Should you tell your colleagues that you’re on a diet?

by Ali on January 9, 2008

I tend to keep quiet about new eating regimes, except to close friends or family. Assess the people in your office before choosing to confide in them: will they be supportive, bemused, critical or actively destructive?

  • Supportive – You may have like-minded colleagues who are trying to lose weight, shape up or improve their eating habits. There are practical ways to help one another (sharing packed lunch ideas, taking turns to buy fruit for a communal bowl) and you’ll be less likely to give up at the first hurdle if others are cheering you on.
  • Bemused – If everyone else in your office is effortlessly thin, you might find that they simply can’t understand your preoccupation with your diet. In this case, it’s probably easiest to get on quietly with your plans: it’s unlikely anyone will notice or comment.
  • Critical – Once you start enthusing about your new diet or exercise regime, someone will undoubtedly tell you that you’re going about it completely wrong. They may be an Atkins aficionado who insists you should ban all carbs, an uphill-cycling zealot, or someone who sees it as their business to tell you “you shouldn’t be eating that” if you glance at a slice of office birthday cake.
  • Destructive – These people might seem to be friendly, taking an interest in how your diet’s going, how much weight you’ve lost – then insisting on “rewarding” you with their latest home-baked chocolatey concoction. Some do mean well; others, though, may be actively trying to sabotage you, envious of your success.
  • It’s up to you what to tell your colleagues. I’d advise keeping fairly quiet about your efforts in the early days: let close friends know, but don’t send an email to everyone in your company proclaiming that no chocolate will pass your lips till Easter. They’ll only see it as a challenge to make you give up! If you need to politely turn down offers of high-cal foods/drinks, try some of the tips in the section on “Curious colleagues” in the article about office lunch ideas.

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