Actually, the tradition of the Christmas cookie can be traced to Medieval European recipes. During the 1500s, the Christmas cookie was popular all over Europe. Then the Dutch and Germans brought it to the shores of America in the 1600s. (No wonder I love cookies. I’m German American.)
But enough about history, I’m struggling to say NO to the cookie and YES to the dress. I love Christmas cookies. There is nothing better than a cup of coffee with two or three cookies on a cold winter day. Then a few for dessert and…well you know the drill. The problem is that the cookie sessions make it harder to fit into those holiday outfits.
It’s not that we have to forego cookies during this season—that thought alone would lead us to overeat. We can have a few cookies.
According to Cornell University researchers Brian Wansink and Jeffrey Sobal, we make around 200 food decisions a day. But not all those decisions are in our conscious awareness or prompted by hunger. I can honestly say that my intake of cookies usually has nothing to do with hunger.
So, what does cause me to grab two or three cookies a day for pure enjoyment, forgetting that this will impact my wardrobe?
Sometimes, just seeing the food is enough to get us to overeat. The presence of beautifully decorated cookies on a holiday table screams, “Try me.” And the facts that they are ever-present this time of the year and prominently displayed everywhere you look make the cookie monster in us grab a few extras for the road.
Say NO to the Cookie So You Can Say YES to the Dress!
Strategy #1: Don’t leave a tray of cookies out on the counter.
Freeze them in foil and put them away, so you can’t see them. Forget those cookie exchanges; you come home with about 10 dozen – too much temptation. The smell of baking cookies prompts us to eat as well. For many of us, those smells remind us of childhood and the love associated with family meals and treats.
Strategy #2: Move away from the smell.
Embrace those warm fuzzy moments of childhood with a photo album instead of a baker’s dozen. Be careful even after the holidays. The colder it gets, the more we want those carbs.
Strategy #3: Go exercise even when it is cold.
Get up and move instead of eat. We eat just because the cookies are there and because we’re not doing anything else.
Strategy #4: Follow the hara hachi principle of Japanese eating.
Eat until you are 80 percent full. Press pause and ask your stomach, Are you full yet? Grazing each day on the extra calories of Christmas goodies will get us all a pound or two that we later regret. So the next time you stare down a plate of cookies that you could devour, press pause and ask, “Do I really need that cookie?” Hopefully, you and I can answer, “No”… at least a few times.