Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm Mad and I Cheat

I was intrigued by a revelation in Michael Pollan's story in the New York Times magazine yesterday (registration required; link dies in a week, I think — also, it's the #1 e-mailed story out of the NYT at the moment). I'd heard this before, from dieticians and nutritionists, so I knew it to be true. But I hadn't thought about it for a while:
People lie about what they eat.
They lie to themselves, they lie to their doctors, and they lie to statisticians.
I wanted to open up a conversation about food intake: Are you a glutton, a secret snacker, a meal-skipper, pro-ana... whatever? But I realized that if people lie about what they eat, it's probably because they don't want to go public. Nobody would want to leave comments here about being a lame-o lard-ass or a pathetic picky-pick. Well, they might, anonymously. When I wrote about not having any appetite last year due to a bout with depression, I did get lots of comments from readers who shared similar tales, but they didn't want to leave their names.
I am going to be (slightly) honest and say that sometimes I don't want to eat. I love to fool around in the kitchen; I'm good at it; it gives me great pleasure. Yesterday I made not only a pot of chicken stock, but also a braised stuffed beef shank from The Fatted Calf. I didn't eat either — but truly, that was by design. The stock is for later, and the beef shank is maturing into "better-the-next-day-ness." That would be today. I'm eatin' it.
So I would say I eat enough, but hardly ever too much. (For some reason, I am having a too-much-meat week, but the end is in sight.) I would probably check the second button in the poll below.
Whaddya say? Wanna take the poll? The answers can be seen, after you select, by clicking on "vote" (or probably even if you don't select). It's completely unscientific.

Free poll by Listomatica.com
How Much Do You Eat?
I might be undernourishing myself.
Sometimes, if nobody's looking, I'll skip a meal.
Just right! Hah, as if there was a "just right."
I think I'm overdoing the nibblies a bit.
I eat too much, to the point that I sneak food.

Little teeny, tiny update: When I created this poll yesterday, I chose different wording (over on the listomatica page) than you see here in my final edit... The ranking still applies correctly, however. It's confusing, because the exact same language of choice number 2 here appears as number 1 over on the link. My intention is simple: From one to five, are you eating too little or too much?

27 comments:

Beauty in the Breakdown said...

hahaha I really have to work on my eating habits. Im just lucky to still have a youth metabolism...i've only got a few years to get in the habit of better eating before I lose it though...

Abby said...

I'm glad to see I'm not alone at not leaving the nibbles sittin' there.

kudzu said...

Where did you get the illustration of that evil looking little girl? She's really scary! (If she were blonde I would say it's a still from "The Bad Seed"!)

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Patty McCormack! Hah.
The strange, scary photo is from a collection of (let us hope) copyright-free pix floating around the Web. Old ad shots, I presume. I found it on Google Images.

Jack said...

Funniest (or saddest) to me is the people who latch onto the latest fad diet, who exercise by working out at the gym 30 minutes twice a week (or more) and then eat McDonalds for lunch or a trans fat/HFCS-laden candy bar afterwards, feeling that they've been good so they deserve a treat. Most of the food they eat is processed rather than natural and they're always increasing their knowledge on fad diets while rarely learning more about the actual food they consume. Just who has gotten lean on "lean cuisine", anyway?

Just how many diets can you try before figuring out that dieting isn't the answer?

(End of micro-rant...we now resume our regular programming...)

Great article my Michael Pollan!

I think I score a 3 on your poll.

Stacie said...

ok, us nibblies must unite!! I LOLed at the results in the niblies catagory!! But did I lie?... I don't even know anymore...

Lannae said...

Hahahahaha! So, here is the truth, I eat candy everyday! I love candy! Gimme Candy! I eat candy, go train for marathons, I eat candy while training, then after training I eat candy! I love candy! ;) Candy Candy Candy! Candy is so Dandy! hahahahahahaha!

tammy said...

I'm definitely a comfort eater. I eat when I'm sad. I eat when I'm cold. And I eat when I'm bored. Plus, I eat because I love food. So, I only eat the right amount of calories in the summer, when I'm warm, active, and happiest.

Why do I live in Boston? Apparently, so I can eat more.

sher said...

I loved that Pollan article. Well, I will come right out with it and say I eat too much--but I never sneak food. I brazenly drag it out of the fridge.

Beccy said...

I second sher, I eat too much of the wrong stuff along with lots of the right stuff!

amanda said...

this is a great question and i do think most people lie about this. for me, 5 days a week i count every single crumb of food i put into my mouth on www.thedailyplate.com and keep it regulated... but on the other two days! lordy, i know i'm eating (and drinking! damn alcohol having so many calories) more than i should! sometimes way more than i should!

Kevin said...

CC,
The results are about what I would expect from a bunch of foodies (although I suspect a few of those who answered 4 should have answered 5).

Anni said...

CC -
I learned many years ago, it is in my nature to pander to my palate. I eat when I'm hungry, I eat when I'm happy, I eat when I'm excited, I eat when I'm with family, I eat when I'm with friends. I eat breakfast for dinner, I eat dinner for breakfast. I'll eat anything served in front of me. I'll look over at the next table to see what is being served and I'll ask to have some of that. I eat carbs. I eat protein. I eat dairy. I eat veggies. If appealing, I'll eat the hand-carved garnish right off my plate. I snack all the time. I skip meals if I'm too busy with what I'm doing. I'll sneak a midnight snack. I'm a glutton when it comes to food, wine, love and life.

Life is a banquet, my friend!

Tootles,
Anni :-)

cookiecrumb said...

Thanks, everybody, for "weighing" in!
:D

Sam said...

this is the question i was trying to get to the bottom of with my "photograph everything you eat for a week" challenge at the end of last year.

this year I vowed to keep track of everything I eat in my google calendar which is avilable for public viewing if anyone can be bothered to look at it, but over the last few weeks I have gone all skewiffy with my diet and haven't been able to keep it up. I even started having a craving for a Twix every afternoon. It's shameful.

My intention is to get back to it asap, once I get over the hurdles of the next two weeks, that's my plan, anyway. To be good again one day...

Moonbear said...

oh god I've been found out: I am a lamo-lardass.

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: Yeah, I photoed everything I ate that week, but the mere fact that I was going public with it prompted me to be sure to eat a little breakfast every day. I was reporting honestly for that week, but I was actually embellishing my normal behavior.

Moonbear: No you aren't! Not in your photo!

Sam said...

but aren't we all admitting here that embellishing our normal behaviour, is perhaps what needs to be done.

Hey, I could invent a new diet - the Sam Breach Photography diet. I could market it and become rich.

Fred is like you - nothing will make him eat breakfast and at weekends it is an effor to get him to eat lunch even.

cookiecrumb said...

Right, Sam. We have to find ways not to lie to ourselves, and a visual record of it surely helps (until I get better at Photo Shop).
I think Overeaters Anonymous comes close, in that you have public accountability... but there's still the possibility of fibbing (except for the weigh-in, I suppose -- do they still do that?).
Can I cash in on the Sam Breach Photography Diet? I'll contribute the slogan "Embellish Your Behavior."

circumspice said...

I really wasn't surprised by Pollan's assertion that everyone lies about their food. I think for a lot of people the lying is conscious, but for most, I think we just don't pay enough attention to what we put in our mouths. Sure we remember meals, but who remembers the handful of nuts or candy they grab from the break room at work? That adds up to a lot of unreported calories. I said that I nibble too much, and frankly, it's all on good healthy whole foods. But you can still eat more than you need, even if what you're eating is good for you.

cookiecrumb said...

Hi, Circumspice: Yeah, more calories than you need, no matter how beautiful, are still more than you need. Sam's photo-your-food project was meant to jolt us out of "forgetting" that handful of nuts, etc.

Jamie said...

I knew once and for all that people lie about what they eat when I read, in Jeffrey Steingarten's article in the latest Vogue, an assertion that only one American person in 140 eats chocolate every day.

If that is really true, I'm in a lot deeper trouble than I thought! Granted, I eat it in 1/4- to 1/2-ounce portions, but still.

Anyway, I'll come out and admit that I am a recovering compulsive eater. In previous years I was pretty far out of control. Now I'm maybe partially under control. I'm lucky enough to have a metabolism that can usually kinda-sorta burn off what I overeat, so even though I currently can't fit into my favorite pants, I'm still basically okay.

My saving grace is that I am 99 percent processed-food-free.

cookiecrumb said...

Jamie: Metabolism? Honey, you're a farmer! You're a veritable blast furnace for calories. Good to hear you're back on track, eating-wise. Go out and run around with them chickens.

AnonymousF said...

I, sadly, must admit (under the cloak of anonymity) that I eat way too many cookies.

Pam said...

Thanks for alerting me to Michael Pollan's essay - he's my favorite writer right now. Have you read his four books - only one is about the food industry but all four are _excellent_! The one about gardening (can't remember the title - senior moment!)is the only book I've read that had me laughing and crying on the same page. :-)
Pam

cookiecrumb said...

Pam: I have the Omnivore's Dilemma, but I haven't started it. Don't much have to, hanging around with this foodie-politico group as I do, but I will.
I'm not up on the other books of his, but -- shrug -- I suppose I'll check them out too.
Sometimes you don't really need somebody else to hone your own metaphysics. And then, to be fair, sometimes it's nice to get another point of view.

Sheri said...

God, do you think all this extra nibbling is an American thing? I've been known to binge on Clif Bars for god's sake. Silliness.