Sweet Madness

November 20, 2012

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A plate of cookies is placed on the table in the middle of the room. Heads that were formerly bent over keyboards in deep concentration, are now raised, gazing hopefully toward the newly placed treats. “Snickerdoodles! Help yourselves, guys,” the coworker (satan?) says brightly.

That’s all the encouragement needed before the entire newsroom is moving quickly toward the cookies. There’s a sudden party feel to the room as each person takes a bite and gives their crumbly review. “So-o-o-o good,” one taster gushes. “Oh my gawd, this is heaven!” another sampler exclaims.

This sweet madness overtakes the most devout dieter, the health food nut, the young, old, large and small.

I wondered about this phenomenon as I watched (heck, who am I kidding?) joined the throng gathered around the table today.

I started out this morning with a cup of coffee and an egg sandwich. I was not hungry in the least and yet, with the arrival of the cookies I stood and found myself, as if in a trance, walking with the herd.

No matter that I am twenty pounds overweight, forget the fact that I know better. The promises I made to myself the night before (no sweets, no fatty foods) are broken so easily they might never have been made.

The problem, as I see it, is that we are addicted to the custom, the excitement, the sugar. It’s a little sociable celebration each time some dessert is put before us and we gather to ohhhh and ahhhh and eat.

Is there a way to break this cycle? If I were to bring a bowl of freshly cut fruit would our behavior be similar? I believe we would still gather, still talk about the food, still enjoy the break, but maybe some of that mad sugar-craving would be under control. I’ll have to try that some day. If the dish is healthy I won’t be kicking myself for having that second helping. Bonus.