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Tackling the office with an eating disorder - Sophie's tips

I went all in on my healing journey at the end of the lockdown. I was in therapy, I was practising self care, listening to podcasts on recovery, reading all the books and I was really in a positive space for the first time. And one thing I hadn’t even considered was the thought of being in an office.

Now, don’t get me wrong, being at work can be a great distraction and it was something I was looking forward to after so much time at home. But I had never considered how often food is spoken about in the office setting. From birthday treats being brought in, people discussing their diets, their fitness plans and what they’re eating. It felt like a constant challenge.

I’d be trying my hardest to listen to my body, honour my hunger and eat the fear foods. But it was like everyone around me was saying the opposite. Even just the little comments like ‘Ooo I’m going to have a biscuit, how naughty’, it may seem like nothing but I found that so hard.

It took me a few months to really change my mindset and understand that this was just my eating disorder talking and I had to challenge those thoughts. Of course, this is easier said than done, so here are some tips that really got me through the harder days:

Taking time out:

If there was a big, group discussion about food or dieting, I would often just take myself to the toilets or make a hot drink. Basically taking myself away from the conversation. At first I felt like this was avoiding but sometimes it’s good to know when a challenge is just too much for that day. If the conversation was going to ruin my day and my mindset, why put myself through it? It is okay to step away!

Talking to people:

I found that telling a few, trusted colleagues and friends about how I was feeling really helped. Of course it’s a bit scary and personal but knowing I had them there to share an eye roll or change the conversation topic really made my days feel lighter and less of a challenge.


And finally, one thing I found really helpful was listening to podcasts! If I was struggling, listening to a podcast that was positive and championed having a better relationship with food, really helped bring my mindset back and allowed me to switch off from the negative talk around me.

Offices can be hard because negativity around food and wellness is so normalised in society. It’s a harsh reminder but having tactics and coping mechanisms in place for those hard conversations really helped me and allowed me to feel more comfortable. And eventually it is easier to stop noticing or ignoring these topics altogether because they just hold less importance in my life now and that feels amazing to say.

Contributed by Sophie

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, or are concerned for yourself or a loved one, you can find support and guidance on the help pages of our website.

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