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Office Hunger Games: Does your office environment undermine your diet?

RMS Office diets

Are you returning to the office today after a long weekend of  “Peak Chocolate”, smug in the knowledge that you are on one of your 500 calorie days of your 5:2 diet and that the lunch in your bag is a Deliciously Ella “Glowing Green" Juice, only to find that it’s your colleague’s birthday and a huge chocolate fudge cake is doing the rounds at morning coffee break? It may be harder to resist for those in PA and Secretarial Jobs than others: here’s why and our top tips on how to survive the office hunger games.


Secretaries and PAs are often the very people who are in charge of organising birthday treats and impressive snacks for long executive meetings (think croissants and pastries for breakfast meetings and doughnuts/cookies for afternoon meetings) so it can require a steely resolve to resist these goodies when they are right in front of you positively screaming out for you to indulge every time you walk past. (Researchers at Cornell University found that female secretaries ate nearly 6 x more chocolates if they were on an adjacent desk than if they had to stand up and walk to temptation).

Even worse is the insidious “office feeder” who positively relishes making their colleagues fall off the diet wagon with their “Oh go on, one won’t hurt” which can make you feel guilty for being a party pooper if you don’t indulge, especially if they have paid for the treats  themselves. 

What can we do to control the office snacking temptations and stick to our healthy eating plan? Preparation is the key.

  • Prepare healthy snacks for the week ahead on a Sunday so that your desk drawer is well stocked with healthy treats for those in between meal energy dips (think unsalted almonds, dried fruits, vegetable sticks). 
  • We often mistake hunger for thirst. When you feel a craving, get up and drink some water instead. 
  • Try to re-program your brain to visualise the mid morning or afternoon tea and biscuit break as a 10 minute exercise opportunity. Put your trainers on and run round the block or keep some hand weights by your desk. 
  • Ask your office manager if bowls of fruit can replace the plates of biscuits in meetings and the sweets at reception.
  • Announce your healthy eating intentions to colleagues and ask them to be supportive. 

Of course, we all need to indulge once in a while but the key is to make sure that it doesn’t become a daily habit. It’s a lot harder to maintain discipline in the office because we are not in complete control of the food environment, but the tips above can help you survive the Office Hunger Games! 

Finally, keep this mantra in your head next time you find yourself eying up the croissants – NWGFF (Not Worth Getting Fat For)!

Source: Mail Online, 10/08/2010 "Beware the office feeder"

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