In most instances, the “Cookie Monster” symbolized a googly-eyed, hungry, and playful Sesame Street muppet. With an insatiable appetite, he craved cookies, and consumed anything and everything. Ironically, in my case, I identified a cookie as a complete monster. A small sweet cake, typically round and flat, became a demon.
We had just finished our last team lift of the week. As a reward, our strength and conditioning staff directed our team over to the desk where they were offering a special treat– those ever so popular and scrumptious sugar cookies with thick pink frosting covered with sprinkles. As my teammates rushed over to the display, I hesitated, and realized I had a major dilemma. There was no way in hell I was about to consume a fattening cookie. Thoughts began racing through my mind. Do I make a mad dash out of the weight room before anyone noticed I didn’t grab one? Do I act “normal” and grab a cookie like everyone else? Either option would result in the same outcome – not eating the cookie. If I were to grab one like everyone else, I would just have to hold it in my hand. If I did that, I would awkwardly hold it as far away from my body as possible, like I would maybe die if it even touched me. If someone were to ask why I wasn’t taking a bite, should I just lie and say I was saving it for later? As if they would actually believe me. The most ideal plan would be to spot a garbage can, grab a cookie, and swiftly dispose of it before any questioning.
The thought of actually taking a bite of a cookie was not even an option. I couldn’t eat a cookie. I hated the taste of cookies, or so I had convinced myself. Not only did I not like the taste, but even if I did, it would not be worth the intake of such an enormous amount of fat and calories. When I looked at a cookie, all I saw was fat, which was equivalent to poison. Fat in the cookie literally was going to kill me, physically and emotionally. Let’s just hyopthetically say I took a bite of the cookie. My body would have gone into shock, I would have felt sick for days because I had not consumed a morsel of fat in months, and I would have been in severe psychological distress from the mere thought of eating such a fattening food, again, I thought.
I gawked at my teammates who effortlessly and without hesitation grabbed a cookie and enjoyed the treat. I, on the other hand, suffered from obsessive thoughts and multiple obstacles over the potential of having to eat a stupid cookie.
Realistically, the consumption of that cookie would have had no affect on my body. However, in my mind, the thought of eating it triggered a massive earthquake of anxieties, with thoughts erupting out of my ears. I believed my body would have actually blown up. So, when food was offered to me, I automatically replied, “No thank you,” and continued to restrict myself from eating: treats or non-treats, they all became the enemy.