A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to attend a “cookie swap.” I accepted without fully understanding what that meant… For those who have never heard of these before, a “cookie swap” is a social get-together where everyone brings a batch of cookies. You leave with a mix-and-match batch of all the other types of cookies that people 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 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 you! 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. It might change your life!
Tales from the scale – the cookie swap: “No, you don’t seem to understand, the cookies go in my mouth!”
The cookie swap had about 10-15 adults in attendance who brought all different kinds of cookies. As people started arriving, they placed the cookies on a dedicated cookie table. 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!
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 came out 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. Everyone sampled the different types of cookies to determine which types they would take home. I realized that I wasn’t going to eat 15 different cookies in one sitting physically, so I had to be strategic about it. I split many cookies into small pieces with others to 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 new favorite type of cookie baggie: 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 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 not to clean your plate!
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 that involves high-calorie or unhealthy foods, these eating in moderation 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 unique; 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 can be not very comforting to be invited to a social event that involves a lot of food when you’re trying to lose weight. Still, if I can survive a cookie swap, we can survive anything!
Remember, people and relationships are truly important. All the foodstuff can be sorted out! ?