Corrupting Coworkers

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Sticking to a diet or routine can be hard enough when the only conflicts you have are with yourself — resisting that internal temptation to eat the whole bowl of spaghetti, or to watch TV when you should be going for your walk. So it stands to reason that when other people are trying to undermine your resolve, the frustration can be overwhelming. But what kind of people would do such a thing? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, those people may be your coworkers.

The article describes the results of a survey taken by clients of a doctor-supervised weight-loss clinic franchise. Among those asked, 29% said that coworkers pressured them to eat more, made fun of their diets, or ordered food for them with the knowledge that it wasn’t allowed in their diet. According to a dietitian for the clinics, several factors can motivate coworkers to apply such pressure: They might feel abandoned by their dieting colleague, they might feel jealous if they would like to lose weight themselves, or they might see a slimmer coworker as a professional threat. And because of the social conventions surrounding shared food — especially if it is a homemade treat — resisting the pressure can be extremely difficult and may even feel impolite.

According to the survey, coworkers aren’t the only people who apply diet-related pressure. Friends and relatives rank high on the list, while spouses are a lesser source of pressure. While the most common form of pressure consisted of others trying to make dieters eat foods they weren’t supposed to, this may not the be worst form of pressure; 35% of respondents said that others made jokes about their diet. While dieters most often cited not wanting to insult others as the reason they felt pressure to break with their diets, 41% noted that they didn’t want to call attention to their weight or diet.

Have you felt any pressure from your coworkers concerning your diet or diabetes self-management tasks? Have coworkers been supportive, an obstacle, or mostly neutral? Have you come up with any strategies for resisting pressure to eat things you shouldn’t? Have you ever felt uncomfortable tending to self-management tasks around coworkers? If so, how have you adapted to the situation? Leave a comment below!

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