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by Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C.

If you go to an office every day, you've undoubtedly been at the mercy of co-workers, who can best be dubbed "sugar pimps."

No disrespect intended, but I'm sure you know to whom I'm referring.

You know, those sweetly smiling, eager-to-please colleagues who continually proffer cakes, cookies and donuts with such polite insistence that, despite your best efforts, your diet goes belly up. (Pun intended.)

You know, those annoying people - either amazingly slim or embarrassingly overweight - who always seem to have jars of candies on their desk to tempt and torture all who pass.

You know, those co-workers who mean no harm but annoy the heck out of you by constantly bringing "goodies" to work.

Sadly, many of us are forced to face "sugar pushers" on a regular basis. (But, by the way, working at home isn't much easier, as I can testify. We face other potentially diet-derailing challenges. More about that another time.)

Naturally, we all agree on one point at least - those sugar shovers at work should be handled with care, courtesy and maybe even compassion.

So rather than wail and rant about their annoying "babits" (bad habits), I'd like to come to your rescue by offering you some tips and tactics for dealing with these tricky situations.

Here are 7 things you can do to deal with those pervasive, sugary temptations that trip you up at work:

1. Just delay. (Do creative procrastination.)

When those candies, cookies and cakes on your co-workers' desks beckon, just hold off and do nothing for a while. Then, get involved with other things - tackle a work project you've been avoiding, start chatting with a colleague, take a walk around the block or up and down the stairs, etc. This creative procrastination - or positive inaction - will allow you to get some perspective on the situation.

2. Decide to be different from Pavlov's dogs.

Realize that if you give into those sweets at work, you'll be no better than those salivating creatures Pavlov conditioned years ago. Choose to be a human being with control over what you put into your mouth. You don't want to be a slave to silly candies and cookies, do you?

3. Get the sour news on sweet "treats."

Instead of mindlessly stuffing your face with all the sweets your co-workers want to share with you, study up on the harm those "goodies" can wreak. Learn, for instance, that too many sweets and quickie-carb foods may not only pile on the pounds but may also lead to mood swings, difficulty concentrating, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, brain fog, depression, severe PMS and much more.

4. Eat quality carbs first. Then have 1 or 2 polite bites.

So that you don't feel left out at work parties and functions, store a small amount of superior carbs, protein and fat in the work fridge. For instance, always keep on hand fiber-rich, nutrient-dense apples, oranges, pears or other fruits (preferably organic), as well as sliced carrots, celery, red pepper slices, fennel or other produce. Eat them with a little sugar-free almond butter or peanut butter, a slice of cheese or a hard-boiled egg. By snacking on healthier carbs first, you may find your co-worker's donuts or B-day cake have lost their appeal. But if you still feel left out after your snack, try taking a polite 1 or 2 bites (max). Then stop.

5. See yourself free of sweet work traps.

Envision yourself easily turning down those tempting desserts your co-workers offer. In addition, place positive, affirming notes or phrases on your desk or phone. For example, you could have slips of paper stating, "I eat only healthy foods at work. I am free."

6. Say no with sass!

Bring a sense of humor to work. Have some fun turning down your sugar-pushing co-workers.

7. Watch yourself like a lab rat.

Before you stuff your face with cookies, cakes and candies at work, step outside yourself and witness your behavior. What drives you to say yes to your co-worker? Why do you want those sweets? What will happen if you eat them? When do you most want to eat them? And so on. Observing yourself in this manner can prepare you to take positive action instead.

Ultimately, try to remember that you're the one in charge of what goes into your body. You're the person who has to step on your bathroom scale tomorrow. You're the individual who has to suffer - or benefit - from your food behavior.

So make your habit a healthy one that will bring you confidence, energy and good cheer.


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