With a rather large bill for accommodation for our upcoming California trip looming, I thought it best to get a little back up work. So for the past month or so I've been working for a client (a charity) within the confines of an office environment. Despite the fact that this makes my work day even longer (I start my other client work around 5am), the biggest change I've had to deal with is the sheer amount of food. If people weren't talking about mince pies, they were eating them and buying more for the following day or making them at home. Don't get me wrong I love to eat - especially mince pies - but I don't get the obsession with food when it comes to working in an office. Or maybe I do.
The first time I discovered the relationship between office workers and food, was when I went back to temping a couple of years ago (again to supplement the small income that I would take from my then growing business). The worst example of Christmas-related greed that I witnessed was Fat Fridays. Except, let me be honest, it was all year round; things just seemed to get worse around Christmas.
The premise of Fat Fridays was that everyone in the office would bring in some form of junk. Who knows if, on the very first Fat Friday, it was ordained that only calorific, sugary concoctions would be allowed to sit indulgently on the hallowed trestle table, but for some reason, no-one ever came to the table with a superfood salad - or even a banana. Nope, instead, the plentiful table was covered with numerous processed meats, sweaty egg sandwiches, Swiss roll, chocolate roll, every flavour of Pringles you can imagine and pretty much every product from Cadburys and Mars. Then there were the Asda donuts, cookies, and takeaway pizzas - which I never understood, because, wasn't that what Pizza Wednesdays were for?
Now I'll be the first to admit, I'm definitely a 'see it, eat it' kind of girl, (and I'm definitely not someone in the skinny camp) which inevitably gets me in trouble. If you know me at all, you will know that, despite the fact that I try to only eat fruit or greens from waking until say 1 or 2pm ( after which I 'try' to eat quite clean and skip animal products altogether) I have a thing for not-so-natural sugars also. At its extreme, I've been known to eat entire bars of Cadburys Whole Nut (and no, I'm not talking about the pathetic 100g bar) and gorge on Dum Dum Donuts like my life depended on it. But lately, I've stopped buying chocolate altogether. Which is good. But, like I said, if I see something, and it's something sweet, I'm likely to eat it. I mean, it's right THERE.
So, although I made a valiant attempt to be strong with the office folk in the last few weeks of 2015 - they had pizza for their festive staff meal, and I had not even a crust - the week just before Christmas I was hit with the sweet scent of chocolate in the air the minute I walked in. While the fare at this office is a bit more upmarket than the aforementioned place of work, it was still a challenge to make it through the day without consuming twice my daily calorific requirements. Boxes of Celebrations were particularly popular, as was a (very nice) Marks & Spencer Sugar Shard Christmas cake. There were multiple packets of biscuits (all opened), cheeses with the prerequisite 'biscuits for cheese' and lots of cheese straws. I know it is my decision and my issue whether I indulge or not, but half the time I seriously wondered if any of my new colleagues were conscious as they inserted yet another Pringle into their mouth, mid-email. Again, that's their issue, not mine, but I have noticed people just seem to get into a slump this time of year. It's like they've been waiting for CHRISTMAS to come and make everything better. They just want that break. And I get it. I really do. Working for yourself is a hard-earned luxury with its own challenges; working for someone else, to their timeframes, and according to their rules, definitely wears you down, which I think is why Christmas at the office can so easily become a mini holiday, a kind of 'sod it, the year's nearly over and my boss hasn't asked how I am for six months, so I'm gonna eat that mince pie dammit,' kind of mood.
Now that 2015 is over with, and I'm due to head back to the office environment for a few more weeks, I can't help thinking that on my return, the place will still hold the faded allure of Christmas, like the dust that covered Miss Havisham's wedding table in Great Expectations. Yes, a new year has begun, but I think that for many of us, there's something scary about that - so please, just keep those 'on offer' Cadbury's Heroes to yourself, for now...
What do you think; are you someone who needs your sugar rush to help you get through the working day anytime of the year? Or are you militant when it comes to avoiding 'bad foods'?