All too often, my clients report “I don’t keep cookies in my house. If cookies are there, I end up eating the whole package. It’s easier to not have them around...”
While that may seem a wise solution to the eating-too-many-cookies problem, depriving yourself of cookies tends to backfire. That is, when the opportunity arises for you to eat cookies, you likely end up eating the whole plate because this is your “last chance” to ever eat a cookie. “Last chance eating” leads to food binges, weight gain and feelings of being powerless over food.
An alternative to staying away from cookies is to eat cookies every day, at every meal. This will take the power away from them. Think about it. Do apples have power over you? Doubtful. That’s because you can eat an apple whenever you want. So why do cookies have power over you? Because you deny yourself the privilege of enjoying cookies from time to time. After three days of cookies-at-every-meal, they will likely lose their power.
If you liked cookies as a kid and like them now, you will undoubtedly like them in the future. How about trying to make peace with cookies?
Sarah, a 45 year old fitness exerciser, office manager and mother of two hungry teenage athletes, complained about cookie temptations. I feel surrounded by my kids cookies; this makes it hard for me to lose weight. I inevitably end up eating as many as they do .
When you are tired, stressed and surrounded by cookies (or other treats), the challenge of moderating your food intake increases. I suggest Sarah ask her kids for their support by keeping their snacks out of sight, such as in a cupboard, instead of on the kitchen counter, or in a ceramic cookie jar, rather than a see-through plastic container. She could also ask her kids to not eat cookies in front of her. As the saying goes: Out of sight, out of mind!
Some weight-conscious parents stop buying cookies altogether, believing their kids get plenty of sweets and treats outside of the home. You can discuss this option with your children, but recognize this approach fails to teach you how to come to peace with cookies. Will you simply binge-eat cookies the next time they do wander into your sight? (You know, Last change to eat cookies, so Id better eat them all now !!!)
The alternative is to allow yourself to eat one or two cookies every day at lunch or snack as a part of your calorie budget. This way, you do not feel denied or deprived, nor have you over-indulged. By planning this treat into your food plan, you may be better able to eat just one cookie at lunch--instead of the whole bag at night. Ultimately, fiding peace with cookies is more effective than taking them out of your diet.
If you need help with healthfully integrating cookies and treats into your food plan, consult with a sports dietitian. The referral network at www.SCANdpg.org can help you find a local expert.