Midnight snack

I woke from a bad dream the other night, so I clicked on the television at about midnight hoping to find some mindless babble to lull me back to sleep. What I found instead was nearly every commercial was about food. Not just any food, either. It was all late night snack food: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms, ice cream, Doritos, Little Debbie’s… I could go on and on. It was like they knew all of my favorites.

Suffice it to say, when I should have been sleeping, I found myself craving candy, pastries, and chips. It wasn’t long before I was out of bed searching through my cupboards for some kind of snack. Whether it was good fortune or good planning on my part, turns out it had been a while since the last time I did groceries. Also, the last time I did the shopping, I purposefully left the snack food out of my cart. After about 15 minutes of searching unsuccessfully, I gave up and crawled back in bed. I turned the television off and picked up a book. Probably what I should’ve done in the first place.

Those marketing people are genius. They know which buttons to push to make us want any product they place in front of us, whether it’s a chocolate bar or a Cadillac. Which makes me wonder, is it possible to rewire my brain to keep it from reacting to their evil, consumerist ploys?

I think inventors should design something like the electric collar my dogs wear to keep them from barking – only this device would send a jolt of electricity through my body every time I put something bad for me even near my mouth.

I’ve heard of people taking really extreme measures to stop eating – I’ve even come close to using some of those same tactics myself. From pills, to surgery, to wiring a jaw shut, it seems that people would try just about anything (just a side note, sometimes surgery is absolutely necessary and can mean the difference between life and death, but for the purposes of this conversation, let’s consider it an extreme measure).

We know that weight loss is a simple formula, calories in vs. calories out, but the allure of a magic solution is almost too enticing. It’s hard to manage weight, let alone lose it. I can eat whatever I want and gain five pounds in one week, and then I can watch what I eat really closely and it’ll take me three to four weeks to take that five pounds back off again. It hardly seems fair. So when an apparent solution comes along that is easier than counting calories, choosing foods that seem less than savory, and finding time to beat myself up at the gym several hours a week, it’s really hard to just say ‘no.’

The diet companies know this as well, which is how they are able to convince so many people to try their products. They promise simple solutions that will allow a person to continue their eating habits and forego exercise.

There’s an old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” Believe it.

If you really want to lose weight, then be prepared to do the work. Be prepared for it to take an incredibly long time. Be prepared to make sacrifices. Be prepared to answer hundreds of questions from well-meaning friends and relatives over the course. But mostly, be prepared to experience many frustrating days and nights when you are tempted with snack food commercials and marketing schemes and even give in occasionally.

If there had been a hidden bag of chips, or a candy bar, or even a bag of baker’s chocolate in my cupboards that night I woke up from a bad dream, I would have eaten it. Does this make me fit into the stereotype of typical fat person behavior? Probably. I can blame the marketing companies, who, incidentally, aren’t evil, they are just really, really good at their jobs, or I can assume responsibility for my own actions.