One of the most persistent “gifts” I receive each holiday season is weight gain of at least 5 pounds. I gorge myself at parties and feel sick afterward. Well-meaning coworkers give me a bag of chocolates or Christmas cookies and it sits alone in the room with me, on the counter, calling my name all shift long. I don’t have the self-discipline to resist. I also have several friends who are excellent bakers and want to share the wealth.
Here’s the thing. (Yes, there’s always a thing.) I know these people mean well, and their generosity is coming from a place of nothing but goodwill and holiday spirit, but the end result is my health is undermined from now until January 2nd, and this year I’m not gonna take it anymore.
It’s funny, the destructive ways we as a species sometimes show our love. Giving a bag of chocolate to someone who hasn’t asked for it is like saying, “I have no idea if you’re struggling with your weight, or have diabetes or heart issues, and I don’t care. Here’s a big old ball of fat for you to enjoy. Eat up! Merry Unhealthy Christmas!”
And then there are the people who send you things that aren’t palatable or that you wouldn’t consider eating at any other time of year, and because you don’t want to waste food, you eat it. Does anybody really like fruitcake? And Christmas Cookies always taste stale to me, even right out of the oven.
With all the food waste in the world, I’m loathe to throw things away. And if I don’t want to indulge in poor health myself, I don’t want to pass on that poor health to someone else, either, so giving this unwanted stuff to anyone, even a homeless shelter, seems wrong. Sugar is killing this country. And so here I am with a dilemma that I never asked for in the first place.
“But it’s tradition!” we say as we joyfully throw obesity at each other. We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings by telling them not to waste their baking on us. And it’s true, I can also be accused of having done this to people in the past without first asking. It’s what you do this time of year.
It’s particularly amusing/confusing to me when someone who is so wonderfully considerate that they say “happy holidays” to people, because like me they want all people to feel joy and inclusion at this time of year, and yet that same person is perfectly willing to ignore those of us who are desperately trying to get healthy and live longer. Diabetes? Have a cookie. You’ll feel better. It’s my mother’s recipe, may she rest in peace.
This year I discussed this issue with my two coworkers on my drawbridge, and they both agreed that they, too, have no willpower and would therefore much rather not see these sweets this year. So I sent out an e-mail to everyone in our department which said the following:
“’Tis the season when people start giving chocolates and cookies and the like to the drawbridges, and we definitely appreciate the sentiment and the warm holiday spirit. Having said that, I’ve discussed this with the two other people who work on this bridge, and the consensus is that we all want to focus on our health this year. We wish all of you the happiest of holidays, but we would prefer not to receive any such items at this time. Thanks in advance for your understanding.”
I’m really amused at some of the responses we’ve gotten. One guy, a temp who rarely works here, says he might work here one day this month, and he wants the goodies to be there. So, in other words, to hell with us.
Another person freaked out and thought we were talking about all the drawbridges, not just ours, and he made it clear that he wants the sweets on his bridge, not for him, but because someone always eats them. Well, yeah, they do, but do they regret it? Have you even asked? Well, not my bridge, so not my realm of influence.
Another person, who always buries us in chocolate, acted all offended even though I think my e-mail was polite. If an e-mail such as this upsets you, you may want to examine why you are giving out the chocolate in the first place. Is your desire to be perceived as a nice person more important than the recipient’s desire to reach his or her health goal? Well, sorry, but my health comes first from now on, even if you do get butt hurt.
Call me a Grinch if you must, but I know for a fact that I hear people constantly complaining about being surrounded at this time of year by foods they’d prefer not to eat for whatever reason. And I hear those same people expressing seasonal regret in January for having ingested the stuff in the first place.
So if you’re going to provide these kinds of temptations, please, first ask if they’re wanted. And if you ask me, my answer is going to be no thank you. Please don’t take it personally. Just kindly keep your candy canes to yourself. I’d much rather have the pleasure of your company, or, barring that, a children’s book for my little free library. That’s the kind of thing I’m perfectly willing to pass along.
A book about gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5