True Confessions of a Holiday Cookie Monster (or, my thoughts on Holiday Indulgence)

Hello, all–

Hope you had a relaxing, and maybe even Christmas-y, weekend. Meet Kringle, Rich’s newly-decorated (and quite pudgy) tree:

image

The uneven lights kill me, but I was too dang tired to do anything about them.

Someone has been eating too many Christmas cookies.

Actually, that someone is both Kringle AND me. On Friday night, Rich and I relaxed, ordered pizza, and watched half of The Wolf of Wall Street– totally casual, since I had to be up to teach a class on Saturday morning. After that class was over at 10 am, though, I practically skipped to my car and headed to Rich’s for my first real day of embracing the Christmas season. We brunched (a delicious homemade veggie omelet with plenty of fruit on the side), acquired the rotund-but-lovable Kringle, binge-watched It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (NOT just because we live in Philadelphia…), and then got our sorry acts together for Rich’s company Christmas party.

So many healthy living blogs seem to do the classic “How to Survive the Holidays Without Gaining X Amount of Pounds,” or “The Three Bite Rule,” which are all helpful, and I’m sure you’ve seen them before, so (other than this post), this is the closest I’ll get to something of that sort.

When it comes to restraining myself from over-indulging on a normal day, I’ve got some pretty (knock on wood) good self control. I can have a cookie after dinner, and leave it at that one cookie. I can bake something and keep it around for days, nibbling at the baked good over a period of a whole week…

…that is, until I drink. Two glasses of wine deep at the pre-party, I spied a plate of French cheeses, and I knew it was all over. I only drank three glasses of wine the whole night, but I must have eaten the equivalent of a full day’s worth of calories by the time we actually got to the event. Think pre-party cheese and bread, two full plates of salad, veggies, pasta and rolls, and half of my weight in Christmas cookies. I had zero restraint.

And you know what? The next day, I had a normal breakfast, my usual salad at lunch, and spaghetti squash as pasta for dinner. As in, I returned to my normal routine. Today has been the same thing. So will tomorrow.

Ahh...it's good to be back.

Ahh…it’s good to be back.

Side note: on Friday morning, I made a smoothie which included two cups of spinach and the other usual suspects, but I added ginger. When I arrived at my building after a short (but COLD) walk– I am so, so lucky to be able to walk to work– the smoothie had congealed in a very odd manner. I still sipped on it a few hours later– it had sat in the fridge– but after about 3/4 of it, I had to call it quits. It couldn’t have curdled, because I don’t use any dairy in there. Anyone??

I even made a concerted effort to eat fewer processed foods this week:

They're oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and no, you can't...okay, just one.

They’re oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and no, you can’t…okay, just one.

Chopped bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange); rinsed mushrooms and black beans (in the red-topped tupperware); drained and cubed tofu, for quick stir-fries throughout the week. Also in there: a mini (half) batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and some sliced banana to be frozen for smoothies, and a cat. Wait, I didn’t prep that.

A very snakey route to the point of this post, in that my opinion on holiday over-indulgence is this: ENJOY YOUR DANG SELF. But don’t let it carry over to the next day, or the next week, thinking, “Well, I’ve already ‘ruined’ yesterday, so I might as well eat all of these cookies today…” It’s a slippery slope. Enjoy the weekend or holiday indulgences, because they’re what keep us in line during the rest of the week or year. I had a freakin’ blast at that party, but if I don’t see another plate of Christmas cookies until this Friday at my own work party, and then another one on Christmas Eve, I won’t mind. So please, don’t be guilty about a little over-indulgence once in a while…I have to remind myself of this, too. If you normally eat a balanced diet and exercise (or have a generally active lifestyle), you’ll be okay. Stressing over food totally negates the fun of it all. Choose your treats wisely, enjoy them, but listen to your hunger cues. My stomach was absolutely bursting by the end of Saturday night, because I was in full-on indulgence mode. Live and learn. This coming Friday, I’ll obviously try to reign it back a little.

It’s just like Horace, the Roman poet we’re studying in one of my classes, says about life as he sits with his young charge in wintertime by a roaring fire:

(If you know any Latin, comment away :)…this is one of my favorite poems of all time.)

deprome quadrimum Sabina,
/…merum diota.

…quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere…

Basically: crack open that seasoned wine (four-winters old), and leave all other worries to the gods. Whatever will be in the future, quit asking.

 

So when the time to celebrate comes and you’ve finally set work and other everyday tasks aside, crack open that wine, and hand me a butter cookie, while you’re at it. Until then…

Days until Christmas break: 4.

Days until my school’s holiday party: also 4.

Number of classes to prep, tests to grade, and duties to fulfill before 2.5 weeks of blissful relaxation: seemingly endless. At the very least, 8 classes and one track meet are on the docket. 10:30 am Friday morning, I’ll be the one popping the champagne. (JK, I’ll probably be asleep already). See ya on the other side, folks.

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