Recently, I had a patient that works in the school system tell me that the previous week was quite challenging when she returned to work after the summer break. The reason? So many teachers and administrators were bringing in whole bunch of “treats, sweets and goodies”. On one occasion, a colleague mentioned that she would be bringing in “Duck Donuts”, and the patient politely requested that those donuts not be given to her due to weight control mission. However, despite this plea, sure enough, those Duck Donuts were waiting on her desk.
People in the teaching and nursing professions share lots of these workplace challenges. Why? These professions tend to attract “nurturers”, i.e. those personality types that enjoy providing comfort to others. Having worked in my earlier years at hospitals, I witnessed what was brought in by nurses to “nurture” other nurses that were similarly overworked/underpaid. In the breakroom, there was a veritable buffet consisting of cookies, cakes, chocolates, pies etc. I suspect in teacher breakrooms, the same sort of “giving to others” exists.
Nurturing, of course, is not limited to nurses and teachers. Pretty much every one of us enjoy nurturing our families, especially the children and grandchildren. And what is the most common way we do this? Via the use of high caloric foods and desserts. Me? Guilty as charged. When I am with our grandson, there will always be some sort of “treat” involved during our visit, and this most often comes in the form of ice cream, cookies and the like.
We all must learn new concepts of “nurturing” others, as the overweight/obesity rate in our country is closing in on 70%. On the “giving” end, we need to identify other methods of showing our love and caring. Expressing love and caring for the people in our lives does not need to come in the form of Dunkin or Duck donuts. On the receiving end, we need to learn how to politely say “no” to the offerings provided to us.
Take a step back and think about you provide and receive “nurturing” to/from others, and devise a plan to ensure that “nurturing” does not translate into damaging your or your loved ones’ health.