2018-07-18 / Editorials

Maintaining is the key

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

One of the best parts of working in an office is the free food that mysteriously appears on a regular and ongoing basis in the break room.

I suspect this is true in all office settings, but it is particularly true in newsrooms. Say what you want to say about journalists — and a lot of you are saying a lot lately — but there’s nothing a journalist likes better than free food, especially if that free food is loaded with sugar and chocolate and anything else that is bad for you.

A recent study says free office food is probably why so many of us are overweight. A person can consume almost 2,000 extra calories a week, an entire extra day’s worth of calories, eating free stuff in the break room.

When I worked at The Times, there was an empty cubicle in the middle of the newsroom. It became known as The Food Desk, because anytime anyone had a hankering to bake something, anytime anyone has food left over from a party, anytime anyone decided to stop for a dozen doughnuts, it would all show up on the food desk for any and all to enjoy.

And there’s another thing about newsrooms. It involves Election Night. Elections are a lot of work for journalists. It’s a long day, nothing really happens until they start counting votes at 7 p.m., and by the time the night (well, really early, early morning) is over and the paper is to press, you really don’t care who won as long as you can go home, get in bed and sleep until the runoff.

But an hour before the polls close, pizzas arrive for the Election Night crew. This has been true in every newsroom I’ve ever been in. The reporters were more concerned about what kind of pizza I was ordering than their assignments that night.

“Make sure you get a vegetarian pizza,” someone always said.

“Get one without mushrooms, please.” OK, that might have been me.

At my current job, I have a boss who thinks doughnuts are one of the basic food groups. Every few days, he shows up with doughnuts for the office. And then there are the cakes and pies folks bring in and the leftover food from lunch meetings.

All this food is a problem for me. As you know, 18 months ago, I began a journey to lose weight and eat healthy. A year ago, I reached my target weight, down 50 pounds from when I started.

“The hard part,” people told me, “isn’t losing the weight. It’s keeping it off.”

I believe it. I know I’m imagining it, but it seems like there are doughnuts in the break room every day now. You’re probably saying, “Well, Mitch, just stay out of the break room.”

That’s easier said than done. The break room is where the coffee — black, no cream or sugar — is.

For the last 18 months, I’ve managed to avoid the temptations. I haven’t had a breakroom doughnut in all that time. And I’ve only had a couple of pieces of pizza from the office lunches. I’m following my trainer Chelsea’s instructions on food and I’m continuing to work out.

And it’s paid off. When I weighed myself Sunday, one year to the day after reaching a weight of 179 pounds, I got back on the scales. I weighed 181 pounds. I’ve essentially maintained my weight for a full year.

Will miracles never cease.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/ blog/mitch.

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