This is a question with potentially loaded answers, depending on who you ask? For me, one cookie is usually synonymous with the term “gateway”…gateway to more cookies, that is. The ‘just one’ policy doesn’t always work for me.
But let’s say it did. What about the advice we (I), sometimes give about making small dietary changes, such as not eating one cookie?
Well, look at what was written about it recently in the NY times, as a response to a recent set of statements made by Michelle Obama about encouraging adolescents to make small changes, like walking to school and giving up one cookie, for instance.
I agree with the experts in that our bodies do adapt to small fluctuations in caloric intake, both less and more calories. That is clever adaptation. So, sometimes small changes DON’T mean big results, but I think there is more to that story too…
There are two issues her: What size is the cookie we are talking about? And what kind of power can can exist underneath the decision to make a small change.
First the cookie:
If we’re talking about 1 small oreo or one girl scout cookie, that’s only about 70 calories, and proabably NOT going to make much difference in your weight any time soon. But if not eating one cookie stops you from spiralling into a cookie/carb binge, that cookie is worth a helluva lot more than just its own calories.
But let’s be real, many of us either eat more than one ore we get a “giant cookie”, which has a heck of a lot more calories than just a run of the meal cookie. For instance, look at this blog to see how many befuddled gals were shocked and surprsied to see that their cookies contained between 500-700 calories. For funzies I check the caloric content of a large cookie at an AM/PM mini-mart when getting gas. 500 calories. Naturally the serving size was 1/2 a cookie, but again, let’s be real!
So, in that case, refraining from one cookie, or one latte (saw an article stating that in 1989 our coffe drinks had 120 Kcal and now its about 350 calories…..whoa mamma!), or one supersized whatever, then we might actually see a difference. My secret: I do notice a difference when I lay off the store bought hot chocolate drinks . Not just in my weight, but my digestion which helps my body feel leaner all around.
Okay, now the real issue: the power of change. Did you know there are 5 stages of change? We don’t go from idea to action overnight, and that is a natural course of change (so quite beating yourself up if you wake up every Monday saying ‘today’s the day to start the diet’ and then are back to your old habits by Tuesday). So when a person decides they are going to experience whatever discomfort and effort needed to reduce their habit by one cookie, that has powerful impacts on the brain! You just developed a new neural connection in your brain that says you no longer eat a cookie after dinner (or whenever). You just told yourself you can do something new and it’s okay. You lived through not having that cookie. What other changes can this bring about? As the original article stated, this is the power of small changes – they lead to BIG changes and the confidence that once can change at all.
Recently I became ready to make a change in my diet too: no more tea with honey/half and half at my breaks. Frankly, pre and post vegan clease I’d been abusing the habit. I was trying to trick myself that half and half, not having any casein (presumably), would be okay, but I didn’t feel good and I was kind of obsessing on it. IT became my new version of hot chocolate. I’m sensing a theme here: warm sweetened drinks are kind of like cookies for me, I just can’t have one…… It felt good to make that change, and since then I’ve also developed a mindful eating practice and have reduced 1-2 meals/day by about 15%, realizing that I was simply eating too much. I am trying to enjoy the feeling of hunger when I approach a meal, and learning that it’s okay to be hungry for a little while – I don’t need to feed every physical urge.
So see, small changes can be very powerful!!!!