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Sweet rewards at work: How do you resist temptation?

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Question: “Has anyone noticed how often food is used as a reward at work? I’m trying to eat healthy and be more active to set a good example for my kids. But it’s hard. I’m in a sedentary job and treats often appear (vendors bring in lunches and cookies, we celebrate co-workers birthdays with cakes, the kitchen is often full of goodies especially over the holidays, the vending machine calls my name). Can anyone share tips for avoiding temptation at work or suggest ideas I might suggest for non-food rewards/recognition? Employers have a stake in keeping us healthy, too. Do any of your employers encourage healthy eating and exercise? How? I used to take a brisk walk at lunchtime, but ‘Baby, it’s cold outside!’ Thanks for sharing.” —Trying to down-size

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

CHARLENE December 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm

BAG IT! but as far as what your company offers – make a suggestion. we did last year – no more food baskets for incentives – and they listened!! this year’s ‘holiday raffle’ winners got kindles. How awesome! Your company can’t do for you what they are unaware of – make the suggestion – we did and just got the best surprise ever – they listened!

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Barb December 16, 2011 at 9:41 am

Put a small strip of flesh colored medical tape (snug but not tight) around the base of two fingers. That helps remind me to not put my sticky fingers into things I shouldn’t. If it’s flesh colored tape chances are no one will even notice. If they do, it’s a good time to share a great tip!

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Min December 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

It is very hard to resist temptation at work. As far as the birthday celebrations, a long time ago we used to do a celebration for every birthday (if you had one today, we had food; if I had one three days from now, we had food). Now we have once a month celebrations for everyone having a birthday in that month. So that helped cut down a lot. (We don’t just bring in cakes, sweets, etc., either. We bring in ‘real food’, and sometimes I bring in a big bowl of salad with dressings on the side as my contribution.)

I also bring in my own snacks, breakfast, etc. (I was offered donuts this morning but stuck with my multi-grain Cheerios instead.)

It’s not easy. Temptation is a powerful thing. Celebrate the times when you were able to resist and remember how good that felt for the next time. Good luck! (We all need it!)

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Chris December 16, 2011 at 7:56 am

The best way to fight temptation is bring your own healthy snacks. When you get hungry you’re more likely to eat the first thing you find which is usually treats your co-workers bring in or anything in the vending machine. When you have your own snacks at hand you don’t walk around grazing. Try some peanut butter crackers, you’d be surprised how they take the hunger off from you! Crave something sweet? Try dried cranberries! Nuts are also a great snack. I try to eat a little snack every 3 hours and often skip lunch because I’m not hungry!

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solana December 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Keep walking! Even if it is cold you’ll warm up!

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Part-time working mom December 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I don’t know about the holiday treats, but regarding the vending machines, multiple employees here got together and asked management to remove the vending machine. Since we couldn’t resist the temptation, we asked that the temptation be removed.

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MaryJane December 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm

As you see something tempting, tell yourself “every bit helps” (in not giving into temptation). If you do take something irrestible, either eat it very slowly, savoring every bite, or eat as little as possible “just to be polite.”

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Amanda December 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

At my workplace, we have a Health and Wellness Committee that is always reminding us of ways we can be healthier. They sponsor exercise classes and fitness challenges. They worked with our dining facility to revamp it’s menu. They post a weekly newsletter with healthy eating articles.

When we celebrate a birthday or other special event, we might have some sweets, but there is always a healthy alternative offered. Specific departments will hand out granola bars or fruit instead of candy bars when giving treats.

Why don’t you go to your H.R. department and ask them if you can coordinate a committee where you work? I bet there are lots of people who are also trying to be fit that would like to change their surroundings and be involved in something like that.

If starting an organization-wide initiative isn’t an option, you can still succeed. Setting small goals for yourself and sticking to them will help you avoid temptation. You can also set an example with your co-workers by bringing in healthy treats and snacks instead of the usual junk food. People will be appreciative of this and it might encourage them to do the same.

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