Christmas cookies: the struggle

Today is my favourite day of the year—Christmas Eve! I start to get sad when the holidays are over, mostly because I don’t feel like my habit of putting sparkles on everything is as socially acceptable post-December. This Christmas Eve, my mother and sister and I are going to get messy and bake Christmas cookies: think chocolate chip, peanut butter, snowballs, thumbprint, and some fudge too! Now, that’s a lot of cookies, and while I’m a big giver when it comes to baked goods, it’s still a lot of temptation, don’t you think? I’d lie to you and say that this is more than we normally throw together, but it’s actually missing the pizelles, no-bake cookies, and gingerbread bad boys we normally throw into the mix.

Our cookies are sadly not quite this pretty.

Our cookies are sadly not quite this pretty.

Even in the midst of all that deliciousness, I’ve been the girl who has sworn off cookies in the past. No desserts for me this year, I’d think. I’m too big to be eating those.

But the same thing almost always happened: I’d inevitably smell my mom’s chocolate chip cookies and want one realllll bad. I’d see a broken cookie and tell myself it didn’t count since it wasn’t a whole one. By bedtime, you can be certain I’d have eaten my fill of cookies, probably in hiding, ashamed of my lack of willpower.

One thing I’m learning when it comes to special treats, especially seasonal ones, is that it is mentally a heck of a lot healthier to just make room for a cookie here or a piece of cake there. I can’t say I’ve perfected this, but I do know I go to sleep a lot happier if I’ve decided to go into a holiday or event with a game plan and some room for a treat or two.

If you’re like me, you stress a bit about all the goodies around this time of year. I think that’s okay, but you might as well think productively about it and come up with a game plan. I took a vacation with my boyfriend to Mexico earlier this month (part of my blog hiatus) and I was admittedly a little nervous about the all-inclusive nature of our travel. But I took smart advice and decided to go in knowing that I’d be having treats, but with a plan so it wouldn’t be a free for all. I decided to go for a treat each day—and some days I even found myself grabbing a dessert and deciding against it not out of guilt, but because I really didn’t want or need what I’d taken. It was a pretty empowering feeling for someone who used to feel like she couldn’t even keep cocoa powder in her pantry for fear of figuring out some way to overeat it.

Putting the desserts to good use.

Putting the vacay desserts to good use.

Just like with vacations, holidays can be filled with foods that we don’t normally have around. Unlike vacations, holidays can be stressful and busy and there are obligations to eat your grandma’s pie or your sister’s turkey. Do your best to anticipate this, go in with a game plan that says it’s okay to have some foods that might not be top notch nutritionally, and to truly enjoy them.

I think a quote is a great way to wrap up this post, along with a challenge. Start to think about how you want to feel when 2015 rolls around and you look back on this set of holidays. It’s up to you to decide. Do you want to feel like you were in control of your choices? Do you want to prove to yourself that you aren’t out of control around goodies? Do you want to show yourself that you can keep exercising through the most wonderful time of the year? Have a plan and remember that you’re in charge. Then..give yourself the gift of experiencing what you want, where you are, and what you’ve decided to do (or eat, or buy, or whatever) this Christmas. No apologies. I hope it’s merry!

“You will never stop wanting more until you allow yourself to have what you already have. To take it in. Savor it. Now is a good time to do that . . .” 
Geneen Roth



2 thoughts on “Christmas cookies: the struggle

  1. I have stopped looking at cookies as bad. I spent a lot of years in extreme food deprivation.
    If i feel like it AND i like it -i eat it. If it is crappy i stop.
    It works for me…

    Enjoy your family time and taste the cookies. The moment is important.

  2. I wish this was something I could manage to do. I like the quote about allowing yourself to have what you already have. Giving yourself permission to eat something and allowing yourself to own that power over it.
    For me, it’s a constant battle that begins with eating something ‘bad’ to the point of ridiculous excess, then berating myself for it for days and repeating the cycle over again. I’m not able to balance this desire for certain foods, that I view as treats, with my desire to live in a healthful way yet. But I will keep working on it.

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