Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Write what you bite: The virtues of accountability

I can remember all the lyrics to the David the Gnome theme song. It's been almost ten years since I studied German, but the dative pronouns are burned into my brain and I'll never be able to shake the memory of the day I got my high heel caught in a rip in my pants cuff and did a spectacular faceplant directly at Mr. Lovely's feet.

So why is it that I have food amnesia? Did I have one cookie or twelve? Did I eat just a handful of peanuts or did I scarf down half the can? Not that I'm that drifty, but I'll be eating something one minute and....oh...what was I saying?

It's not intentional, but I do suppose that there are probably so many powerful psychological forces at work here that Freud would giggle with delight. Am I repressing memories of my overeating? Or is it just that eating has become so automatic for me that I don't even think about it anymore? I'm leaning towards the auto pilot explanation.

I brainstormed a few solutions. I considered wearing one of those shock collars that would give me a jolt every time I shoveled food into my face. I also thought about paying someone to monitor my behavior and give me a slap every time I started grazing. However, these options seemed a little masochistic and probably a bit pricey. Instead, I've decided to write down every last thing I eat.

The result? Even though no one else sees my food log, knowing that I have to record everything I eat makes me consider my choices more carefully. My biggest difficulty has always been my nightly snacking/bingeing. Now, being able to look back and see how much I've eaten all day helps me to determine what I can still afford to munch on.

I know, I know. This isn't really a fresh concept, but it takes me awhile to decide whether I want to make something my own. I also know that some people will find this obsessive, but for me it is quite effective.

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