Sugar-plums

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

“… while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads …”

From ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

By Clement Clark Moore (1823)

Have you thought about “sugar-plums” lately? I am thinking about them every day and have been since before Halloween. What do I mean by sugar-plums? In the poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” sugar-plums are seeds, nuts or spices drenched in sugar. Back in the 1800s, candy contained no fruit, so there were no plums in the sugar-plum. As a kid, I imagined sugar-plums as holiday candies and confections — the kind you see in catalogues this time of year, such as The Vermont Country Store. Nowadays sugar-plums can be almost anything delicious, useful and wonderful — frosted cut-out cookies, your favorite pie, unexpected money or a friend’s surprise visit.

Apparently, my holiday “visions” began long before Christmas and now I have a “sugar-plum tree” growing inside of me! Do you have a sugar-plum tree inside of you, too? Is the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s difficult for you when it comes to overeating? How do you turn down seconds on mashed potatoes and gravy or eat just a couple of cookies and a sliver of your favorite pie, only to face the same dilemmas the next day with yummy leftovers? It seems sugar-plum visions are tricky. They have a way of becoming cravings and taking on a life of their own — thus the holiday food frenzy. How do you calm your mind in the midst of all of this?

Let’s turn to a quote by J. Krishnamurti, a writer on philosophical and spiritual subjects:

 “Whenever negativity arises in the mind, just observe it, face it. As soon as you start to observe … it begins to lose its strength and slowly withers.”

Let’s translate the above quote into help for your frenzied cravings:

“Whenever a craving arises in your mind, just observe it, face it. As soon as you start to observe … it begins to lose its strength and slowly withers.”  

You can calm your holiday food frenzies whenever you want by giving yourself a timeout, set down your fork, place your hands in your lap and just watch your frenzied thoughts. They are neither right nor wrong. They are just thoughts. Let go of trying to control them, pay attention without judging and watch your sugar-plum tree fade away.

See all of Dr. Cullman’s columns at http://www.firstlocaltoledo.com/columnists/dr-ellen-cullman. Email mindfuleatingcoach@gmail.com or call 419-494-7699 for information about coaching sessions. Dr. Cullman is available for educational presentations, seminars, and personalized retreats.