Peer pressure is something that everyone is familiar with and has experienced at some point in their lives. It’s present everywhere – at schools, home, and the workplace. Although peer pressure is usually associated with drugs and teens, it also exists among adults. Within the last year, I switched jobs and now have all men as bosses. The one thing that I have noticed is the peer pressure at my workplace, and how it ALWAYS revolves around food, and not healthy food either. After talking to a few people, I realized that this food peer pressure in the workplace is more common than I realized. It’s easy to fall into the habit of giving into the food pressures, but when you prefer to eat clean or are trying to be healthier, withstanding these pressures can be very difficult. I’ll share the ways on how I maintain my healthy eating lifestyle while avoiding the food peer pressures that surround me. 

Almost on a daily basis, my bosses order out or have a meeting catered. These foods are always high carbohydrates, high fat, little protein, fried, or greasy. Rarely do I eat any of the food they order. If anything, I bring a pastry home for a treat for later (I have a BIG sweet tooth). Sometimes they come in already thinking about what to get for lunch.

For how often they offer food, I have to say that I am pretty persistent when I say “no thanks.” They keep asking too. You would think after a few “no thanks” the asking would cease. However, I’ve noticed that the food pressures have gone to a new level. Along with asking if I want any of the ordered food, I now hear comments on how I never eat, I am too small, that I’m all bones, and sometimes that I’m too strict.

At times I would get frustrated because I constantly felt like I was being judged and I was always trying to explain myself. I would take the comments personally, and the comments would mess with my head. This is a bad cycle to get into. You don’t need to explain yourself to anyone when it’s your life. I know the reasons why I started eating clean, and it’s important to me. I do indulge occasionally, but prefer to stick to my clean eating during the week. When I am constantly asked to eat, I remind myself of my reasons. It did take time for me to get to this point with the food pressures. It’s difficult in the beginning, but the more you remind yourself of your reasons and don’t take it personally, the easier it gets to say “no thanks” to food pressures.

I also make sure that I am prepared for my day. I always plan my meals the day before, and always bring my own snacks and lunch to work. My stubbornness helps too. I have always been somewhat resilient towards peer pressure. The more I am pressured the more I dig my heels into the ground. For me this is just a natural response. This makes saying no over and over much easier.

I understand that not everyone has this ability with peer pressure, and that it can truly have a negative effect on a person. That’s why it’s important to remind yourself of your goals, why you started or why you want to start eating healthy, not necessarily clean.  We all have different goals and aspirations in life, and we all come from a different backgrounds. So for someone to think they know who you are and how you should eat is preposterous. No one knows you or your body the way you do. Stay strong.