There’s a giant pan of gooey, double fudge brownies in the break room and some terrible soul left a note that says “Help Yourself!” – as if you needed any prompting. Your first instinct is to grab the spatula, cut a piece the size of small country and greedily devour it before anyone notices. Then you remember the crippling guilt you’ll feel later as you add up your daily intake of fats and refined sugars. You could take just a little nibble – but then you’ll be pining at your desk for the rest of the afternoon, daydreaming of chocolate castles. Isn’t there some sort of happy medium? Here are a few strategies to avoid going too far:
Don’t Deprive Yourself – Luckily, many doctors have cited that it’s perfectly fine to give into your “junk food” cravings from time to time, granted you keep it down to just one serving and it’s reserved only for special occasions, like indulging in one piece of chocolate every few days or a scoop of cheesy potato casserole on a holiday. In fact, by allowing yourself a little treat here and there, you’re less likely to binge later on.
Track Your Food – Keeping a calorie diary, or recording all of your meals through an online app will keep you accountable and, as we all know, no one is harder on you than you. As you see those nutrient-lacking empty calories add up, you’re more likely to slow down and make better choices.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind – If there is one particular food you simply cannot control yourself from polishing off every time it’s near, don’t keep it in the house. For example, if your weakness is Häagen-Dazs, don’t buy it by the gallon. Instead, head down to the local ice cream shop for a scoop once a month. This will help you control your portions while still enjoying your favorite snack.
Keep in mind that not all strategies work for everyone, and if you feel you have an eating disorder you should seek professional guidance. However, if you’re simply having a hard time watching your co-workers savor their brownies in the break room, cut a (very small) reasonably sized piece and enjoy along with them.