I admit it. I have a sweet tooth and it is something that I guard against by not baking very often, not buying junky food that I know I would be tempted to eat, and just saying “No” when confronted with sweets that I don’t need nor really want.
There were many years that the junk food that abounds during this time of year appealed to me more than the actual event. It’s a sad statement to consider, but it is 100 percent true.
My favorite thing about Christmas parties wasn’t spending time with friends, but rather purchasing, making, and eating the junk. I’d pour through cookbooks looking for the most decadent dessert ever and then make two. One as a “trial” before the event to make sure it was tasty (and so I could eat more) and one to take to the event.
I’d spend a loooong time in the candy, snack, and baking aisle of the grocery store picking out red and green M&M’s, candy sprinkles, ingredients for gingerbread cookies, and more. I even ate those gross Little Debbie cakes shaped like Christmas trees. Conversely, I spent very little time in the produce department.
I also gained weight every single holiday during the decade I was obese even though I was supposed to be dieting.
Once I got to the party or social function I paid cursory attention to what was going on around me. I kept my eye on the food table thinking ahead to what I was going to eat and how much I could eat without feeling embarrassed. When the time can to get the food I often asked John to put some of my desserts on his plate so people wouldn’t think I was a pig.
At the end of the event, I’d always say “Yes” if someone asked me if I wanted to take home some leftover cookies or cakes. “For the kids,” I’d explain, knowing full well none of the children would see the first crumb. Instead I’d hide the junk in the refrigerator or pantry and eat it all myself the next day.
I don’t know if you were like I was, but the appeal of those special holiday foods was strong. Although I hated fruitcake, I loved sugar cookies shaped like Christmas trees and sprinkled with sugar. I bought Christmas candy for the kids as soon as the stores started putting it out right after Halloween. I can’t tell you how many bags of chocolate I went through personally and how many times I had to “rebuy” Christmas stocking candy because I had eaten it all. Too many times to count.
If you find the appeal of Christmas and holiday candy and desserts hard to resist, I want to encourage you that it really is possible to get a handle on that desire. I still remember the year I was losing all my weight and of course Christmas came around as it always does. I had to completely avoid the candy aisle, avoid baking whenever possible, and learn to refocus my attention to the events and excitement of the holiday rather than on the food.
That first Christmas was tough because I really, really wanted to buy a big bag of M&M’s and eat them. I resisted and every time I walked out of the grocery store without a bag tucked into my purse I celebrated internally.
I really can do this, I’d think to myself. And I did it.
I found that I actually enjoyed holiday parties and events more when I wasn’t obsessing with the junk. As the years go by there are fewer and fewer holiday sweets that are on my “must make room for list.” The appeal of candy has greatly diminished and it is really just a few homemade desserts that I give a “10″ to.
How are you doing this year? Does the junk still have an appeal for you or have you made positive strides in breaking those old habits/desires? Diane