When I’m out of control with eating, (like lately) the only thing that keeps me from eating whatever I want is social acceptability. My idea of eating and social acceptability has changed over time, though. As a kid and young adult, I thought I should eat whenever anyone else was eating. So, I used to eat whenever I saw another person eating. This means I might basically have lunch twice and a snack if I was hanging out in a dining room or break room.
This isn’t logical or sustainable. Yesterday, I was at a party. I started eating snacks as soon as someone else began eating. (If you’re curious, I ate a banana, some popcorn, and one piece of candy before the party really got started.) But then, people (all the people at the party) were eating for at least a half hour. So, I ate three mini-cupcakes and a mini brownie and more popcorn before I finally left. I actually walked out of the party with the third mini-cupcake so I could enjoy it in relative privacy.
Even with that ridiculousness, I still made better decisions than I would have in the past. For example:
1. I didn’t eat everything all at once. I waited until the party ‘commencement,’ when it was officially acceptable to eat the cupcakes before I got any. I wouldn’t have eaten before ‘commencement’ at all except one of the party honorees started eating early.
2. I stalled in the food line by picking up pretzels that fell on the ground and let people go in front of me to give myself time to calm down (because I was obsessing over the cupcakes).
3. I waited until I sat down before eating any food. (Strict adherence to perceived social norms saves me sometimes. I think that’s partly why they exist, actually.)
4. I took cinnamon pills beforehand. They’re supposed to help with insulin resistance. I knew I was going to eat something I shouldn’t, so I mitigated the damage.
5. I used the standing desk afterwards. Standing burns more calories and gets more sugar into my cells and out of the blood stream.
Character is who you are when no one is watching. –Fortune Cookie
However, I still have so much room to improve. Instead of eating like everyone, I need to eat like one person. So, I tried that out the next day as the week of out of control continued. The next morning, our intern brought donuts. (He was at the party yesterday, but I guess he doesn’t care how much junk he eats. Plus, it’s his last week, and he was trying to be nice on a college kid’s budget.) So, there were two people eating donuts with me this morning. One guy cut a donut in half. (I tip my hat to you, sir.) The other guy ate two donuts. I ate a half a donut…Then came back and got another donut and a half. So, at least now I’m eating like one person instead of all of them. My usual number of donuts, pre-pre-diabetes, was four (4), or two donuts and two kolaches.
I think eating like one person is a good rule that I’m going to have to incorporate. I can’t always be in perfect control, but I can make incrementally better decisions. Right now, I need really big increments. Like, huge chunks of better decisions, preferably with lots of vegetables, perhaps in curry.