mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In praise of small packages...

Assuming my scale is correct, I've lost 4 pounds this week.

Most of that is probably because I've actually been going to the gym - I've made it 8 days in a row (although a couple of those were cut short), which is probably more than I did a month the last month or two. But the other part of it is that I've been eating better - trying to avoid bad stuff, cutting down on snacks, and eating smaller desserts.

One of my summertime weaknesses is ice cream. I have a bowl of it pretty much every night. I usually buy the low-fat kind, but once I start eating it, I often have trouble stopping. I'll have a decent-sized bowl, and then go back for seconds, and sometimes thirds.

So I've made myself stop buying half-gallons (which, thanks to rising food costs, aren't half a gallon anymore), and am instead buying novelties like popsicles and those little ice cream cups they feed to kids. They are pre-measured, so it's easier to tell myself I can have two and that's it.

Yes, I'm weak. I have no self-control, or I wouldn't have to do this. But I'm not the only person that way, or companies wouldn't be marketing "100-calorie packs" and the like. We know that long-term, it's best for us to restrict our caloric intake. But short-term, ice cream tastes good, and more of it tastes even better. So portion-control packages is a way balance short-term desires with long term goals.

I think it's a holdover of evolution that makes us eat food if it's easily accessible, even if we don't need it. In the old days, food was hard to come by, so we are hard-wired to eat it when it's available, because who knows when we'll eat next?

And it's not just humans. Today, I went to Target and stocked up on a bunch of stuff, including a bag of cat food, which I left sitting in the plastic bag in the hallway, figuring I'd bring it downstairs and lock it in the spare bathroom I use for storing the cat's stuff later. When I went to move it, I noticed Nibbler had torn a hole in the bag. Nevermind that she had 3/4 of a bowl of the exact same food sitting downstairs. Maybe part of it is the thrill of the hunt, but I think part of it is that her little kitty brain is hardwired to take any opportunity to get food - or water, for that matter, if her constant sticking her head under my kitchen faucet is any indication.


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