10-2006, 02:00 AM
Another grad student here, but I don't attend the special events. I don't really have time and very few of them apply to my major anyway (nurse practitioner program). HOWEVER, I do work in a hospital and there is junk everywhere! - parents of our babies that are getting to go home bring in treats, coworkers bring in food all the time for some sort of party or potluck, pharmaceutical and equipment reps bring food, all hospital meetings, inservices, etc. have food, and then there are the special events: birthdays (and with well over 100 nurses in our unit every darn day is somebody's birthday!), nurses week, the HOLIDAYS (we're talking chocolate everywhere from Thanksgiving to Christmas), so I do feel your pain. Even when there is absolutely no special occasion, my coworkers find it necessary to order out from a local restaurant or pizza place on a daily basis. It can be very hard to resist. I combat it by bringing my own little treat with me to enjoy. Knowing that I have it to look forward to keeps me out of the vat of chocolate.

11-10-2006, 08:47 AM
This thread made me think of how delighted :carrot: I was to realize I was going to a conference the day of my department's Thanksgiving Pitch-in, because I won't be there to be tempted by the free food.

Course I still have to think about what the provided lunch at the conference is but somehow that sounds easier than avoiding all the thanksgiving goodies everyone will be bringing in. I'll probably just bring something with me on my plan, and skip the provided lunch.


11-10-2006, 11:11 AM
Free food is NOT free!

It costs you calories from the budget for the day.

It costs you in health- if it isn't healthy food.

It costs you in self respect- if you over indulge.

IT IS NOT WORTH IT! I have a co-worker who brings in food several times a week and offers it around and takes it personal if you refuse. The last time as I politely refused, it was all I could do to bite back the comment, "It would be better for me to hit myself on the head with a hammer than eat this stuff!"

Free food is NOT free.

11-10-2006, 01:25 PM
PandyCat, yes, that is me! Sure you can add me, and we are date twins! :)

What's funny about this thread getting resurrected is that I am no longer a grad student, but I just posted on the Maintainers forum chat about how my workplace has too much free food!! I guess there is no escaping it. It makes me wish I worked in somewhere food isn't allowed (like a lab or something), but then I wouldn't be able to eat all my healthy snacks. :)

11-10-2006, 01:56 PM
You would have to isolate yourself at home to avoid the food temptations of the world... and even then you still have to deal with your own kitchen. I find that dealing with the reasons I am unable to say no is the only solution. Why don't we have control over our eating, our choices, our emotions? Why would we choose a self-destructive behavior over a healthy behavior? Why would we think that it is ok to poison our bodies with transfats, and excess saturated fats, cholesterols, sugars, etc.? There is more to it than that it just tastes good or is too tempting. There are plenty of thin, healthy people out there who have no problem walking past the food buffet. Something is not right if we are unable to say no to food or anything in our lives for that matter.

11-10-2006, 03:00 PM
I would have to say that in some cases, like mine, it's not about being tempted by the food b/c you want it so much (because in most cases, I don't even care about what the food is) For me, anyway, the annoyance is more about feeling like you HAVE to eat it b/c of social pressure, b/c you'll look like an oddball if you don't. That's why I'm always so elated to see fruit at work parties. Not only is it a treat, but it's good for my body. This is not to say that I never eat junk, but I prefer to keep it to special occasions.
After a while, you get sick of saying "no, thanks" but that doesn't mean you don't keep saying it........