Why I Don’t Bake Christmas Cookies

Hello.  My name is Dianne and I’m a sugarholic.  I went for two years without sugar.  Then, a colleague showed up with a box of Thin Mints.  It was so humiliating.  I ate half the box in 15 minutes.  I had to ask her to lock her cookies in a drawer, all the while hoping she would just hand me the other half of the box.

I’ve since learned that total deprivation leads to massive binges.  I try to include healthier indulgences like super dark chocolate and fruit smoothies sweetened only with a little honey.  Occasionally, we buy ice cream, but I only trust myself with a pint at a time.

I once consulted with a nutritionist who had me do an experiment with “limited supply foods.”  She had me choose a snack and portion it into small servings that totaled the number of calories a day I was willing to spend on junk.  Then, I stocked a cabinet next to the fridge with about 2 weeks’ worth of baggies.  I could eat 2 baggies a day and no more, but I had to look at the baggies every time I got a craving and tell myself, “If I run out, I’ll buy more.”

The first day, it was torture.  All I could think about was that cabinet full of goodies calling my name.  By the second day, I was doing better between snacks and didn’t find it so difficult to concentrate on other things.  By the third day, I only remembered to eat 1 baggie.  By the fourth day, I forgot to eat them both.  Those baggies suddenly became a nice surprise when I remembered to open the cabinet instead of a looming fiend trying to corrupt my good intentions.

This was an important lesson that I have since failed to apply:  when I think something is a limited supply, I will eat every bite as fast as possible.  The nutritionist described this as a survivalist response and said it’s common among people who grew up in homes where a particular type of food was restricted.

But how to apply this to holidays and Girl Scouts?  These truly are limited supplies.  My mother-in-law sent Pat and me a box of goodies last week.  It was a large assortment of homemade and German imports.  My half lasted approximately 2 days.  My husband took pity and shared some of his half with me.

Similarly, if I make Christmas cookies, I have a problem with the dough.  Frequently, the dough never makes it into the oven.  And, realistically, me making cookies more than once a year is so far-fetched it’s comical.  So, how do I convince myself that I can get more?

The thing is, I really enjoy these things.  The tradition of celebrating friends and family through indulging in delicious food is one I don’t want to give up.  I just want to be able to enjoy them a little at a time.

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