I sometimes work in elementary schools, teaching kids about self-confidence and respect through movement and music. I love the school environment; the teachers, principals and support staff are all so patient and inspiring. They are forming our future. The work they do with the kids is priceless. I have eternal respect for them and what they do.

I also have one more reason to shake my head and wonder how they do it. I am referring to how they manage to stay healthy with the number of constant temptations presenting themselves in the teachers’ lounge. If you are a teacher or if you have been in a teachers’ lounge, you will agree that some schools are a calorie paradise. When children bring treats to their teacher, it always ends up on the tables in the teachers’ room. Every day, at recess and lunch, these treats look at you and yell your name until you finally give in and grab a bite, like everyone else.

I have developed a strategy. I lie.

When I get offered a piece of chocolate, or cake or pie, or homemade Nanaimo bar, etc., I respond: “No thank you, I am allergic.” It eliminates a lot of discussions back and forth. Firstly, it prevents me from sounding like the ‘food snob’ who responds: “No, I don’t eat that, it is not healthy”.

It would make everyone feel pretty bad as they are finishing their bite. I certainly don’t need to be letting them know that they are making a terrible mistake in leaving these treats around all the time. It is none of my business. It is there. I cannot control the environment I am in. However, I can control my reaction to it. And in saying that I’m allergic, it shuts down the conversation. Instead of the response: “Come one, just one bite won’t kill you”, the ‘allergic’ word somehow diffuses all come-backs.

Secondly, if by any chance, I spend too much time in the teachers’ lounge and suddenly start being tempted to reach out for a piece of chocolate, I am quickly reminded by my inner-voice: “Well, you can’t have one now because you just told everyone that you were allergic.” The desire to keep my strategy secret and not uncover my lie is stronger than the desire to eat the sweets. It works for me. Try it.

In a way, it is not really a lie, because to be honest, I don’t think our bodies are made for junk food, it does make us sick, so somehow, it is kind of true.
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