Yesterday my wife gathered family members for an afternoon of cookie-baking. I was out of the house finishing up a commissioned painting for a friend, so the merriment and smells did not rope me in.
When present during a cookie-baking event, it is very hard not to hover over the table where the cookies are set out to cool. There are always a few strays that beg to be eaten.
When a cookie-baking session lasts for several hours, this can prove devastating to one’s commitment to limiting sugar intake. It just doesn’t happen.
But by the time I returned from the painting studio, the huge batches of cookies were already being parsed out and divvied up. That afforded precious objectivity. It wouldn’t do to short any bakers the wares they had created!
So despite the sight of cookies as big as my hand, I resisted beyond all doubt, succumbing only to one slightly burnt snickerdoodle. I successfully ran away from the rest of the Christmas Cookie bounty.
That’s important because weight gain during the holidays is a real problem for me. My already slowing metabolism sucks up sugar like a hungry hummingbird at a summer feeder. But without my hyper-youthful-energy-burning-runner’s-metabolism working overtime like it once did, any consumed extra sugar just turns to fat.
For decades we were told that eating fat was the enemy. That eating fat would make us fat. Turns out it is carbohydrates and sugars that are making us all round as baby seals. So it pays to run away from the Christmas Cookies if you don’t want to come out the other end of the holidays looking like a squeeze of that expanding home repair foam.
I’ve been doing my best to keep working out every day. Two speed workouts on the track last week. A good five-mile run on Saturday morning. A mountain bike ride on Sunday morning. The ride would have been longer had I not torn my new Proviz cycling jacket while passing by a tree branch. It tore a clean hole in the shoulder of the jacket. That reflective material is bright when illuminated but delicate when struck by a limb. Bummer. I’ll have to ask them for a new one?
So my plan of riding more miles in the battle of calorie war got cut short. But I did enjoy pedaling through the gloom of the day while soaking in the matted down appearance of the open spaces. Pedaling across the gray landscape on a December day is to me, a real pleasure. I like the leftover shapes of snow in the weeds. The sagging heap of abandoned hay below tall power lines. The crackling sound of fat tires over limestone paths and riding so far out in the fields it matters to no one else but me. And that’s enough.
Back home, after the big cookie baking schedule was over, we had a bit of pizza (just three small slices for me, thank you) and off we went to the Illumination display at the Morton Arboretum. We wandered through the light displays with cups of warm hot chocolate touched by rum, in my case, and peppermint schnapps in Sue’s cup. Her kids were wandering along with us and the night was cool, but not cold. It was a perfect conclusion to a pre-holiday afternoon. Outside of the sipping drink, the entire affair was delightfully colorful and relatively calorie free. The way it should be.