Most of us can pick healthy items from a menu. Eating well gets a little harder if you are not the one doing the “picking” and things enter especially dicey territory when the “orderer” is your boss. Wednesday I was interviewed for an upcoming story in Weight Watchers Magazine  about lunch and the issues one faces when trying to be healthy in the workplace. Oftentimes, it can feel as though there are two choices healthy or keeping things harmonious but I don’t feel it has to be one of the other. So, what do you do if your boss suggests a steak lunch or pizza for “the team”?
  1. Supplement versus Squabbling there are times “I don’t eat pizza” isn’t going to be well received. Suggest a healthy addition. For example “can we order a green salad with the pizza?” Chances are others will partake once it’s there and may have just been nervous to say anything. Once food arrives you can have salad and a little pizza or just salad if you so choose.
  2.  People look at what you order not what you eat (for the most part) when your boss invites you for a glass of wine or steak lunch, sometimes you can “go along” and if you’re not interested in what’s in front of you, you can control calories by sipping or nibbling rather than finishing.
  3. Emily Post Could Order What She Wanted and flattery may get you somewhere. “That looks amazing but I’m going to try the fish” or “Thank you so much for the invitation but I need to get some work done”.
  4. Doctors Orders whether it’s reflux or cholesterol if someone can try to steamroll you into eating junk you can push back with “I’m not allowed to eat short ribs with my cholesterol level”. At times little white lies are better than lots of white food.
  5. Befriend a Broccoli Buddy or an Unsweetened Union- you don’t want to be the onlyseemingly squeaky wheel or rotten apple. Instead, seek out like minded coworkers and rely on each other for positive reinforcement or as a buffer between the boss.
If these strategies sound a little manipulative, think about what’s involved with using your power to coerce someone into eating or drinking the way you do.  With some forethought “promotion pudge” is avoidable. And kudos to the bosses out there encouraging employees to exercise and eat well. In my opinion, that’s power put to good use.
 Have you ever been in a work situation where your “superiors” pressured you to eat or drink things you didn’t want to? What did you do? Ever experienced nutritional harrassment?

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