Dear Dr. Babooner,
Ten days ‘til Christmas and I’m helpless when it comes to those cute little cookies. Some of them aren’t so little! And neither am I, once the festive tin has been emptied. What with all the parties at the office, I expect to gain about 6 pounds by New Year’s Day.
Here’s the real problem – Christmas cookie bakers are also pushers.
Typical scenario – an e-mail goes out to everyone in our department saying there are cookies in such and such a location. The mingle bells are ringing, and all work stops. Within moments, crowds are streaming past my desk, all on their way to load up with goodies. If I don’t immediately join the herd, people swoop in as they walk by, saying something like “Christmas cookies by the coffeemaker”, as if that’s a magic phrase that will allow me to drop everything I’m doing at the moment.
Before long, the social pressure becomes unbearable. I can hear them down there, talking and laughing and munching, and it becomes difficult to concentrate. I do believe in sociability and teamwork, so I get up.
When I arrive at the scene, someone grabs a little paper plate and begins loading it up with gingerbread snowmen, toffee squares and snickerdoodles. I say I’m watching my diet and people scoff. “C’mon, it’s Christmas,” they say, as if that somehow suspends the well-documented physiological effect of massive amounts of sugar and fat.
In some ways, I think the Christmas cookie crowd is the opposite of a therapy group. They are a community of food abuse sufferers, bent on self-destruction and committed to dragging you into their sad pool of caloric misery in the name of glad tidings and good cheer. They foist their morsels on you with such earnestness it borders on an insult if you refuse to take one or seven of these tiny fat bombs back to your desk.
Dr. Babooner, I want to be nice, but Christmas cheer is killing me.
Santa’s Overstuffed Sack
I told S.O.S. that is is OK to lie at Christmas time if the goal is self preservation. I would tell the cookie pushers that I am under doctor’s orders to eat only vegetables at work. In fact, bringing a tray of festive green celery and jolly red radishes to the Christmas party is a great strategy that might succeed in getting everyone back to work more quickly!
Another tactic – let co-workers know about a newly released study that indicates exercise is much more potent in its effects against weight gain and the onset of diabetes if that exercise is done in a “fasted state”. So tell everyone you’ll be happy to enjoy a plate of cookies with them – after you lead the group through an exhausting regimen of jumping jacks and push-ups. That will help you manage the extra calories, and it might get your name permanently removed from the Impromptu Cookie Binge e-mail list!
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?