Friday, May 21, 2010

More about the End of Overeating

A couple more points about hyperpalatability that I didn't want to forget because they tend to be traps of mine:

  • Supersize -- that is, for some reason, big portions seem more attractive than small ones. It may be an American thing, but I'm not sure if it's JUST an American thing.
  • Bargain Price -- if you not only get a lot of something, but also, a lot for the money, for some reason, it's easier to eat more. At least, he mentions this too, and it's true for me.
  • Convenience. This seems like a biggie. Everyone seems to want food they can grab on the run and consume easily. Often that is processed and fatty/salty/sugary food.
I work against these "near occasions" of mine by:

  • Planning smaller portions, more frequently. But it's hard. I realized a couple of days ago that I don't REALLY like cookies or chocolate or whatever so much that I eat a bunch of them. I do like them, but after a few bites I often hardly taste them. Rather, I eat a bunch of them because having eaten a lot of carbs and fat is a kind of self-medication. I actually tend to LIKE the feeling of having eaten a whole box of cookies. But that feeling doesn't last long, so I go hunting for something else to eat, and I can get through a lot of food in a day that way. It was sort of a revelation to realize that. I thought I ate too much chocolate or several Value Meal chicken sandwiches at a time because I couldn't resist the taste, but that really isn't it, not quite.
  • Contemplating the reality that being content with simpler, more wholesome and less, food is a better bargain than buying a big box of cookies that are only a couple of dollars but are just sugar, fat, and chemicals. For example, (I know I'm weird), I can get a thrill out of making part of a meal out of one of the ends of the bread loaf that usually get tossed out. I just got 7 percent of my day's calories at practically no cost. And cheaper than buying an (unnecessary, junky) bargain is making do with what's already in the kitchen. I'm trying to focus on that aspect of it.
  • I don't think I can get over my love of convenience, and I don't think I have to, because I can't see anything wrong with eating a simple quick meal; the problem with it for me is that it lends itself to impulse, eating accessible but not very healthy food, breaking time boundaries and grazing all day, and also not being aware of fullness signals (because I'm eating when I'm doing something else, or eating very accessible food that doesn't lend itself to "full" signals). Planning what I'm going to eat ahead of time seems to help me with that, and it also helps to keep food in the eating area, and to be relaxed when I'm eating. I'm not ready to give up my convenience factor yet, but maybe I can disassociate it from the problematic aspects.
I hope I am not giving the impression that I have a problem with bargains, big portions, or convenience. I have a theory that everything people want is good in some respect. Otherwise, why on earth would they want it? No one works against their own perceived good but the problem is that in a conflict, a lesser good can outweigh a greater one. The reasons to go for the lesser good become more compelling than the reasons to go for the higher one. The challenge is to put the relative goods in the proper hierarchy and of course, that is a lifetime job.

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