I've heard it so many times…
"Isabel, I was doing so great on my healthy eating plan, until I went to work."
"Isabel, my office is loaded with bad food. My entire healthy plan goes out the window once I step into the break room."
I totally get it.
Even when I worked as a personal trainer at a large gym in New York City, willpower weakness at work was still a major problem.
The second I stepped into the trainer’s lounge with my healthy meal, there were usually at least three people offering me some delicious dessert or snack they had brought to work - even when work was at the GYM of all places!
I know that in office environments the situation is obviously even worse.
People fill the employee kitchen with all the things they did NOT want in their home, like leftover birthday cake, or day-old doughnuts.
Isn't that interesting?
They didn't want those foods in their house, so they brought them to work to get rid of them? And now they are pushing those foods on you.
When my husband worked in the corporate world, he said this was a daily – sometimes several times a day – occurrence. There just wasn't a day that went by that there wasn't cake, cookies, or candy overflowing the break room and kitchen.
So what is a healthy eater to do?
On the one hand, you don't want to be totally rude and not partake, but you also want to stick to your health goals.
Let's say you somehow you get through the "being rude" part, but you WILL still have to muster up enough willpower to say NO.
What if one of your closest co-workers comes in with your absolute favorite cupcakes and she made them especially with you in mind.
Yikes! What to do?
Here are my top 3 tips for tackling tempting treats at your work place.
- Use the "One Day at a Time" approach:
It's difficult to look at the entire mountain and envision you’re going to climb it. It's much easier to look at just the few feet in front of you and decide to put one foot in front of the other - And that’s what you’ll do with each work day.
You will only focus on that one day. Don’t worry about tomorrow because it will come whether you like it or not. And if you feel like having the cupcake tomorrow, then maybe you will, but the only thing you have to think about today is TODAY. The second you step into the office decide, "Today I will only eat what I have planned." Whether that’s your packed lunch or the healthy lunch option at your work place. Decide that just for the next 8 hours you will stay clear of the stuff that is not helping you reach those healthy goals that I know you want to achieve.
- Use the "No Reason" response:
This is my absolute favorite way to reply to any food offer that I don’t want. Ready? It will blow your mind. Simply, "No thanks. I’m good." That’s it!
No reason to give a 30 minute dissertation on the foundational principles of nutrition. No reason to explain the 10 reasons you've decided to start a weight loss plan. No reason at all. Just simply, "No thanks. I’m good." Now, of course, you’ll get those people that will continue to push and pry no matter how polite you were. At that point, I go to my next simple answer, "Maybe later. Not now." Notice I keep it as absolutely simple as possible. It’s really nobody else’s business, unless you decide to share it with them; and I have found that the exact people who are offering you the treats, may be the ones you should avoid while attempting to follow your healthy eating plan. Of course, there are exceptions, but as a general rule, I share my goals with the people closest to me, who I know will be supportive.
- Avoid the kitchen if at all possible:
If you can help it, avoid the environments that are triggering you to eat the unhealthy foods. Just stay away and eat your lunch somewhere else.
As the weather begins to get nicer, grab your lunch and find a spot outside to eat. Or, better yet, eat your lunch at your desk and then go for a walk. Ask a friend if he or she would like to walk with you. You don’t even have to call it your exercise time or your workout. It could just be a nice happy stroll to catch up with a co-worker you like.
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The good news is, more and more people are striving to follow a healthy eating plan, even if it doesn't seem like you have any "support" when you walk into the office.
If you’re not already using the Beyond Diet Community as your support system, I highly encourage you to jump into share or discuss next time you are experiencing a moment of willpower weakness. The community spirit is incredible, comforting, and will keep you motivated and following your goals through support and guidance from our Beyond Diet coaches and members.