Do you wake up energized, ready to fuel your body with slimming fruit, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein? Do you also find yourself regularly slugging away from your office feeling guilty about the slice of birthday cake or the 700-calorie margarita at happy hour after making that morning promise to your body? Breaking news: Your co-workers might be making you fat!

Okay, well maybe they are not deliberately trying to sabotage your healthy lifestyle, but it may sure feel like it! The inconvenient truth is that the people you spend the most time with, whether it be the office, your significant other, or your friends, can actually have an effect on your weight.

Here are four of the most common co-worker weight traps to help stop the office-bloating madness and star controlling your own eating habits from nine-to-five.

1.     Office Party

Sometimes it seems like there are always reasons for someone to bring in a cake or some other form of fat-filled, sugar-laden dessert to the office. From promotions, to birthdays, to co-worker’s childrens’ left-over baking experiments, to half-birthdays, to “I was bored and baked this five-layer chocolate, fudge, butter cake for all of you,” your will-power may start to break down. One option is to take-charge and volunteer to manage celebration planning. This way, you can make sure there are healthy options at the celebration or even plan to use the money that would be spent on a cake for a gift card to give to the birthday-girl/boy!

2.     Chubby Candy Jars

Instead of glaring at the jars with gooey-sugary goodness on the reception desk, start a trend by decorating your desk with your own glass jars. However, fill yours with diet-friendly snacks such as sugarless gum, dried fruit, raw nuts, air-popped popcorn, or whole-grain pretzels.

3.     Catered meetings

If you aren’t on the catering board at your office, talk to the committee-leader or ask to make an announcement at one of their meetings and ask for healthier food options, such as a veggie platter instead of chips, a garden salad instead of Caesar, roasted or grilled chicken instead of fried, and fruit salad instead of cookies at meetings.

4.     Peer-pressure

If co-workers are making you feel guilty or isolated for trying to live a healthy lifestyle, you may feel that you have no choice but to embrace their poor eating habits yourself. If you feel comfortable, you should talk to those closest to you at the office. If you confront them in a non-threatening way, that doesn’t make them feel like you’re judging their eating habits, they will most likely understand. However, if this feels too confrontational, next time Suzy brings in pastries just say, “I’ll just have a taste” or “I’ll take one for later.” Then, take a small bite, enjoy every second, and then when you get a chance, quietly throw the rest away.

A few other ways to avoid work weight gain:

  1. Always start with a filling, wholesome breakfast before going to work.
  2. Take a break for lunch to make sure you don’t get hungry and tempted by other unhealthy options at work
  3. Keep healthy snacks in the office refrigerator
  4. Make time for a 10-15 minute walk break outside
-Emily Freeman

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