“Just a small piece for me.” “Maybe just one . . . of each.” Do these sound familiar? With December now upon us, dessert season is in full swing. Neighbors are bringing over cookie tins, co-workers are piling up pies, and every person invited to dinner brings an uninvited indulgence. How can anyone possibly resist this continuous campaign of confections? Here are a few tips.
- Have a plan. There are two desserts that are tradition in my family. It would not feel like the Christmas season without pumpkin cookies and mint meringue cookies, the two things I must have to enjoy my holidays. (I guess you can throw family in there too.) Knowing this, I can gladly decline other offers in anticipation of these elusive treats that I have been waiting for all year. Do you have that one special thing you wait for all year? Pledge your devotion to that one thing and hold out for it. Sure, you could shack up with any piece of floozie fudge off the street, but keeping your palate pure for that one love will make the consumption all the more enjoyable.
- Come prepared. Having a semi-sweet snack to fall back on is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth without diving headfirst into a sugar coma. This is especially true for you office workers. When the holiday treats begin to accumulate in the break room, it is best to have a safe place to retreat to. Keep some fruit or dark chocolate-covered almonds or raisins handy. That way, you have something to curb your craving so you won’t feel deprived. Even better is to have an accountability partner so you can help each other successfully live out the choices you’ve made. Don’t worry. You don’t have to share your chocolate-covered raisins if you don’t want to.
- Visualize. It is easy to imagine a tasty morsel in your mouth, but now picture all of those cookies and pie in your stomach. How do you think you will feel after having “just a taste” of each of the treats your 30 co-workers brought in? Will all of those refined grains and sugars seem as desirable to your gut as they do to your eyes? Will you have a stomachache? A headache? The jitters? Fatigue? Will you be able to focus on work? Will you feel up to that workout later?
When it comes time to make nutritional decisions, especially in the face of temptation, delayed gratification is the key: Long-term goals should drive you, not immediate whims.
Did you get all that? You can go back and read it again. I’ll wait. Got it? Good. Your homework is to take some time to establish those long-term goals and desires. Then decide what steps you need to take to keep yourself from wading through the sugary shallows and instead head toward those low-glycemic goals. And remember, there is no need to go it alone. Ask a coach or a friend for help, and we can all make it through this season together.