"We didn't take the M&M's away. We just made them a little more difficult to get to."
M&M's might not be the problem in your office. Maybe it's a free vending machine or a colleague's candy dish or an endless stream of gourmet food trucks outside the building. And while being at the office can provide opportunities to eat healthfully -- think well-planned, brown-bag lunches or no access to the goodies waiting in your fridge at home -- it's not always a bastion of nutrition.
In fact, a number of common office personalities can become real diet saboteurs if you don't take action. We spoke to Elisa Zied, R.D., C.D.N., registered dietitian and founder and president of Zied Health Communications, about some of the most common ones we've encountered, plus how to make sure you don't overdo it.
For many of the following scenarios, she says, a couple of general strategies can help. First, make your own health goals and rules the top priority. "It's important not to feel pressure to eat," says Zied. "You kind of have to be happy with who you are and not let other people influence what you eat just to be cool. We're grown ups!"
Then, plan ahead as much as possible with some go-to excuses you can use as scenarios come up. You can say you had a big breakfast, or you can even say you have a family history of heart disease. Try explaining that with certain foods you feel like if you have one, you'll eat the whole box, says Zied.
Also, plan ahead as much as possible when it comes to what you will actually eat, she says. "The more you plan ahead for what you're going to eat and how often you’re going to eat, the more in control you'll feel, you won't be as rattled by the sudden food that's in your office," she says. "And if you do have it, you can know to cut back at dinner or have a healthier breakfast the next day."
But what about when you are rattled by sudden food in the office or by a spontaneous happy hour invitation? It's tough to know when you'll feel vulnerable to indulge -- or who will be the personality to rope you in. But there are some times to definitely be on your toes. Stress, like from a looming deadline, can make you particularly vulnerable to craving attacks, says Zied, as can the mid-afternoon when you're dragging and sapped of energy. The sweeter and fattier the food is, the more likely you are to really want it, she adds, but these aren't the foods that will energize you and nourish you to finish out the day at your physical and mental best.
Click through the slideshow below to find out which other office personalities contribute to your daily calorie consumption, and what you can do to avoid these diet traps. Then tell us in the comments: Do you recognize any of these scenarios at your office?
Office Diet Saboteurs
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