I Love Cookies, but They are a Sometimes Food

December 28, 2010

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Two weekends ago I made over 400 cookies. I made two kinds of jam thumbprints, I made a crazy pistachio layer cookie, I made Spritz cookies for the first time, and I made my always popular chocolate chip oatmeal and chocolate oatmeal peanut butter chip cookies. I ate not a single one. I know it seems extreme, but there’s no way to tell how many calories are in a homemade cookie and I couldn’t risk it because my doctor has me on a new, even lower calorie diet.

I made the appointment over a month ago and it took me a while to get in to see the doctor but in the end I’m glad I persevered. I admit that I went in thinking, “I hope she just prescribes a diet pill.” I was that frustrated. I was eating 1200 calories a day (except on Thanksgiving and Thanksmas) and working out like a crazy person and I wasn’t losing weight. I suspected (and was right, it seems two weeks later) that the blood pressure medication I had been started on three years ago not only lead to my rapid weight gain, but was hindering the loss of that weight. Additional factors like my advancing age* and prior eating disorder had done a whammy on my metabolism. Add in a failing thyroid and I had the perfect storm for weight gain.

I’m not blaming all of this on my health, certainly after the initial weight gain there was a shame and despair cycle of eating emotions and sitting around when I couldn’t lose weight using tried and true methods of calorie counting and working out. I was frustrated and I was scared. Bad behaviors were looking more and more appealing as my wedding, and my friend Susan’s wedding, crept ever closer. I couldn’t stand the idea of being in more wedding photos and not liking what I saw.

It turns out that I was doing all the right things, but they needed some tweaking. With my doctor’s guidance I’ve been engaging an even lower calorie diet and a lower impact workout, and I’ve changed my blood pressure medication, and the weight is melting off – rapidly.

Back to the cookies though – it’s the holiday season and there is food everywhere. The building my office is in dropped off individual bundt cakes for everyone in our office a few weeks ago. (I don’t like cake, so this wasn’t really an issue.) Everyone is making cookies, bringing in candy, and going out to eat. This is the worst time of year to be on any kind of diet, as far as I’m concerned.

Topping all of that off is the fact that no one has boundaries with food. People think nothing of guilt tripping people to eat after someone says, “No thank you, I’m on a diet.” The number of people who have said, “Oh, come on, it’s just one day!” or “But it’s Christmas!” to me in the past two weeks are impossible for me to even keep track of at this point. It’s both frustrating and fascinating. Much like my new pass time of counting food commercials during primetime television (try it sometime, it’s shocking) trying to figure out why people encourage other people to indulge in food they don’t want or need is something that I am clamoring to understand. I’m sure that at some point I’ve probably contributed to it, but I can’t remember ever being so insistent after someone says no.**

What makes normally friendly and supportive people try to sabotage their friends in this way?

Please note: I do NOT recommend in engaging in a diet as extreme as the one I am on without medical guidance or intervention. It does come with its own risks and is not something that most people need to do. Go to your doctor and talk to him or her about your concerns if you’re having issues. A low calorie diet is not appropriate for everyone and you may have other health issues that a weight gain is masking.

*That’s right. Advancing age. My normally very kind and gentle doctor, essentially, called me old during our last appointment.
** For the record, I try not to give sweets and cookies to people who are on diets themselves. I usually offer and options like a bundle of cookies or a box of healthy treats to people I know are actively trying to lose weight.

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