Food File: Christmas Edition 2018

Audience: Evangelical Christians, People who Battle with Weight

Mercifully, Christmas has come and gone for another year. For some in my family, this was a more difficult Christmas than any other. My mother passed away in March 2018, so this was the first Christmas without either of our parents. No matter how old you may be, when both parents are gone, there is a sense of being orphaned. For me, it didn’t last long, but the sense is still felt.

My battle with sugar began with the very first event I attended, my church’s Carol and Dessert night. I can honestly say I have never seen such a large spread of desserts. Most of them were manufactured (purchased from a store), but there were some that people actually baked themselves. I decided not to blow my calories or Weight Watcher points on donuts and stuff that I could buy at a store. While I did reasonably well at that event, the next event would prove to be more challenging.

The next event was a Christmas dinner put on by a local Catholic church. I was completely relaxed with respect to the first course, but then things went sideways. I got a glimpse of the dessert. The dessert that caught my eye was a log cake, mostly chocolate from what I could see. At that moment all sanity left me. I had to be sure that I had a slice of that cake. The moment I realized I was in trouble was when I engaged in an argument with someone over where the dessert line actually began. It was at that moment I lost my balance. There was no cost to me if I had merely turned my back and walked away. Instead, I held my ground, made a scene, and another person kindly let me in line ahead of him. The irony: the cake wasn’t that good.

The next event was my church’s Christmas dinner that they hosted for people who would not have a place to go for Christmas. When the dinner took place, I was not planning on celebrating Christmas with my family. Once again, I handled the main course well. When I approached the dessert table, I was disappointed because there were only manufactured desserts, yet this time I indulged. I left feeling like I needed a sugar hit of some kind.

The morning of Christmas Eve I decided to celebrate Christmas with my family after all. So, I made the 2 hour drive and attended the annual Christmas Eve dinner, which was more finger food this Christmas. Once again, I handled the “main” offering with dignity and control. When the dessert tray appeared, I became fixated on the shortbread cookies. There were plenty of cookies and most of my family prefers other goodies. There was no treat of FOMO (fear of missing out).  I didn’t go nuts, but I had more than I needed.

The next challenge after Christmas Eve was a party hosted by B&D, two friends of mine. This time desserts were not the threat, but crackers and cheese. Even though I munched a bit too much on crackers and cheese, in this situation, I handled myself fairly well.

Over the holidays, I have experienced two major binges. The first one happened on a Saturday when I had this craving for Christmas cake. I bought the smallest Christmas cake I could find at Walmart and inhaled it in one sitting. I thought my cravings were satisfied. The second one happened last night. Sugar and depression go hand-in-hand with me. The last few days I have been feeling rather down, somewhat depressed, and unable to do routine chores and personal commitments. After going to the movies yesterday afternoon, I experienced this overwhelming craving for something sweet. I had to stop by Walmart anyway, so I bought 6 cherry turnovers, and a package of 12 cookies. I ate the cherry turnovers, again in one sitting, but tossed most of the cookies in the trash.

While I am back on track this morning, I realized when I woke up that I need to treat desserts in the same way an alcoholic treats booze. No alcoholic who is serious about recovery would have just a little alcohol. As I couldn’t sleep last night, I journaled my path from having a moderate serving of sweets to the binge that happened last night. I have concluded that one is too much and a thousand will never be enough.

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