As a Toronto personal trainer, I am convinced that office culture is entirely responsible for me being busy with clients all the time (not complaining, just saying). I am sure that if all office jobs disappeared one day, the entire fitness industry would become obsolete. Working in the office, you will gain weight – not only because of the long hours sitting on a chair, but also due to the lack of healthy office snacks. Unless your office is already doing it, I decided to write this blog to help you bring healthy office snacks into your office, or at least to say no to the unhealthy ones that are already there!

It’s Linda’s birthday….let’s meet in the lunch room at 2!

Who else dreads this inevitable birthday email at work? Almost on a weekly basis someone is having a birthday, baby, wedding or leaving party in the office. And there is always cake, or cupcakes or donuts.

Ditto for morning meetings, team lunches and that super-nice-yet-annoying co-worker who wants you to try their homemade shortbread.

Fitting into office culture can mean eating the way your coworkers eat. Sharing food brings people together and is seen as a sign of camaraderie. Politely declining these sugary offerings usually does not go over well.

But I baked these myself!

Go on…just have one.

Don’t tell me you’re on a diet!

 According to Stats Canada, over 20 per cent of Canadian adults are overweight, and that percentage is expected to increase. We know that sedentary lifestyles and eating high-sugar foods contributes to this epidemic, yet hours of sitting and eating junk food has become ingrained in office culture.

You may feel that your career choice and a fit body are mutually exclusive, but they don’t have to be.

not so healthy office snacks

Change the subject

Turning down a Tim Bit by saying you’re on a diet is almost guaranteed to elicit eye rolls from your colleagues. Sure, how long will this last? they’ll be thinking. You might feel embarrassed to tell people about your weight loss goals, so why explain it at all?

Many people need to refuse food because of allergies, religious reasons, pregnancy etc. It’s really no one’s business why you’ve passed on a food offering. If someone insists or presses your for reasons why, simply change the conversation as a subtle hint that you don’t want to discuss it further. For example:

Coworker: How big of a slice would you like?

You: Oh, none for me thank you.

Coworker: What? Why not?

You: I’m fine without, but thank you.

Coworker: You mean you don’t want any? But…why?

You: No thanks. Hey, I hear this is Linda’s 50th birthday! I wonder if she has anything special planned to celebrate?

Change the office culture

Someone has to plan ahead to bring food and snacks in for special occasions, so why not you? Talk to your boss or social committee and ask if you can help provide healthy office snacks for the staff. Who’s going to say no to that?

For morning meetings you could suggest fruit and yogurt, veggies and dips for afternoon celebrations, and share your dietician-approved baked goods like these oatmeal cookies to show everyone you can still enjoy sweets.

Practice safe snacking

Maybe you really do want to indulge in the occasional binge-fest. We’re all human after all! There’s no need to swear off junk food forever. Part of the Build My Body Beautiful diet philosophy is being able to enjoy life while still looking fit and fabulous.

If you’re following one of our diet plans, you’ll be packing healthy lunches and snacks throughout the day and meeting your calorie and macro-goals. Once a week you can treat yourself to a dessert or pub lunch as long as you keep your portions in check.

The best plan is to save it for something you really like. So, if you don’t much care for the pizza lunch party but really want to enjoy afternoon cake, use one of the above strategies for the pizza and have your cake without any guilt or regrets!

Best of all, once your co-workers see you reaching your fitness goals, they’ll start asking you how you did it. You may see more volunteers to bring in celery and hummus and other healthy office snacks to the next office birthday party.

As a Toronto personal trainer, it is my job to help clients achieve their weight loss goals, no matter the circumstances. If you need help developing healthy strategy to achieve your goals, book a free appointment with me and let’s start getting in shape!