Earlier today, I was minding my own business, making phone calls at work when I suddenly became aware of a plate of fudge sitting on a filing cabinet, directly in my line of sight.
I tried to ignore it. Every time I looked up, there it was, seeming to whisper sweet, loving nothings in my ear. “It’s only one piece, Diva. You have been working so hard, and I am so chocolately and full of walnuts and marshmallow fluff. Just give in.”
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve probably had a similar scenario. So what do you do? Complain about the sugary treats in the office and you’ll be branded a killjoy. Give in and you could wreck your resolve for the whole day. And all those rationalizations about working it off at the gym aren’t really very rational at all. Depending on how much you weigh, a 300-calorie treat could take 40 minutes on the stairmaster to burn off. (Though I don’t know how accurate it is, I found this calculator online that tells you how much exercise it would take to work off certain treats.) Vowing to skip a meal isn’t very healthy, and that plan almost always backfires, doesn’t it?
So how do I resist the fudge’s siren call? Well, I looked up the calorie content of similar treats as a scare tactic. I did a quick analysis of whether the desire I felt for the treat was one caused by actual hunger or thirst. It wasn’t, but if it was, I would have broken out a healthy snack (like a cheese stick or a handful of homemade, low-carb, high-protein trail mix) or gotten a water or a diet soda from the vending machine.
I ended up taking a quick walk (very quick — it was about 10 degrees outside) as a way to redirect my focus. For me, that was enough to resist the fudge today. I’m not sure that I’ll always be able to resist the treats that sometimes appear in the office. After all, I’m still in the honeymoon stage of the getting healthy kick.
I’ve struggled most of my adult life with cravings and the aftermath of giving into cravings. When I “mess up” and eat something full of sugar and fat, I tend to consider the whole day a lost cause. All of a sudden, eating a piece of fudge or a handful of fun-size candy bars gives me license to buy the biggest sack of french fries the local fast food place carries and see how many I can cram in my mouth at once. And since I can’t seem to eat like a normal human being, I might as well skip the gym and resign myself to dying fat and alone.
What a ridiculous way of thinking. So I caved to the cookie plate. I should get back up, dust myself off and re-commit to all of the principles I’d been following. It’s a couple hundred calories. A blip, if you will, in a lifetime of healthy eating. People make mistakes.
So if you find yourself diving head-first into the cardboard box of doughnuts some well-meaning but misguided coworker has brought in, don’t despair. Get right back on the healthy bandwagon. And as revenge, bring in some carrot sticks for the whole office to enjoy tomorrow.
Your turn: What are some sugary treats that magically appear in your office? What are your strategies to resist them?