By Cathy Garrard, SELF magazine
We've noticed that the candy jar has replaced the watercooler as the workplace hot spot: By midafternoon, the bowl sitting on the SELF research desk gets more traffic than Google. (We're not alone: Fifty-two percent of you say you share a candy stash with coworkers, and 23 percent dig into it at least once a day, a Self.com poll reports.)
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A little treat now and then is no big deal-in fact, it can help keep you from feeling deprived-but the easy availability of fattening freebies often crowds out more nutritious snacks and causes weight gain. "Some people can pass it up, but others get in the habit of eating candy regularly without realizing it," says Pat Vasconcellos, R.D., a spokeswoman in Boston for the American Dietetic Association. Here's how five different goody-grazing personalities can indulge without overdoing it.
1. The Socializer
Is this you? You check in with the bowl regularly, catching up on office gossip and last night's TV highlights while noshing.
Why you do it: It's the company, not the candy, you're seeking, but that doesn't stop you from popping several pieces.
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The sweet fix: Pick up a hard candy like a Jolly Rancher, which takes a long time to eat and has only 24 calories.
2. The Robot
Is this you? Like clockwork, you practically sleepwalk to the jar every day for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Why you do it: "Your energy may dip because you aren't eating nutrient-dense foods frequently enough," says Lisa Dorfman, R.D., a psychotherapist in Miami.
The sweet fix: If you're a creature of habit, get on a new and improved routine. "In addition to a nutritious lunch, have a 100- to 150-calorie snack, such as an apple or an ounce of soy nuts, on hand for later," Dorfman says.
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3. The Stress Muncher
Is this you? When deadlines loom, you grab fistfuls of chocolate to calm your nerves.
Why you do it: "Stress depletes serotonin," Dorfman says. Some people stimulate feel-good brain chemicals with food.
The sweet fix: Being social can also recharge you, so ring up a pal, Dorfman says.
4. The Candy Keeper
Is this you? Maintaining the bowl is your job, and it's stocked with your favorites. Proximity means you indulge often and unconsciously.
Why you do it: Being center stage and doling out treats gives as much of a rush as the sugar.
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The sweet fix: Remove the bowl from your desk. Candy consumption dropped by two thirds when the goodies were kept 6 feet away from snackers, according to a study done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
5. The Guilty Eater
Is this you? No matter why you're nibbling-whether it's hunger or boredom-you apologize for each piece.
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Why you do it: You feel less guilty voicing your regret.
The sweet fix: Stop looking at a candy calorie as the enemy. "It's fine to have an occasional treat if you're eating well 90 percent of the time," Vasconcellos says.
More from SELF:
- 10 Ways to Lose Weight Like a Guy
- 20 Superfoods for Flat Abs
- Drop 10 Pounds With the New SELF Challenge
- 6 Moves to Six-Pack Abs
- 100 Calorie Treats You Will Love
Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio