A new study has found that the most common place to break your diet and succumb to peer pressure to eat unhealthily is at your place of work. Why is this the case and what can you do to fight the pressure you may feel at work to violate the rules of your dieting plan?

About 29% of people say that their colleagues pressure them to eat more. Whether that pressure comes in the form of teasing about their diet or ordering food for them when they go out to eat, the effects can be disastrous for somebody sincerely trying to loose weight and improve their nutritional health. Often times people bring in treats to the office to celebrate special occasions and achievements and nobody wants to disappoint people by refusing to eat one. There is a direct link between your friends’ attitude towards your weight loss goals and your weight loss success. This is why team based weight loss competitions and support systems are so successful. Nobody wants to isolate themselves by not partaking in office fun but they also don’t want to be ridiculed for choosing to abstain from unhealthy food choices.

Dietitians recommend having a response rehearsed for when friends and co-workers offer you food you simply cannot afford to consume. Let them know that you love their food but that it is important you improve your health by abstaining from fattening foods. By framing it as an issue with your health as opposed to an issue with your appearance you’ll be more likely to gain their support. If a co-worker still doesn’t understand why you are refusing there food take the time to sit down with them over lunch or a walk to really explain why you are dieting and what your ultimate goals are. With any luck you may find that co-workers start bringing in healthier snacks and start encouraging you to reach you goals.

It is also a good idea to have healthy snacks on hand at the office to avoid temptation and to fend off hunger. Some good easy snacks include almonds, yogurt, veggies, low-fat cheese, apple slices, tea and high-fiber cereal bars. If co-workers see you snacking they’ll be less inclined to feel the need to offer you food. If you go into the break room already full you’ll be less likely to spring for a piece of birthday cake or a fistful of chips. Dieting takes discipline especially when your co-workers surround you with temptation but remember the end result is well worth the self-control.

Robert Boroff Executive Profile Managing Director Reaction Search International

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