Chocolate and bags of chips from the hallway vending machine, happy hour margaritas and nachos with co-workers – temptations abound during the work day, and it’s not always easy to stay away from junk food. We know that sugar is bad for our health: a recent study found that an excess consumption of sugar (25 percent or higher of your daily calories) increases the risk of heart disease. And consumption of fat and sodium isn’t exactly great for us either. But sticking to carrot sticks and salads isn’t much fun, and there are times when you deserve to enjoy yourself. Check out five situations for when you’re allowed to indulge in some junk food and cheat on your work diet.
See also: How to Create a Diet Plan
1. Your Boss' Birthday
Picture this: you and your co-workers gather in the office break or lunch room. It’s your boss’ birthday. Maybe you all sing “Happy Birthday”, but either way, do you want to be the only one not eating the cake because you want to stick to your diet? Of course you don’t have to eat the cake every time an employee has a birthday – it’s perfectly okay to decline in most situations. But if it’s your boss’ birthday, it seems impolite to turn it down. Enjoy a piece (make it a small one, if you wish) and don’t worry. It fosters office morale to engage in celebrations together, and you definitely want all the good morale you can get when it comes to the person who is making major decisions like whether you should get that promotion you’ve had your eye on.
2. Celebrating a Team Victory
Have you and your company been working for months or even years to reach a goal, and now you’ve made it happen? Congrats! Now you and your co-workers can go for a celebratory dinner. It’s beneficial to celebrate with your fellow workers because it shows that it’s not all work all the time. Think of the two possible scenarios: simply congratulating each other and then heading home or going out to celebrate together. Of course, the latter is the only way that company morale will be boosted. The bad news: research has discovered that most American workers don’t hear anything positive about their work. So, enjoy the opportunity of an evening out with your co-workers. Don’t order salad or steamed vegetables, either: allow yourself to truly engage in the moment, and order whatever you want.
3. Getting That Promotion
Finally got named partner at your law firm? Snagged the job title above you when your co-worker moved on? Patting yourself on the back for a job well done and a promotion rightfully earned just won’t feel the same with the same old healthy food that’s part of your daily routine. Pick your indulgence, whether it’s a cupcake from that shop near the office or the chocolate bar you always avoid. You deserve it. It’s not every day that you get your dream job.
4. The Occasional Happy Hour
All those calories will add up if you indulge every single Friday. But giving into happy hour with your co-workers every once in a while is completely acceptable. Of course, don’t imbibe too much – sticking to one drink is a smart idea, in case you become known as the employee who accidentally gossiped about the boss. It turns out that heading to happy hour is a significant way for you and your fellow workers to get to know each other. One in five people indulge in this practice once a month, so join in and order to your heart’s content whether you’re eyeing some sweet potato fries or the ever popular nachos.
5. Once a Week
The typical expert advice? Choosing one indulgence every week and making sure that you don’t go off the rails and eat poorly all day long. Instead, pick one weekly treat. No one said dieting was fun, and it’s hard work eating properly all of the time. In order to avoid developing unhealthy habits, such as a preoccupation with avoiding certain foods or eating "too" healthy, a once-a-week treat won’t hurt. In fact, it will help you stick to your diet the rest of the time.
See also: 5 Awesome Tools for Tracking Your Diet
It’s not possible to eat healthy all the time, and there’s no reason that you can’t give in and have some fun. These five situations, from celebrating your boss’s birthday to the occasional Friday glass of wine and nachos with co-workers, are good guidelines so you can indulge without guilt. You can always return to your work diet tomorrow.