On my desk at work is a decorated glass jar with a screw top lid. Inside it, perfectly clear to view through the glass are squares of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate. Reaction from my work colleagues and visitors to the office varies from the admiring …
“Wow! That’s great!”
Through the unbelieving …
“Oooh, I couldn’t have that on my desk. I’d eat it all in one go!”
“Don’t you find you just keep eating chocolate all day?”
“How can you stand having that there?”
To the wistful …
“You must be very strong-willed …”
As you can see, the majority of the comments are quite negative. They assume that the presence of chocolate guarantees an instant uncontrollable binge. Or that this is some masochistic test of my iron will-power in the face of the most terrible temptation known to womankind.
What few of them know is that it’s even worse than their wildest imaginings!
For not only do I have full glass jar of chocolate on my desk, I have a large bar in my desk drawer to keep the jar topped up!
The sight of this jar on my desk day after day, filled constantly with squares of chocolate did lead one colleague to speculate that I never actually ate any of it because the level in the jar didn’t go down at all. (She’d clearly been monitoring it over some time!). I took pity on her and told her that I kept it topped up from the supply in my desk drawer. A little light dawned, but she still had no idea of the reason for all this ostentatious display of deliciousness.
This is one of the things I am doing to work on my relationship with food. In the past if I bought chocolate, I would eat it instantly. If unable to do so, I would hide it until I could eat it all at once, regardless of whether I still wanted it or was hungry. This hiding of chocolate was intended to prevent anyone else from eating my precious supply. On at least one occasion this backfired when we took down some bookshelves to paint the wall behind them and found several Flakes that were out of date by a good 2 years …
So now that my chocolate is out in the open – how does it affect me? It makes me feel secure; I have more chocolate than I could possibly eat, so future supply is assured. It makes me feel in control; I can eat the chocolate or not, it won’t matter, it’ll still be there tomorrow. It helps me to know that I am slowly mending my relationship with food – some days go past and I don’t eat any of the chocolate in my jar. On other days I eat several squares – but I always top it up straight away, so that there’s never a feeling of deprivation or a dwindling supply.
What used to happen when there was only a little of something left was that I would eat it up ‘to get rid of it’, or ‘to finish it up’ or ‘because it’s not worth keeping it’ or because I was afraid that if I didn’t, someone else would.
Now I have my jar full to the brim with wonderful squares of chocolate and I feel good about that.
Stocking up is part of the Beyond Chocolate Principles. It may not be something that helps everyone (particularly initially), but at some point in our relationship with food it’s certainly worth looking at how we react to quantity as well as lack. Do either of those extremes make us more or less likely to over-eat? If so, what can we do to reassure ourselves that even if there is a lot or very little, it’s all right and there will be food when we next want or need it?
Stocking up certainly works for me – I cope far better in a glut than in a famine. But it’s likely to be different for you – experiment and see what happens….