A couple weeks ago I was invited to attend a “cookie swap.” I accepted without fully understanding what that meant… For those of you who have never heard of these before, a “cookie swap” is a social get-together where everyone brings a batch of cookies, and you leave with a mix-and-match batch of all the other types of cookies that were brought. Like a pot luck, but with cookies! So essentially, you bring cookies, and you leave with cookies. In between, you eat the cookies!
I can almost hear the shock and horror now. You’re screaming at your screen:
“Oh my God! What the fuck is she doing??? She’s lost over 70 pounds, doesn’t she know that cookies are sooooooo unhealthy!!! Why is she doing this to herself???”
Yea, I hear ya! Attending a cookie swap might seem like an insane thing to do while trying to lose weight, and I don’t blame anyone for having that initial thought. A table FILLED with cookies, basically an all-you-can-eat-cookie-buffet, sounds like a recipe for disaster. But it isn’t, let me explain why. This just might change your life!
The cookie swap had about 10-15 adults in attendance who brought all different kinds of cookies. As people started arriving, the cookies were placed on a dedicated cookie table and guests helped themselves to drinks and some finger foods while chatting and socializing. The cookies were left alone for the time being. The socializing is why I attended, not the cookies. Humans are inherently social creatures, after all. It isn’t a benefit to your life to miss out on the full human experience because “you’re on a diet.” Fortunately, you don’t have to!
I strongly urge you to refrain from declining social invitations because of food/Dieting.
After some socializing, it was time to introduce ourselves and the cookies we brought, and that’s where things started to get interesting! Of course the usual suspects of cookies showed up: peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, raspberry thumbprint, chocolate pecan, snickerdoodle… you name it, we had it! But as the guests introduced themselves, it was revealed that almost half were dietitians! Here we are at a seemingly gluttonous feast of death-by-cookies, with a bunch of dietitians who are not even remotely concerned!
Each time a dietitian introduced his/herself, they all chuckled and repeated the phrase, “Everything in moderation.” Someone would inevitably ask if their cookies were healthy and low-calorie, but the response was always, “No way! Cookies need real butter!”
“Everything in moderation.”
After the introductions (people and cookies), it was cookie tasting time! Free reign over the cookie table began, with everyone sampling the different types of cookies to determine which types they would take home. I realized quickly that I wasn’t going to physically be able to eat 15 different cookies in one sitting, so I had to be strategic about it. I split many cookies into small pieces with others so that we could all try more of the types. In total, I ate about four cookies (approx. 400 calories) in the tasting-spree. It was totally worth it! I even walked out with a baggie of a new favorite type of cookie: oatmeal raisin with cranberry and zero guilt!
One of the benefits of attending a cookie swap with dietitians is that nobody was offended if you took a bite of cookie and didn’t finish the rest. Dietitians leave food on their plates ALL THE TIME. Many of our plates were littered with half-finished cookies, and that was totally OK! It was actually expected. In total, there were over 350 cookies on that table, and no one was going to be able to eat them all. Nobody. (That’s not a dare, don’t try that at home!) With the expectation of finishing all the cookies off the metaphorical table, the guilt of “finishing my plate” just faded away.
It is REALLY OK to not clean your plate!
Even before I realized that this was a cookie swap hosted by dietitians, I put together a strategy beforehand. My main goal was to stay within my daily calorie goal. If you find yourself attending a social event which involves high-calorie or unhealthy foods, these tips can help:
- Eat lighter that morning to save some calories.
- Limit yourself to a maximum number of high-calorie food items, like drinks, fried things, desserts. For the cookie swap, I limited myself to four cookies (about 400 calories).
- Only finish foods you think are truly amazing; a culinary masterpiece!
- Take home leftovers sparingly. For the cookie swap, I took home fewer cookies than I brought ( I ate 1-2 a day for a couple of days, and threw the rest away when they were not-so-fresh anymore.)
My strategies worked perfectly, and I was able to stay within my calorie goal at the end of the day. And I didn’t have to skip dinner to do it! I know it ca be frightening to be invited to a social event that involves a lot of food when you’re trying to lose weight, but if I can survive a cookie swap, we can survive anything! If you need help coming up with strategies for a specific upcoming event, leave a comment or email me!
Remember, people and relationships are truly important. all the food stuff can be sorted out.
What kind of social/food events have you had trouble with in the past? What kinds of strategies have you used to have “everything in moderation” and enjoy your friends and family’s company? Like/Comment/Share, and I’d love to hear from you!
No fad diets. No weigh loss pills. No embarrassing meetings. No punishing exercises.
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