Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Cookie Monster

Another holiday season draws to a close and I breathe a sigh of relief. No more holiday dinners to navigate. No more holiday parties to agonize over. No more Christmas cookies. Let me repeat that last one.

No. More. Christmas. Cookies.

I encountered a new nemesis this holiday season. As if the sugar cookies and chocolate kiss mice and coconut snowmen were not enough, a new and more powerful foe emerged. An enemy strong enough to bring even the most resolute to their knees. What could this scourge be, you ask?

Creamsicle fudge.  <Shudder>

I am sad to say that I was completely powerless in the face of creamsicle fudge.

Well, so be it. Now, thank goodness, it’s back to my regular eating routine. Yes, yes, New Year’s Eve is still on the horizon, but I will celebrate at home and keep the calories to a minimum. Thankfully, the dreaded Christmas Cookie Monster is now settling his head for a long winter’s nap. Whew!

What did you say? We're having a Second Christmas?

Oh no.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Darkness and the Light

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted very much recently. It’s not that anything has been wrong or that I’ve been too busy. The truth is that I’ve been stuck in an emotional stew of my own making, a muck of petty complaints and minor annoyances. I suppose we all have our pet grievances and that we all get mired in them from time to time. I had decided to just give myself a little space to find a way out of that darkness, but I got jolted out of my funk pretty quickly after learning of the elementary school shooting on Friday in Connecticut.

I have no intention of going off-topic to talk about that tragedy other than to say it made me realize how much I have to be thankful for. By that statement I’m not saying that my life suddenly became problem-free, just that I see my problems in a different light.

Like my struggle with the food culture. When I took on the challenge of managing my weight six years ago, I thought it was simply about diet and exercise. I figured I’d have to develop a few new habits. I had no idea how it would disrupt my life, that I’d have to develop new habits and new ways of thinking about absolutely everything, that sometimes it would feel like I was at complete odds with everyone around me. I could never have foreseen myself agonizing over whether I should go to an office holiday party (which I did not go to by the way). I could never have pictured how stressful the thought of Christmas cookies could be. Or how bent out of shape I would be that the vision I had of life after weight loss would be so far from the reality of it.

Yet, seen from my new perspective, the upset fades away. This is about my health. It’s a worthy fight. So if someone doesn’t understand why I choose not to eat something, all it means is that they don’t understand. If someone can’t offer me support in the way I need it, all it means is that they can’t offer support in the way I need it. If someone thinks I’m too rigid or picky about my food choices, all it means is that we disagree. If sticking to the diet and exercise routine that keeps my weight in check is hard, perhaps things worth doing should be hard.

None of us gets everything we wished for. With rare exception, that is not a tragedy. It is life. It only took me fifty-five years to figure that out. Better late than never!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Party On Dude!

There is a decision that I have to make. It should be an easy one, but I’m finding it surprisingly hard. The question is: should I go to my office holiday party?

I’ve always gone to my office holiday party. In past years, the custom was that we all went out to lunch at a restaurant. Each of us ordered our meal from a pre-determined menu and it was a sure bet that one of the choices would be something salad-y. This year, for reasons too convoluted to get into here, the plans are different. This year, the party organizers decided to have the lunch brought in. The way it was explained to me was that we would have a local restaurant cater the party. I thought this was a good idea.

Until I saw the menu.

The menu for our holiday party this year is pizza and wings. This is not what I picture when I hear the words “catered lunch.” Don’t get me wrong. I like pizza and wings. A lot. And I don’t want to eat pizza and wings. A lot.

A few have already told me not to make a big deal about it. After all, it’s just one meal. I can eat one piece of pizza and suck it up for sake of the group. Even though I love pizza and will need supreme levels of willpower to eat just one piece.


The holidays are such a minefield for the formerly fat. The way I’ve been dealing with them is to eat like everyone else on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, gain the inevitable two to four pounds, and then labor (alone I might add) with losing those pounds afterwards. It’s not an ideal approach, but it allows me to enjoy some time with family and friends without feeling like the big killjoy. On other days, I tow the diet line as much as possible. Including at the office holiday party. You see, my plan includes two days of diet debacle, not three. You might say that I’m being awfully rigid. To that I say, welcome to life after a large weight loss.

Here’s the other thing. I keep wondering why it is that I have to make all of the accommodations? Why can’t we meet halfway? I eat some of your gooey Christmas creations and you make a couple less fattening dishes? Would that be so crazy?

So, should I go to the party or not? If I go, I will either eat too much stuff I shouldn’t or I will spend the entire time struggling to avoid eating too much stuff I shouldn’t. If I don’t go, maybe some co-workers will be bothered, but then again, maybe they won’t. Here’s the real question: whose needs matter the most?

I’ll let you know.