For many of us, going to work means structure and routine and therefore easier sane eating. However, this is often not true in the month of December—when it can seem like everyone feels obliged to bring cookies, candy, their famous holiday torte, their gift tins of chocolate and sugared nuts. Then there’s also the holiday lunch buffet, and maybe the after-hours office party, too.

Some of this is fun, but some of it indeed feels obligatory. And the hard-to-resist food really adds up. While an occasional treat is fine, daily platefuls can throw eating and weight off track for weeks or even months to come. I know that many do worry about all those cookies, and try to resist, but not always successfully.

To minimize the pull of those treats, talk to coworkers who you know share your healthy eating goals, or a desire to keep weight off. Maybe you can create some solutions together. Maybe you can suggest limits on how much or how many days a week treats come to work. Maybe you can ask people to keep their goodies at home, or at least out of common view. Or maybe you can simply support each other in keeping to your own limits.

Here are some other ideas:

-ASK those who bring gifts to think of fruit baskets instead of cookies or candy.
-YOU CAN BE the person to bring a veggie platter or fruit salad to the buffet—just to be sure at least one alternative “munchie” exists that won’t add lots of calories.
-PRACTICE TRAINING YOURSELF to ignore the tempting plates. Tell yourself, “That’s really not for me.” And shift your attention elsewhere. Repeat as needed.
-CHOOSE the treats you like best ahead of time, rather than just grabbing what looks appealing. Not everything is special enough to make the extra calories worth it. In other words, survey everything, then choose carefully.
-GIVE AWAY OR THROW AWAY goodies or leftovers after a certain period. It’s really OK not to have the sweet basket out all week, and it’s not wasted just because it’s not on your hips.
-INVITE people to walk with you during breaks or lunchtimes—walk around your building or even up and down stairs if you don’t have a good outdoor route.

If you work to make a change or two this December, you’ll probably find the next one, and then the next, easier to move through feeling good about yourself and your choices.