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My theory about successful weight management is that it takes a balance of doing just enough of the right behaviors, without being 100% perfect all of the time. Yet one behavior that I don’t feel I have the hang of is indulgence.
Now, on a daily basis, I figure out how to fit chocolate into my life. I also like to sprinkle into my regimen things like hard cheeses, bread, and sweets. The issue for me is that I have trouble fitting in things that don’t fit in. By which I mean, if I want a burger AND fries AND a chocolate shake in one meal, I don’t really have a way of making that seem okay for myself. I might try to budget extra for it, I might try to count it towards my exercise goals, but in the back of my mind, I think “Jonathan, you can’t have ALL OF THAT AT ONCE. NO!”
It seems to me that it would be helpful for me to be more accepting of unreasonable eating occasions, without the fear or belief that it will send me down a butter-greased slope into a vat of chocolate. The fact that slip-ups have become fall-downs in my past makes me extra nervous about all of this.
Fortunately, I do have one positive experience with indulgence that gives me hope.
It just so happens that (suprise) cookies are my all time favorite food. And in December, my favorite of the favorites are Christmas cookies (generally the sugary ones with frosting). So my personal rule of thumb is this: Between December 1st and December 25th, I will eat twelve Christmas cookies.
The rule is undefined –they don’t have to be a certain type or size, they don’t have to be eaten on separate days, and the caloric value isn’t a consideration. The only hard and fast things are that I limit myself to 12, and they have to taste GREAT.
What usually happens is that I’m very careful to make sure about my choices, because I don’t want to waste them. But I don’t guilt myself about it, either. One year I ate ten awesome cookies in one sitting (or actually I may have been standing). Last year, however, I made it to about eight over the course of the month, and then time was up before I found enough good ones.
For me, it’s a fun way to let go without scaring myself. I just wish I had more.