How not to get fat when working at Ben & Jer

Often when you say the words ice, and cream, together, you think of two men. There’s Ben and theres Jerry. When I found out last summer that I had not only secured my Unilever placement but that it was marketing for Ben & Jerry´s I was ecstatic, I could have karamel sutra every day! I envisioned the whole team munching on clever cookie pots during meetings and caramel chew chew before the train home, but this initial excitement of free ice cream very quickly wore off.

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On my first day I was allocated my desk, directly in front of 15 freezers. These freezers were packed to the rim with every flavour of ice cream that Unilever had ever produced. Im talking Magnums, Vienetta, Cornetto, Walls, Carte D´or, the list goes on. There were ice cream tasting teams, there were ice cream meetings, there was even an ice cream R&D kitchen. The ice and the cream, was everywhere. It was then I realised that half the battle of this internship would be not to get fat.

You all know how it goes when it’s sunny outside, you’ve scoffed a big lunch, its hitting 2.13pm, and you can’t really justify that third coffee. You’re on your sugar low, you’re tired, not even hitting your head will keep you awake. But you look up, you hear the alluring hummmmm of the ice cream freezers calling your name. You have Ben on one shoulder, “just get the Greek Style, its 30% less fat.” Then you have Jerry on the other, “screw them all, its all or Nut-ting new chocolate core range.” Theres nothing you can do but walk up to the freezer in shame, and claim your pot. This was the London summer heatwave lunch time battle that I faced every day, for 3 months.

So after a week of pivoting between freezers and “testing” the vast range of flavours that Ben & Jerry´s had to offer, I had to come up with some sort of ice cream avoiding tactic. My first plan was to have a sweet lunch, so that I could not possibly eat any more sweet food for the rest of the day. It worked out for a few days, but really it was quite awkward eating my caramel yoghurt and raisins, followed by granola bars alone in the lunch hall. So this plan quickly passed.

There was my second plan, which was to go to the gym at lunch. This plan seemed to be a popular one, and in fact too popular as the changing rooms were rammed and the machines were too busy for my 30 minute slot. I ended up queuing to run for 10 minutes, to then not shower, to then have an ice cream in my smelly clothes.

Finally I came up with plan 3. I moved desk and I brought in bags of bananas and apples. 5 rows back in my fruit farm, I could not hear the hum of the freezer, and when I was weak for the karamel Sutra, I had two bananas, which was a mediocre substitute but it seemed to do the trick. So anyone else facing a freezer, or vendor, or kitchen this summer in your office, don’t fear. Move seat and buy fruit, you too can stay in shape.

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