|unrealistic that the hand appears to be taking a singular candy
For years. I have seen entries like this on client’s food journals “2 mini Reese’s” or “4 Starbursts”. I know full well the source of this candy and it’s not the vending machine or a well-planned treat. “Tell me about the candy” I usually say. Clients then describe that person in the office with the candy bowl. Don’t we all know that person? Please correct me, if I am making assumptions, but I believe this person is generally female, her desk is in full view of others, she is outgoing and you know what? She doesn’t really eat the candy.
This candy bowl received some press recently. In April the Wall Street Journal ran a piece entitled “The Battle of the Office Candy Jar
.” Brian Wasink, author of Mindless Eating, was quoted saying “even for a person with the greatest resolve, every time they look at a candy dish they say, ‘Do I want that Hershey’s Kiss, or don’t I?’ At the 24th time, maybe I’m kind of hungry, and I just got this terrible email, and my boss is complaining—and gradually my resolve is worn down.”
It seems that the converse of “out of sight out of mind” or “in sight on your mind” is true with food. Research, yes research, has shown a transparent container or bowl and candy “within reach” further increase candy consumption.
From my vantage point, the candy bowl owner has always been a bit of a foe. My motivated clients set off for work with their crudité and food journal in tow. Sure, we’re all responsible for what ultimately goes in our mouths but the candy bowl doesn’t help. I’ve viewed the candy bowl person as a saboteur right up there with the “friend” who brings a pie to your house knowing full well you’re trying to lose weight or mothers or MIL’s who ask you to “try a little” of weight gain food A or B.
Last week, I met with a client I hadn’t seen in some time. We exchanged pleasantries and it wasn’t three minutes before the candy bowl came up. The twist is that my lovely client had become the candy lady. She explained that having the candy (did I mention the client cooks every night and only uses organic produce?) in her words “helped foster a sense of community at work.” Her superior actually asked her to remove the bowl as children were coming in to eat the candy (her office is in a school). My client didn’t budge. And to bust my earlier theory she did eat the candy. We joked; I asked her if a fruit bowl would build community, perhaps a healthier community? She said they did have bananas and oranges but kept the candy there too.
I advise clients to enforce a no candy bowl eating policy (and I’m here to help just #TIDEI or tweet it don’t eat it). It’s not that a couple pieces of candy will ruin any food plan. It’s that the couple of pieces and a couple more add up (to what estimates suggest is over five pounds a year) and are rarely satisfying. A well planned treat, of your choice, in a social setting is much more strategic. And I’m still hopeful the communal fruit bowl (or nut bowl) takes off. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.
There’s more to that little bowl than meets the eye and we all have candy bowl memories. My grandmother had a bowl of those coffee candies (black and white wrapper) whose name I can’t recall. And my dad was a Werther’s guy. There’s something inviting about that bowl and, as I’ve learned, the candy bowl owner is fully aware of that.
Have you been in an office with a candy bowl woman? Or is the candy person ever male? What do you think is the psychology of the candy bowl? And can you help remind me what those coffee candies are (not nips)?