Friday, December 18, 2009
What is it about dainty morsels set out on pretty trays arranged around a festive, candle lit centerpiece that triggers a mindless frenzy of mouth popping – of sampling and tasting and nibbling? I was at an event last night – part fund raiser, part Christmas festivity – and that's what happened to me.
Now – I knew ahead of time that there would be dainty treats, all likely to be sugar and butter packed. And there were.
I also knew that there would be fun interesting people, most of whom I knew, but some complete and fascinating strangers, exciting to get to know. This is an energy pumped environment.
Although it was certainly cocktail time, if not dinner time, I was NOT hungry. Get this. I was En Oh Tee hungry.
So why was the hand reaching for the tray almost the moment I went through the door?
Well. Um. Of course, partly it was because so many goodies were in the entrance hall of the B&B where the event was taking place. It was the FIRST thing you saw when you walked in.
And then – I went there directly from a high energy afternoon with no down-time in between. I was extremely pumped up from an afternoon of working with our local Christmas Mother program – leading a team of the cutest 12 and 13 year old girl volunteers as we matched Christmas gifts with Wish Lists. (more about that another time – I don't know when I have ever had such a fabulous time, watching these future mothers, these future civic leaders, this just plain Future – developing the values of charity and service! Wow! My best Christmas present ever!!) And here, at this event, were lots of folk who should know about how important, how valuable this program is, not just for the recipients but for the givers! They need to know how much more could be done next year. Folk like the mayor and members of the town council. Okay okay – Not the point of this post – but as I said, I was pumped – I was on high flying auto pilot enthusiasm. Not in a condition to stop and ask “Do I really want this?" or "Am I really hungry?”
There was also a size issue to consider – everything was bite sized. Or, as we with weight issues are tempted to say “Just a bite” sized. Tiny little morsels you could pop in your mouth without realizing you'd even done so. I tried to keep count of how many tidbits I ate, but I bet I missed some.
So what's the solution? And how much damage did I really do? Did I do anything right?
Well, yes. I did.
I skipped the alcohol. My excuse? “I'm driving” which was true but the real reason was that I knew, as up as I already was, if alcohol joined into the equation I'd really go mindlessly off the rails and let's face it – I didn't want to wake up the next morning in some dietary back alley with a painful food hangover. Heck – I have aNOTHER Christmas function today. So – I stuck with water. Glad I like water. Glad our local water is so good.
After the second buttery spinach and pastry thingy I found a room that had very little food in it (there were trays of goodies in EVERY room) and took a seat. This was after I'd cruised every room to talk to people – another good thing – talk to the folk first, even if I didn't eat the food last. So all in all, I could have done worse.
And I did. Sigh. The last thing – and the worst – was that when I got home, not having eaten dinner and not having consciously enjoyed anything I ate at the event, I went through a whole snack bag of Cheeto's. Yeah – talk about empty calories.
So. What to do about it next time.
FIRST OFF. No matter how rushed, how busy, how pumped or lackluster I feel – If I am going to an event that will be serving food I MUST MUST MUST go off somewhere, have a big drink of water and then think about just how much and of what I plan to eat. 10 bite sized treats? 8? 15? Only two of which can be pastry or cheesy, only 2 may be sweet? What if it's a sit down meal? Only ½ of the grain and meat courses served? Exact portion sizes?
It doesn't mater so much what I decide, as THAT I decid, because if I know I've done what I planned to do I will feel good. It's the “not knowing” that makes you walk away from a food event feeling guilty. And to feel guilty after a fun event like last night's is a tragedy.
But the water and the calm 10 minutes of reflection are essential. I think, after that, I'll be okay.
In fact, I think, if I do the first thing I won't have to worry about coming home and eating anything – most especially junk food. I don't often have junk food in my house – and I suspect that I would have found some sort of comfort carbohydrate to placate my discomfort last night. What triggered the eating frenzy at home was the sense that I didn't know what I had eaten, didn't know how much, and couldn't feel that I'd fulfilled a plan so it was still eating time. I bet that if I'd decided to eat 10 goodies and I had eaten 10 goodies I would have been “done with eating” and not been tempted once I got home.
SECOND OFF - especially if it's a cocktail type event - No Eating till I've spoken to everyone. Even if it's just a quick hello in passing - speak first - eat last. Period.
Anyway – that's the plan and I bet I'll have an opportunity to try it out sometime this party filled Christmas season. I'll let you know how it goes.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Once again SP has tossed up just exactly the reminder and suggestion I need at just exactly this moment. I suppose it's natural that this time of year I'd be thinking about New Year's resolutions ... or New Year's Resolutions I might say because they are an important part of my healthy psyche ... I love 'em and always feel blessed to think that there is Room For Improvement (classic ENFP again).
And I'm at that place on the Road to Good Health where I have made a little progress and am in danger of becoming smug - or worse - sloppy - or even worse - slothful. It just so happens it's also at NYR time so I can re-energize my comittment to my goals and not only make it through the sugar plum holiday but also, maybe, see some progress.
Item #2 in Mike Kramer's article Top 10 Strategies for Success (waiting in my mailbox this morning) hit a chord - no - it hit a GONG!
2. Get It On Paper
Whether setting your first goals, tracking daily progress, or sharing your deepest thoughts with a journal, writing things down crystallizes your ideas, exposes underlying fears, and paints an accurate picture of real life.
yes. It's time. I need to make one of my beloved Lists of Things To Do. I call them TTD lists and if the goal is important, if it has a deadline, if it really matters to me, they are essential. But they are also fun - fun to make and fun to use. They really do chrystalize my ideas and ideals, they really do expose my vulnerabilities. Yup. Time to write it down.
Happily, I have a real holiday this year at Christmas time - I'm taking the whole week off between 12/25 and 1/1. I've got a lot planned for that time, but I am going to plan one day when all I have to do is ponder and think and write it down so that, when the new year comes, I'll know exactly where I want to be .... and where I'm going.
Thanks SP. thanks for melding your collective mind with mine.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I didn't sleep last night for thinking about pecan butter ball cookies.
Now. I have never eaten a cookie called a pecan butter ball - I just heard it in an audio book I was listening to this past week and I began to imagine what a pecan butter ball cookie would taste like. Shortbread full of nuts shaped like a ball? Something more chewy like a brownie, full of pecans? Whatever they are - they danced through my head like Clement Moore's proverbial Christmas sugar plums.
It's no wonder I'm thinking about sugared flakes of buttery flour saturated with pecans - Not only is every scrap of media flooding the world with holiday treats but also my own memories, of childhood and more vividly of my young married life when Christmas involved the magic of a child's anticipation of surprises. They are good memories. I cherish them and pull them out like little gems from the jewellery box of my mind.
do you hear?
that "BUT" hanging in the air?
Yeah - I thought so. That but means ... where does eating a pecan butter ball cookie fit into the plans made with such hope in October? Not? A little? Look out here it comes? I just googled pecan butter ball and recipe and got something that logs in at 188 calories for 2 cookies. whew! 1/7 of my day's calories in 2 bites?
Mike Kramer's two articles in today's Best of SP really have me thinking about those goals and how important they are to me. I've never been good at achieving goals except in the most oblique way - a classic ENFP, www.myersbriggs.org/ I don't really feel rewarded by completion - rather I feel abandoned. Since the journey is so important to me I am usually going in several directions at once and completion happens almost unnoticed. ( I do actually complete things, understand - just ... not with triumphant flair but with surprised recognition)
But knowing what my natural preference is doesn't mean I am tied to it, nor am I unable, like the famed old dog, to learn new tricks. I am going to spend the next few days getting all ISTJ detailed and math-like about these goals and see if I can map out a happy, satisfying, but healthy and successful pathway through the next few sugared weeks.
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