If I Can't See the Food, it Doesn't Exist (And Other Ways to Unhealthily Demonize Food)
Something that I’ve alluded to in previous entries is that I maaay have developed a not-so-healthy attitude and habit towards food. Taken purely as tools and methods to achieve a goal, they were absolutely effective. But now that I’m down where I’m at, they’re no longer the right tool for the job. In this climate, just being around food is difficult.
Back in the late 1960s a series of studies at Stanford University tested how well kids were able to resist instant gratification in exchange for greater reward later. They placed a marshmallow in front of the child with nothing else in the room (great way to fixate on it) and left the room with the promise that if they didn’t eat the treat, they’d get two instead of just the one they ate. The ones who were able to resist temptation went on to have higher SAT test scores, did better in school, and in general had better lives in general.
I was-- er... am the one that ate the marshmallow before the scientist turns around to leave.
It’s kind of obvious from the start that this was the case with me. I really have no head for properly considering future ramifications of my current actions. I might have improved on that front over the years, but I still have to make that assumption that this still the case. It is, at the very least, my “resting state”. Like, if I were to revert back to not giving a crap, that’s who I’d be.
Therefore, the methods and strategies that I used to prevent my base impulses from taking over and snatching the marshmallow is… to just not have a marshmallow there at all. It’s hard to overindulge on something that doesn’t exist.
This was effective for me. I only bring home enough groceries to last me a week (I also rely in my natural laziness to never go and get fast food if I have food at home anyway) so that if I do overeat what I have, I’d have to shop twice. No bueno.
But every tool can be misused. A nasty little side effect. In this regimented diet, I’ve painted myself into a social corner. It’s not surprising, but most social events center around eating. The weekends I’ve learned to be a bit more flexible, but man during the week when I have that set amount of food to consume with known calorie counts and a calorie budget to keep? It’s easier for me to turn down after-work invitations than to break out of the regiment. I relish when a social gathering happens on Thursdays since I have a built-in excuse prepared as that’s rehearsal night. Is this healthy? Turning down human contact because you fear your weak self-control? I think not. It would be easier for me to go on a 7-mile hike than to have a box of donuts in the break room, like an auger in my psyche; a siren song to my inner demon.
What should you take from this? Well, it would at least be helpful to learn from my mistakes. And to know that something like this might be on the horizon so you can nip in in the bud before it arrives. Thankfully, many doctors and licensed dieticians proffer a “mindful eating” attitude that is something I’ll take a deeper dive into in a future post.