Monday, June 9, 2014

The Spring Thaw and The Cookie Monster

   The past few weeks have been "non-standard" for me.  Nearly 2 weeks ago I underwent surgery on my shoulder, to repair the ligaments I tore in December (from a fall). This means that for 6 weeks my arm will be in a sling, and movement will be limited for up to 6 months.
  A week after the operation came the "Shavuot" holiday, followed a day later by the bar mitzvah of my oldest grandson. I had cooked in advance for the holiday, so I "managed" fine.
   However diet-wise the 2 weeks have been challenging. After the operation I was OK about my intake, but my exercise level was WAY lower than normal, so I gained a bit. Then came the holiday, accompanied with my favorite calorie-bomb, cheesecake. And while I have done much worse in years past, my consumption was not going to earn me an abstinence-prize.  Then came the bar mitzvah. I overate…. And overate. On arriving home I went to upload the photos I had taken for family members living abroad. In the middle, I felt hungry (hungry??!? After ALL that I ate at the Bar Mitzvah!?!?), and I went to the kitchen and prepared myself half a bowl of cookies.
   Now years ago, I could eat a full bowl of cookies, and often add an additional helping as well. So a half bowl was less than that… but that was very small consolation. I had thought that this cookie monster who could devour a bowl of cookies had long ago been slaughtered by my new habits. But suddenly I realized that cookie monster had only been hibernating. Underneath it all, he was alive and well. And since I had started a "spring thaw" by not restraining better my eating for the previous week, cookie monster had woken up and started stirring.
   THAT scared me, so early the next day I was 100% back on track. I have already lost nearly all that I have gained.  But what I want to explore here is the difference between a small planned "leniency" and a "spring thaw". I often tell my diet pupils that for holidays they should allow themselves a bit of extra leave way.  Completely abstaining from cheesecake (as a possible example) on the Shavuot holiday is only going to lead to feelings of deprivation, and "I-can't-live-like-this". But if I allow myself "extra" for the holiday, won't that lead to a "spring thaw"? Not necessarily.  A few hints can help prevent that:
1) Even if allowing yourself a bit extra, keep tracking what you ARE eating.
2) Plan in advance exactly what you are going to allow yourself extra, and when.  This should be very specific. And allow yourself to enjoy that extra portion, guilt-free.
3) If possible, cut and prepare the planned portion in advance.
4) Decide exactly when you are going back to watching yourself 100%
5) Plan other, healthy  low-calorie treats for the holidays as well. Make the holiday food "special" even if low calorie.
6) You can also make an effort to set the table in a pretty manner, to add to the feeling that the holiday is special.
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Yeah, I know… I should have posted this BEFORE the holiday… (But I WAS post-operation….).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Refuah Schlemah. I'm so in awe of the way you pick yourself up and get right back on track. May you continue to go from strength to strength.

Sunny Sacramento