Container Eating or How I Finished the Whole Thing

August 18, 2009

Have you ever finished an entire container of Haagen Daaz?  Or potato chips?  Or cookies?  Or broccoli?  (ok, let’s face it, no one eats broccoli like that)

I have been victim to “container eating”.  Many times.  I’ve already regaled you with stories of me finishing entire sleeves of Oreos without even thinking.  I also used to eat Stella D’Oro cookies like that.  That damn Margherite Combination was always eaten in 1 or 2 sittings – no more.  I remember dipping the cookies into ice cold (whole!) milk as a child and swallowing the cookies practically whole.  I bought a package like 2 weeks ago at Fairway as a treat.  I calculated the points, and decided that 2 cookies for 3 points was acceptable and bought it.  It sat on the counter un-opened for a few days.  Then a friend came over and opened it and had one.  More time elapsed.  Then, finally, the craving I was waiting for reared its ugly head.  I said to my husband, “I know what I want, the Stella D’Oro cookies!  Bring me a glass of milk.”

I hunkered down on the couch for a satisfying stay with the cookies, milk and my memories of childhood.  I took a chocolate cookie first, dunked it into my vanilla flavored soy milk and then attempt to swallow it whole.  Hmm.  Something was missing.  It wasn’t that good.  It was kinda bland, lifeless.  I stopped.  I figured if the chocolate was tasteless, the vanilla was going to be worse!  I don’t need this.  If’ it’s not going to bring me back to the days of old, why bother?  I assumed the usage of vanilla soy milk is what ruined it, but who knows?

There’s a couple of things at play here:

1. Why is container eating so satisfying?

Container eating is satisfying because we like a sense of completion.  I can check that block of cheese off my list!  Also, we have no sense of knowing when to stop.  The lines of full/not full are so blurred at this point, the only way we know to stop is when the container (or plate) is empty.

2. Why am I seeking out food to bring me back to memories of my childhood?

I had an alright childhood, but nothing worth putting on the pounds for!  Something about the familiarity is seductive.  I’ve always eaten these cookies and they’ve always tasted the same.  What about…  “I can eat like a 12 year old and not gain weight” – we know it’s not true but we always want to try and prove it.  Childhood is comforting, its a time when life was simpler, you didn’t need to count points or worry about what size your pants were.  It was just easier!

3. What was my initial craving about that I desired an entire box of cookies?

Hmm, the hardest one to answer.  I think I was sad.  I was upset, I wanted to be comforted.  I wanted to feel special.  I wanted to indulge.   I was happy too, content.  All of the emotions can make you want to eat – happy, sad, bored…

The bottom line is – I didn’t really need a “treat” as I called the cookies in paragraph two of this entry.  When I worked at a cosmetics counter we used to say, “A free sample is not a reward for a purchase.”  Well, “An unhealthy snack isn’t a reward for making it through the day, it’s the opposite of a reward, whatever that is!

Ok, deep breath: today I’m going to eat to live, not live to eat.

AND, I’m gonna throw out those boring cookies…I swear.

3 Responses to “Container Eating or How I Finished the Whole Thing”

  1. Deirdre said

    As they say, a single treat is just that, a “treat”. Anything more than that becomes “treatment”!

  2. affairwithcheese said

    I love that quote, I will try and remember it next time Oreos are on sale at Fairway.

  3. Krista said

    Where’s the post about Barbounia 🙂

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