The Return of the Cookie Monster

My son is home from college (for about two weeks between his summer job on campus and the start of the fall semester).  His arrival was heralded by thoughts of food.

Last time he visited, I baked him his favorite cookies.  Yes, I showed my love with food.  And I had an internal debate about doing it (which you can read here).  And while he was home, I spent almost as much time thinking about the darn cookies on the kitchen counter as I did time appreciating my son’s company!  (You can read about that here.)

So here I sit again, with cookies on the brain.  Darn, even my computer has cookies!

But I am bound and determined to learn from my mistakes missteps on my journey and I have learned a lot about the affect of home-baked treat temptation.  So, this sometimes smart dieter is still going to bake for her son, but I will only do so the day before he leaves so that the cookies are around for as short a time as possible!  And he can think of me when he eats them on his drive back to campus and while hanging out in his dorm:)

So far I am steadfastly resisting the the other food temptation that his visit has thrown at me.  Like lunch after lunch of macaroni and cheese.  And restaurant meals.  And the great love of my life bagels.  And let me tell you, the smell of frozen pizza heated in the oven lingers tauntingly for a very long time!

I love having my son home.  Someday, maybe, I will welcome him without my mind going to food.  Maybe not though… since just having him here means stocking the pantry and planning his favorite meals.  And, yes, baking him cookies.



Filed under family, influence of others

42 responses to “The Return of the Cookie Monster

  1. Oh..cookies…its been tough this weekend…Cookies on the counter. That is the hardest for me! But so far so good.

  2. What a wonderful mom! Sacrificing yourself for your son!!! 😉

    I do love me my cookies on the weekend for a treat!!! I go out for them BUT I do make my own protein cookies for the house & they have all healthy & good ingredients along with plenty of protein so good for me!

    I love bagels too but that is one thing with age, I have limited… I use to be able to eat 1 a day but now I have replaced with my healthy breads as the older Jody bod does not handle them that well. I do treat myself though with them… if in the freezer, 1 per week.

    • Karen

      That’s a nice positive spin:) I don’t know what it is about bagels that I love so much. Something about the texture. They are supercharged bread! I am already thinking ahead to when I know we will be at a friend’s house next month and I suspect bagels will be on the menu. If they are, I am having one!

  3. I have a similar entry from a while back about comforting my Hubs with food when he’s had a bad day. It’s a cultural thing – I swear – and it’s SOOOOOOO hard to get out of the cycle. I wonder, though, if you made a healthier version of the cookie if he’d even notice. It’s a scientific fact that men are less sensitive to smells and tastes than women [Thank you 5th grade field trip!]. If they are healthier, they may not appeal to you as much and/ or they’ll be healthier if you do have them. I hope, for your sake andmine [as now I’ll think about them all day] that they aren’t peanut butter cookies. DAMN PEANUT BUTTER!

    • Karen

      I was just thinking about how that cultural thing is so true! Food for celebrations and happy times and food for comfort. Yikes – no wonder so many of us have eating issues. Honestly, my guess is he would not want them if they are not the way he likes them. The only positive with that is that he is skinny so can handle the extra fat and sugar for his treat. I hate to tell you what my husband and I bought to help stock his dorm room!

  4. Oh My! You are stronger than i!

  5. Great idea (for more than one reason) to bake for your son just before he leaves! I learned (the hard way) to exercise my affection for baking just before the treats are delivered. That ‘get it done ahead of time’ thing doesn’t work so well for me with baked goods. 🙂

  6. I do understand where you’re coming from. I used to think that the only way I could lose weight was to give up baking. I am learning that the two have got to co-exist. Because if it doesn’t then weight loss for me translates into punishment. I will view it as the reason I can’t bake. Giving myself permission to bake AND lose weight makes it’s a little easier. The temptation is still there, but so far so good.

    • Karen

      I know lots of people who watch their weight or who are on diets who manage to bake healthy alternatives. And I get a cooking magazine with great recipes like that. But for me, I just can’t have the baked stuff around and not crave it. Sigh.

  7. It sounds like you’re like me. I love to feed people, especially those I love the best (my family). It’s almost ingrained for me to greet people with foods that I think they’ll love. And those sons, mine always came home from school so tall and hungry-looking. You almost had to feed ’em up. But so many times, even with hungry home-from-school sons, I’d find myself eating a large portion of the goodies. My sons like a good brownie or cookie, but I’m the one who tossed ’em down two at a time. I think your idea of day-before (maybe night before) is great. Maybe you can even make them and pack them up so he can open them in the car.

  8. Baking just before he returns is a smart idea. That way you don’t have temptation sitting on the counter, but your son still gets his mum’s legendary cookies 🙂

  9. My daughter has been baking my favorite oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips for her boyfriend and the house smells so good that I have been escaping to an upstairs room to get away from it! I make her take every cookie to him or hide the extra cookie dough in the freezer in the garage.

    Actually, the cookie dough is a weakness so I just stay away from the freezer so I don’t even know if there is cookie dough out there riht now…oh, no. Now I am thinking about it…

    • Karen

      I cannot keep cookie dough in the freezer! For ages, my husband would buy the big Toll House containers from Costco and keep them in the basement freezer and I would go down with a knife and wedge out some dough and eat it! My youngest likes oatmeal chocolate chip too so I suspect that is what I will be baking for him one day.

  10. Oh Karen, I totally understand what you’re going through now. Cookies are one of the hardest things to resist for me. I’m not satisfied unless I eat 20 at a time.

    One of the things that my husband does: he will buy a package of cookies, eat one and then leave it around and forget about it for the next 3 weeks, until he opens up the package, has one more, then forgets about it again for a month. Drives me nuts! I sit there and think and think and think and think about those cookies until I usually end up eating WAY too many of them. I just don’t get how he doesn’t eat all of them in one day like I would. Argh, so is life.

    Good luck staying away from them! I’m betting you’ll do better than I would do!

  11. sunnydaze

    I think most of us show our love with food. Think back to some of your favorite times when you were a little girl and they probably revolve around food. I know mine do – like holidays with plenty of food and goodies, I felt so safe and taken care of. We are doing the same for our children.

    • Karen

      So true. And my mom still does it but now only at gatherings. And I used to take the leftovers home but have finally learned not to do that.

  12. Be strong as I know you will. Your son probably won’t even miss those foods with all the other excitement he must be feeling just to be home. What a great mom you are to still want to please his sweet tooth. smile.

  13. Karen, I don’t know how you manage to stay on track the vast majority of time with your family – honestly. It’s so easy with only 2 of us in the house and both watching our nutrition and not wanting to lovingly bake for family. Your ability to do this, solutions and sharing keep inspiring me.

    Sigh, even though my brain’s sweet lobe seems to have atrophied, I do love me some chocolate chip cookies. Baking cc cookies was a grand tradition growing up and probably why, during the time spent with my family of origin after my mother’s death, cookies were the only sweet food that “called” to me.

    • Karen

      I do think there is memory associated with certain foods. And a funny death/food story for you: when my grandmother died, in her 90s, she had some of her famous cookies in a jar on her counter. We passed them out to family but saved one for my cousin who kept it in her freezer for years as a model that she could try to replicate! She never got them right though:(

      I have warned my husband that when our next empties next fall there is no reason for any junk food in the house at all. Period.

  14. I dream about cookies. sigh. bagel wise may I suggest you check out the Western bagel company sebsite and their perfect 10 bagel, tastes good, high protein, high fiber, lower carb and only 140 calories. No reason you can’t have a bagel.

    • Karen

      Sounds like a good alternative if the day comes I can do moderation. I did try some bagel thins this summer. Ate three one night after dinner:(

  15. Waiting until he’s about to leave to bake the next batch is a great plan. Even better to keep him in the kitchen while the baking is in process to avoid digging into the bag of chocolate chips too much, something I know a lot about. Karen, your boys are lucky to have you. Sounds like you are such a loving mom.

  16. I think baking needs a 12 step plan or something. Like you start off not eating it at all, and then only at friends houses, then bake before people leave, then bake only things you don’t like, etc. It weens it back into your life. I had a few epic blow outs with baking right after I hit goal weight after so many months of calorie counting too.

    That sounds like a much nicer happier medium than last time.

    • Karen

      Funny:) I had not even thought to bake elsewhere! And I keep thinking about what I can bake for my book club next week that I don’t like!

  17. Amy

    The only time I bake is when I know it is leaving the house right after, party, potluck, etc. Hubby complains that I always bake for others. You plan sounds like a great idea.

  18. Sounds like you have a good plan for baking at the last minute. I do great as long as I don’t take a taste. Bake them, box them and run water in the bowl asap!

    My 20 year old son who is tall and thin can eat any and everything and loves sweets, I have learned to just not touch his junk food, no taste and then I don’t have any desire for it.

    I read once that we crave the foods we eat and I think that is so true. If I don’t eat the junk I don’t crave the junk.

  19. I actually bake quite a bit because I really do love it. We have so many of us at home though – it’s like instant portion control because it just goes so quickly. I like your plan – just don’t feel deprived because that can backfire. (Just speaking from personal experience!)

  20. GAH! This is one of the many reasons I know that being a parent is way over my head. How do you make them feel loved and special (and yes, remembering that he loves your favorite cookies is a form of love) without SHOWING your love via food?

    I have no idea.

    I do know that you will figure it all out – you’re pretty amazing! 🙂

    • Karen

      Sigh. This is one of those things that I might do differently if I could parent over again. Certainly I would have fed my boys more healthy food and had more veggies with meals!

  21. How about next time on his last day make it for him to take with him? That way he’s gotten the cookie love and you won’t have to worry 🙂

  22. I also “show my love” to my kids by baking stuff. They are going to eat treats so I figure home baked is best. At least there’s no HFCS and hydrogenated oils, trans fats, etc.!!!

    • Karen

      That is one good way to look at it and handle it. Unfortunately, mine still eat all that other stuff too. We are sending my son back to school with an amazing supply of junk food:( I wish I had been into healthy living when mine were younger. I wonder what they would eat now if I had!

  23. When I used to bake lots, I would always bring the entire batch somewhere. To the office or to my friends at the bars/clubs. (You can imagine how people looked at me when I walked up to the club with a bunch of cookies!) I got to bake, which I love, and didn’t have to worry about the potential of eating the whole batch myself.

    I don’t know what’ll happen when I have kids. I’m hoping I’ll be so deeply entrenched in my healthy lifestyle by then that it’ll never be an issue. Of course, that’s easy to say…

    • Karen

      You can be a great experimenter and come up with super healthy recipes to bake for them! Or you can teach them the joy of baking and gifting to others? Fortunately, I don’t actually like to bake. I just do it when I need to.

  24. Hmmm, you read about the dreaded bagels on my post. I’m guessing you don’t want me to send you the nine bagels in my freezer that you told me to throw away.

    • Karen

      No thank you:) I hope the tone was okay; it was a lot like baking cookies for my son – showing love in the way that the moment calls for. And the timing… you wrote this just after I had seen similar tough love from my own readers.

  25. I’m wondering if you could have a conversation with your son about this? Ask HIM in what ways you best show your love for and appreciation of him… how does he know you love him? Maybe it’s not cookies or favorite meals at all…. maybe it is… Knowing what he thinks and possibly telling him of your food issues around his visits might be useful. Does he read your blog?

    • Karen

      I think you are the one who recommended that book to me about love. I do have it reserved at the library. I try to keep my eating issues on the down low. My goal is to not give my kids issues; they eat crap, yes, but they have what I would consider “normal” relationships with food. I would cringe if they read the blog. Bad enough I worry what the few family who know about it! Maybe I will write a whole post about this.

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