Reader Mail: When Should I Give Up and Buy a Larger Wardrobe?

When to Buy Larger Clothes | CorporetteWe’re curious what the readers have to say about today’s reader mail:

This is embarrassing, but I’ve been fighting a losing battle with my weight for a while now.  Before the holidays, I had about a week and a half”s worth of clothes that still fit.  After the holidays I’m now down to a few pairs of pants and a very stretchy skirt. I wore a summer dress (t-shirt material!) the other day because it was the only thing that fit and was clean!!  Should I just give up and go buy new clothes?  I don’t have any major meetings or suit-wearing things coming up, and the only person at work who sees me on a daily basis is my secretary.

Eeeesh, we hear you, sister — the holidays were not kind to us either.  For our $.02, you’re treading on thin water with such a limited wardrobe — even if no one sees you regularly, we feel like people will start to notice.  Besides, it’s always more professional (and flattering!) to wear clothes that fit, rather than stuff yourself into clothes that are too small.  But in terms of whether you have to give up the ghost and go buy new clothes… our answer to your question depends on a number of factors.

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What to Eat When You Have No Time to Eat

what to eat when you have no time to eat during the workday2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion about what to eat when you have no time to eat — you may also want to check out our latest discussion of energy foods for work, as well as our recent roundup of environmentally-friendly and stylish office lunch containers if you’re bringing lunch to work! 

Let’s start by saying this:  eating is a Good.  Food is fuel for your brain and body, it’s yummy, and the act of eating gives you a nice break during the day.  There are metabolic benefits to eating small meals very often, and your subordinates will appreciate the consistent mood that comes from frequent meals.

However, sometimes just finding the time to eat can be very difficult — just getting downstairs to the deli to grab something and go can be taxing, not to mention unrewarding after realizing you’ve paid $10 for a sandwich that wasn’t fresh or healthy and spent 30 minutes of your time between elevator rides and cashier’s lines.

That’s why we’ve been a big fan of bringing food to the office. If you’re trapped at your desk, it’s easier to rationalize a 5-minute break to eat the food you’ve already brought. It’s also easier to lock yourself into a healthy choice — the all-too-often thought of “well, I’ll just treat myself because I’m so busy” never ends well — and it’s ultimately better for the budget as well.

While there are some who have made an art form out of bringing a beautifully packed lunch, we can only aspire to be in that group for the moment.  So we’ve come to specialize in what we’ll call the grab-and-go snack form of lunching. While none of them would normally be considered a meal, they take far less time to prepare or eat than a proper lunch, and if you eat 2 or 3 of them throughout the day you’re never hungry.  So, without further ado, our list of food staples for the busy working girl: [Read more…]

Reader Mail: Lunch at One’s Desk

2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion about eating lunch at one’s desk — you may also want to check out our discussion of eating late at the office, as well as our most recent roundup of environmentally-friendly and stylish office lunch containers if you’re bringing lunch to work! 

Today’s question comes from a reader curious about lunching etiquette…

I have a question for you guys: what’s the opinion on eating lunch at one’s desk?  There are some projects I need (and want) to stay in the office for but I have to eat!  It’s incredibly hard to look professional mid-bite of a taco and even salads can get interesting.  Not to mention, with an open office plan, not everyone is in lunch mode, so while they’re having a meeting, I’m scarfing down a sandwich.   Dinner isn’t so much an issue, as its afterhours but lunch is still a conundrum for me.   Is this an issue for anyone else?  Do you avoid certain foods?  Curious…

For our $.02, if we haven’t planned lunch with someone, then we tend to prefer to lunch at our desk.  We don’t mean to be antisocial, but it helps us to continue whatever thought we were in the midst of before hunger pangs overtook us, or to surf the web and read blogs that we wouldn’t have time for otherwise.  (In fact, we hate taking breaks in the middle of the day, and tend to bring snacks like yogurt and raw almonds so we don’t have to leave the office at all.)  Some people really do not like the smell of pungent food — we worked in one place where, allegedly, the microwave had been banished to a back room on a middle floor because one of the bigwigs did not like the smell of cooking food.  And to that end, it might make sense to avoid really smelly lunches or snacks.  It might also pay to be considerate, smellwise, of folks who are dieting — avoid bringing in McDonald’s fries or heating up that brownie.

If you’re eating in an open space, there may be other considerations, such as what people can see and here.  You may want to avoid things that are difficult bites to eat — long spaghetti, really large pieces of sushi — or things that fall apart randomly (e.g., hard-shell tacos).  This doesn’t mean you’re left with nothing to eat — ask for them to chop your salad.  Choose tortellini rather than angel hair.  Soup and sandwiches are lunch hits for a reason.  If you prefer to adopt our approach of eating really small meals between breakfast and dinner, it does seem (to us at least) pretty unobtrusive to eat things like an apple, a carton of yogurt, a few raw almonds, a skim latte, and so forth, throughout the day.

Readers, what are your thoughts?  Do you lunch at your desk frequently?  If you’re working in an open space, what do you eat?

Pictured above:  Flickr has an amazing pool of photos snapped by folks who bring their own bento lunches to work, many of them using the Zojirushi Mr. Bento system.  (Specifically, above:  Tuesday Bento (28) – Zojirushi, originally uploaded to Flickr by devlyn.)  If this isn’t quite your thing, check out Amazon’s fairly extensive collection of really cute lunch bags.
Shop lunchbags, below…

Reader mail: Can I take the leftovers from my business lunch?

Can you take leftovers from a business lunch?

2017 Update: We still stand by this analysis of when you can take leftovers from a business lunch — links have also been updated below.  You may also want to check out our ultimate guide to business lunch etiquette.

Is a doggy bag is ever appropriate in a business context? Today’s reader wonders what the etiquette rule is on whether she can take leftovers from her business lunch…

I was wondering if it’s ever appropriate to get leftovers from business lunches or dinners wrapped up to go. The portion sizes at restaurants can be so large, and I hate having food go to waste (especially food from eating out!) but I am fairly junior and it may seem a bit much (as in grabby or greedy). Thoughts?

We agree, leaving leftover food is wasteful. However, we must caution against asking for a doggy bag (even if the restaurant will shape it into an amusing animal). You’re right, it does sound slightly grabby or greedy — particularly because it’s entirely possible to ascertain beforehand if the restaurant where you’re dining is one that believes in large portions, such as by looking around the room or asking the waiter — which means that taking leftovers might leave the impression that you either a) ordered for dinner as well as lunch, or b) just are not very observant. Neither are good things for the business lunch. [Read more…]

Office Staples: Healthy Food Stuffs to Keep in your Office

healthy food stuffs to keep in your office2018 Update: This post on healthy food stuffs to keep in your office is an old favorite — do check out our most recent roundup on 40+ snack ideas for work, too.

We’ve done the toiletries, the clothes, and the gadgets — now it’s time for Corporette’s suggestions for food stuffs to keep at the office.

Many of you will be asking, what do you mean? Why would I keep food on hand? What about all the long, “power” lunches I grew to know and love over my summer experience? If not, I know of some great little inexpensive restaurants — sandwiches and sushi, really! — where I expect my friends and I will be pow-wowing during the day…

Yeah… here’s the thing:  When you’re busy, half the time you won’t have time to eat. And when you’re not busy, no one really wants to prolong a stay at the office any more than necessary, so you do your work and get out as soon as you can. That said, it’s handy to keep some foods at the office — healthy, low-calorie, filling foods — so that you can nosh while working and not get stuck raiding the cracker closet for food. (This is the glamorous life, right?) Note that this list was written on the assumption that you do have ready access to hot water, but not necessarily a readily-accessible microwave. [Read more…]

10 Things About… Trying to Diet While Working a Corporate Gig

N.B.: I still stand by this advice on how to diet while working a corporate job (and links have been updated as of 2016), but you can also check out our 2016 discussion on how not to gain weight during the summer recruiting season

Amazingly, everyone I know right now is either trying to get their eating under control (the Fourth of July was apparently a very happy one for everyone!) or outright diet. This can seem like a nearly impossible task if you’ve got cocktail parties, catered dinners, and three-course lunches on a daily basis — especially since so many diet programs require you to cook (or at least eat specific foods that can take a ton of time to prepare). What’s a working girl to do? Here are my tips…

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