Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Candy Jar Conspiracy...

You're at work.  It's 2:30 pm and your energy level is less than optimal.  You decide to get up and take a short break to stretch your legs and refill your water bottle.  You walk past the desks of your coworkers; and what began as a seemingly innocent journey just took a turn for the worst.  First you pass Donna's desk and score a mini Snickers, next comes Ted and he's got Hershey Kisses, and then there's Terri with the M&M's.  Finally, you make it to the water fountain, fill your bottle, and head back; this time starting with M&M's.  By the time you finally get back to your desk it's 3:15.  While the break was good and the conversation a nice diversion, you are now on a sugar high with the inevitable 'crash' just around the corner...

Does this sound familiar?  It might not play out exactly like that but you have to admit falling prey to workplace goodies.  The cold, hard reality is - if the food is there most of us will eat it; whether it be out of a feeling of obligation (think office birthdays), or impulse the results are the same.  A study, published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2006, looked at the candy eating habits of 40 office administrative assistants during a four week period.  The research group reported that when candy was visible in an opaque, covered dish the group ate an average of 3.1 pieces of chocolate per person.  Switching to a clear, covered dish resulted in an additional 2.5 pieces per day and when the dish was moved closer to the participants (so they could reach it sitting in their desks); they consumed 2.1 more pieces on top of what they had before.  So, in a clear, covered dish at arm's length the admin assistants averaged 7.7 pieces of chocolate per day.  Bottom line = Bad news for the waistline!!  Grabbing two pieces of candy per day can add up to 480 calories to your weekly intake.  Do that for a year and you've successfully added 7 pounds to your physique.

Keep this in mind as Easter approaches.  Chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs, Peeps, and jelly beans are everywhere.  This year the National Retail Federation is forecasting a "sweet" increase in sales up from $17.29 per person last year to $18.55 per person this year.  Overall $2.1 BILLION dollars will be spent on Easter candy. This is NOT a good thing.  Not only is there the temptation of the kids' candy and the treats in the homes of family and friends, but there will no doubt be office treats too.  First up, we battle the "pre-holiday warm-up" candy brought in by festive coworkers and then there's the post-holiday "get this crap out of my house" candy that will be waiting to sabotage your best efforts. 

Well, you've been warned and the facts ain't all "sugar and honey".  The best way to avoid temptation is to go in with a game plan.  Have healthy snacks on hand - raw vegetables, jerky, etc., don't let yourself get over hungry, and try writing down your goals - carrying them with you as a constant reminder. Also, stay hydrated and ask your supervisor to make the office a "junk food free zone".  If you do succumb to temptation don't let it break you.  Learn from the experience and move on! 



  1. I'm glad I don't work in a office anymore. Between the multiple candy dishes (I used to keep one on my desk, too), the morning bagels, the leftover birthday cakes, the various cafeterias nearby (I used to work at a university), and the vending machine down the hall, my BG regulation took a beating for too many years and I'm paying the price now.

    I also don't shop at supermarkets, convenient stores, or discount department stores very often anymore either. I don't at all miss the holiday candy displays that seem to be earlier throughout the year than every before.

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