Can we PLEASE once and for all, ditch the office candy dish?!
In my practice, I hear this all the time, “I eat so well, it’s just the candy dish at work… I can see it from my desk, and I have NO willpower!”
Consider this a request to all readers that holdeth the Official Office Candy Dish - halt and desist. You, my kind friends, have become enablers. I know, you get to be the bearer of sugary love, and entertain, if only for one brief moment, each co-worker that is lured to your desk by the promise of sweet relief from the monotony of the day. I know. You are the siren of promise that instant joy is just one Hershey’s Kiss away. There is something so wonderful about being needed isn’t there?
Maybe too, you feel you can't stop. That you are the sole purveyor of candy, that you are the relied upon, the venerated. Perhaps you’ve spent years honing your skill of perfect balance between creamy chocolate, hard candies and chewy fruities. You know that peanut M&Ms are preferred to original. You know no one will reach for the mini Tootsie Roll unless it’s the only one left. But it never is, because you have back stock. And if there is one thing your co-workers can count on you for, other than doing your job, it’s filling that candy dish and keeping it full.
Maybe you sometimes secretly wish it were gone. Maybe, like the others, you have no defense against the power of sweet, sometimes chocolatey sometimes fruity-tangy goodness. Maybe your waist size has grown and you are all too aware that you must stop the distracted consumption. But how? This is your department, this is what people depend on you for, and you can’t let them down. You’re stuck.
I understand. I feel you. I feel the struggle and I’m here to say there is an answer, and it’s really, REALLY easy. You are two simple steps away from freedom. Freedom from the confines of the succubus bowl of cravings and cellulite, and the shackles of dependency to the dish.
Step 1: Throw the candy out. Do it now, don’t wait till it’s gone. Dump that sh*t. Don’t save a few that “so and so” might want, don’t send a group email to your co-workers about the impending life-shattering change only you know your office is on the precipice of. Just do it, or like in life, you’ll find 100 reasons not to.
Step 2: Refill it with actual food, with a single ingredient whole food that our bodies can digest and assimilate because it’s not made from 90% synthetic ingredients. Think apples, oranges, bananas, almonds, pistachios, you get the picture – real food. Or nothing, or you could completely untether yourself from your role as the Steward of Snacks and ditch the bowl altogether.
You might also want to include a note, especially if you go from candy dish overfloweth to barren landscape of actually relevant desk accoutrements. There will be lots of questions and to avoid being a broken record, write something simple like this: “Hi ya’ll. I know you came by looking for the sweet sugary stuff, but surprise! It’s not here! Have a super day!” Or you could be a little more empathetic and say something about how you actually care for the health and wellbeing of your office-mates and will only now be offering foods that support their bodies and have actual nutritive value. Because… 2016. We know better, we all do.
There is a third step, but this is only necessary if you get serious resistance. This will likely happen with a few co-workers depending on the size of your organization and your geography relative to warmth and sunshine (gloomy Pacific Northwest-beware).
If and when someone comes by to subtly let you know their disapointment via snide remark, you really only have one option: raise that middle finger. It’s likely this a-hole is someone you’ve already compiled a list of reasons to hate and now is your chance, with this compellingly compassionate act of welfare, to let them know your true feelings.
The truth is, most people will resist on some level. But that’s what people do, they resist change, even when it’s good. Soon the resistance will fade out and transition quite to gratitude. Soon, you will become a reminder of health and genuine interest in the wellbeing of your office staff. You might even get a few Thank You notes, you might have people linger longer by your desk to pop trail-mix and talk about the LBs they’ve lost since giving up the mid-day candy binging. Most importantly though, you can feel good about having made a choice for yourself and others that you can stand for – you’ve single-handedly replaced the War of Willpower your office-mates faced with a reminder that there is always another alternative.
Now you can know you are helping in one small but profound way to fight the growing epidemic of pre-diabetes and obesity (more than 2/3 of Americans are considered overweight or obese).
Now you can be that beautiful beacon of change and possibility, showing that there is a better way.
Now you can forge, one Granny Smith at a time, a path towards liberation, showing that choice is really as simple as the convenience of what you have around you.
Now, get back to work.