Eating Experiment No. 4: Preliminary Findings

Outrageous experiments in sensible eating.
Jan. 30 2011 3:17 PM

Eating Experiment No. 4: Preliminary Findings

Goal: to be an eating ninja, to stick to my plan and not be swayed by outside influence.

/blogs/cleanplate/2011/01/30/eating_experiment_no_4_preliminary_findings/jcr:content/body/slate_image
Ellen Tarlin Ellen Tarlin

Ellen Tarlin is a former Slate copy chief and writer of the "Clean Plate" blog. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBrooklyn Bridge, Bark, and  the RISK storytelling podcast. Follow her on Twitter.

Loved: This week wasn't all that hard for me, I think because I've sort of been doing it all along. I've been cognizant of temptations, I've been eating foods from home almost exclusively I think the only thing I've bought to-go all month has been one coffee from Starbucks. However, this week was easy because I was home a lot: I'd taken one day off work, worked at home one day because a snowstorm caused transport problems, and didn't feel well one day.

Advertisement

Hated: I hated seeing how many temptations are around me all the time. It's as though they lie in wait until you are vulnerable hungry, tired, emotional and then they are always there for you to grab quickly. Ubiquity as marketing.

Learned: I reaffirmed something I learned in Week 1, which is that being full on healthy food is the best protection against temptation. Though I saw a lot of tempting foods, I seldom actually felt tempted, because I'd already eaten. The most tempting things were having chocolates in my house that I saw every time I opened the freezer, working on the blog and seeing pictures of chocolates and other foods, when my husband was eating something good (more cheese plate!) or brought me candy ( Jelly Belly Dips !) and I didn't want him to think I was unappreciative. Also, Santoku knives are great!

Surprises: I'm surprised temptation hasn't been an issue all along. I've never made it this far on any "diet" without succumbing within two weeks. I thought purchasing things on-the-go would be an issue all along, but since it hasn't been, this week wasn't much different from other weeks. However, in Week 3 when I could eat anything I wanted, I didn't want to go back to unhealthy foods. This week, because I wasn't allowed to eat whatever I wanted, suddenly I wanted pie and other baked, sugary desserts. This isn't surprising. Making things forbidden is a sure trigger for desire. What's surprising is that it didn't occur to me this would happen this week.

E-mail direct mail advertisements are a significant source of temptation. I'm always clicking on links to get a closer look at the things that interest me but I never really saw it as teasing myself before.

Other surprises: I don't miss ice cream, and I haven't baked myself brownies yet.

Also, black beans are good to eat without any adornment.

Funny Things: I had intended to write about the Starbucks pastry case , the way the canvas ropes guide the customers right past it, the way it seems to be the exact same height as I am, thereby putting all those temptations right at eye level, although really, with that more-than-90-degree curved glass, just about everyone's eyes from children to the very tall are guided right to it, but then I never did end up going to Starbucks this week. I'd also intended to write about how the Wafels and Dinges truck has been tormenting me for months, but I saw it yesterday and ... eh, nothing.

/blogs/cleanplate/2011/01/30/eating_experiment_no_4_preliminary_findings/jcr:content/body/slate_image0

Conclusion: The same things that usually tempt me tempted me this week too chocolate, bakery display cases, baked goods, cheese and chocolate in my house, e-mail, photographs of food but it's much more manageable when I'm full. It also helped that I knew I had some chocolates at home that I would be eating later.

Next Up: Tomorrow I discuss the fifth obstacle to sensible eating: inertia.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.