In the house where I was raised, the pantry looked like the Pepperidge Farm aisle at Ralph’s (we were very popular when other kids visited). This scenario always leads to overeating. Always. When we get hungry, we prowl around the kitchen like a primal animals in search of something. We are visual and scan the vast prairie while licking our chops.
And if the vista includes Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, See’s Candy, a box of donuts and a row of Pepperidge Farm cookies, we’ll probably be ripping apart the package with our bare teeth in no time. Very respectable people such as myself could be found face down in a box of See’s (a cup of black tea spiked with soymilk providing the only interruption).
Not stocking these types of foods in the house encourages the hunting down of healthier foods, because when we are hungry, we tend to get lazy and not want to drive or walk very far in search of something when there’s perfectly good food right in front of us. So if you crack open the fridge and there are baby carrot sticks, peanut butter, nuts, cheese, low fat yogurt, salad, and cucumbers, and you have a pantry that contains whole grain crackers, cans of beans, whole grain pasta and other staples, you’re more likely to eat them if there are no boxes of EasyMac dressed up in a bright box calling you like a siren to the shore.
So the place to have self control is really at the market, right?
It’s okay to have the occasional crappy snack food, or villainously chocolate treat, but if you only get it out of the house and you never (rarely? You decide) bring it in, you won’t be eating it nearly as often.
We have an M&M issue in our house: the kid loves them, I couldn’t care less because unless I’m uncommonly desperate (and that requires microwaving the little suckers so the chocolate oozes out easily), those have no appeal. There’s a candy coating keeping me from what’s important there. But the spouse, well, you can be married a long time and still not really know someone. When I bought a large bag of the stuff, he tilted it into his mouth like a feed bag and ate them like a dog eats a biscuit (prompting the same response: is he tasting that at all?!). So, I have resorted to hiding them at his request. But you know what? Once I hid them, everyone forgot about them and no one eats them. If you know you don’t’ want to be eating it, don’t have it in the house. Point made.