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11 Sep, 2018

Food Judgment in the male work environment.

Simon Tetley

Picture this. 



It's 10 am. You haven't eaten since the night before, and your stomach feels like a cave with an angry lion in it. You are walking in step with your colleagues, one hand jammed in your pocket and the other holding a cigarette. You and the boys are making the customary pilgrimage to the pie-shop on the corner for lunch, the flakey, floury rolls being the staple of any tradesman's mealtimes on the job. The pastries don't taste that great, and you know they aren't good for you, but they will quiet the lion in your belly for an hour or two, maybe help push away the last of a hangover, and that is all that matters. Does this scenario sound familiar to you? I hope so because it was my 'every day' working as a carpenter.

That was until one day, it wasn't. I got onto MP nutrition and knew the daily pie run was off the menu. I needed to start eating better if I wanted to see results and I knew that meant bringing MP meals to work. I tell you that first day I brought a prepared meal, I was nervous. I knew the moment I pulled out something new, the boys were going to pounce like a pack of dogs. That was the way we all were; if someone changed their routine, even a tiny bit, everyone took notice. People don't like it when a routine changes; they kick back against it to try and change it back. I knew that was coming, and wracked my brain to try and get around it. Eventually, I came up with a plan. 



Lunchtime rolled around, and we all went to eat. They pulled out their sausage rolls and packs of chips. I pulled out my tub of food, and before I even had it open all the way, one of the boys yelled out what I knew was coming. “What's that? You on a diet mate?” I watched him take a bite of his lukewarm ‘steak and kidney’ pie. "Next you going to tell us you’re off the beer too!" He laughed as he washed the pie down with a sip of Coke. All the other guys were looking my way, and now it was time to test my plan. I took my meal, and as I heated it up in the microwave, the fantastic smell of MP Beef Chilli began to float around the room. The comments went quiet. I couldn’t help but notice the same guys that had just given me flack were the ones paying close attention to what I was eating, noses in the air.



Over time, I started bringing a variety of delicious, hearty “manly meals” to work. These were mainly slow cooks from the cook-bible. A couple of the guys still made comments, but as me bringing my lunch became a new routine, I started getting the question of, "What have you got today, mate?" The same people that jeered at the start were now the ones asking me questions. As time went on and my results improved, so did my mood and energy levels. My workmates noticed and one by one began bringing food themselves or asking me for recipes of what I was eating so they could make them too. It gave me a way to introduce th to the MP system organically. I quickly become a positive influence on everyone around me and helping them in this small way opened the door to me becoming the trainer I am today. 

I have a lot of experience following the MP eating style while everyone else is eating junk and my number one tip is to choose the heartier meals when you start. Choose the things with intense flavours and rich textures that will make mouths water when they are reheated and choose recipes where the vegetables are included in the whole meal instead of prepared separately. I recommend the Beef Chilli or Beef Stroganoff, the Green Thai Turkey Meatloaf or Curry in a Hurry, and the Vegetarian Chilli if meat is not your thing. All of these will turn heads when you warm them up. 

My bonus tip, if your group is especially judgemental or you are anxious, is to make your meals look like leftovers rather than specially packed meals. Leftovers for lunch aren't anything to write home about, and it will get others used to the idea of you with a lunchbox. Any way you can get them used to you doing your own food thing as quickly as possible will ease the transition from junk food to good food. This little bit of effort will help you get to your goals that much quicker and you never know; your biggest critics may become your biggest fans.

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