Curse the Community Candy Jar

62207901Picture it: It’s a Tuesday afternoon and you’ve been trying diligently to eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and fit back into your skinny pants. But it’s only Tuesday, and you have a long week ahead. You shuffle back into your office, cubicle maze, work space – whatever – after your bunny food lunch break, and along the way you pass a giant glass jar of chocolate or candy that you’ve been avoiding like the plague. You’ve passed the damn jar four times already today and you just really want a chocolate (or five).

This is me every day. (Yes, pretty much every moment of every day at work feels like a Tuesday afternoon – the armpit of the week.) I work in a corner cubicle in a little department nook, and every day I pass the damn community candy jar what feels like a hundred thousand times. My willpower only stretches so far.

Some background: I work for a very health- and wellness-focused company. As a result, our vending machines don’t have candy bars or standard chips. They have protein bars, baked chips, apples, milk, and a variety of other things. But no chocolate. No candy.

So my coworkers in my department decided, long before I started working for this company, that they would supply their own candy for the team. Thus, the damn community candy jar. This was great at first. Walk to the bathroom, come back, and grab a handful of Hershey kisses on my way back to my desk. Go fill my water bottle, grab some candy. Come back from a meeting, grab some candy. Sweet. (Pun intended.)

Now that I’m stuck in a rut and trying desperately to keep my goals in focus, I imagine myself taking a baseball bat to that damn community candy jar, currently full of dark chocolate covered caramel and mini Three Musketeers candies.

Where there aren’t the community candy jars, there are the people who decide they just can’t keep that package of cookies in their house a moment longer, and leave them in the lunch room for everyone else to eat. Or they spent the previous night baking a sugary extravaganza of brownies, cake, or pastries – but it’s OK, they made them to share – so they bring them in and leave them in community areas where others who are trying to make healthy choices have to cover their eyes as they walk by so as to avoid the temptation.

So what do you do in moments like these when you’ve about hit the wall anyway, and now there’s sweets to avoid (or not) besides? Here are a few things I’m trying or plan to try:

  • Be prepared. To avoid temptation, I pop a few salted almonds and get back to work. Keeping healthy snacks on hand help keep me from feeling deprived.
  • Stay busy. When I’m busy and focused, I’m not thinking about the chocolate that’s calling my name through my too-quiet department.
  • Take a walk. Especially in the afternoon, the best thing I can do for myself is just get away from the area where the chocolate is taunting me.
  • Coming soon (I hope): Trade out the jar. By trading a glass jar for a tin or other opaque container, I won’t be able to see what I’m missing. Though this hasn’t happened yet, it might soon.

Eventually, I’m also going to figure out the burpee equivalent for each piece of candy (e.g., it would take 12 burpees to burn off the calories from that Reese’s peanut butter cup). If that doesn’t keep my hand out of the damn candy jar, nothing will.

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