Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Feeder Bar Psychology

Know why I stopped smoking cigars?  Because I couldn't.  I was always jealous of friends of mine who could keep half a pack in the closet, and pull one out when there was a campfire, but otherwise not think about them.  That ain't me.

I've always fancied the idea of having a liquor cabinet.  My problem is, I've never been able to keep booze around my house long enough to have a special spot for it.

At Christmas time, my co-worker, Kim, makes this ridiculous sweet, salty, caramel, cheesie bits n' bites kind of snack.  We just call it Christmas Crack.  I can't leave it alone.  Even though I'm mildly allergic to the damn stuff.  I will eat it till it's completely gone.

At thanksgiving, do you eat till you're sick? Do you like decadent desserts like cheesecake?

If I open a bottle of wine, it's really hard to have just a glass. I like the buzz. 

Also, did you know there was a research study done, where mice had electrodes attached to their erogenous zones, and any time they would hit their feeder bar, they'd get stimulated?  They put 2 feeder bars in the cage - one gave food, and one gave pleasure.  Know what happened?  They camped out in front of the stimulation bar and pushed it continually.  Till they DIED.  Maybe that's a little off topic, but weird, huh?

What's with human beings and their magnetic attraction to those decadent things? Why can't we stop at one chocolate? Why can't we push back from the table before seconds?  It's pandora's box!  You scratch an itch and it just comes back worse in an hour.  We can turn a good thing into a bad thing, because we don't know when to walk away.  We just keep hitting the wrong feeder bar.

How do you learn when to walk away?  Why doesn't it get easier?  I've had turkey sweats so many times! I've hurt feelings with jokes or conversations SO many times.  Because I don't know when to shut up and back away.  You'd think that I'd learn eventually just by conditioning.  After so many negative experiences, why do I not RUN away from these situations? 

It's not that we don't know when we're in too deep.  You KNOW you shouldn't order the cheesecake.  You usually know which joke is too far.  We know.  But we still go.

Maybe we're tempting fate.  Maybe it's an evolutionary thing? If a little bit is good, then we should get as much of it as we can, because it may be scarce tomorrow, right?

Or maybe it's an escape. Maybe we gorge on decadent things because, some times, it's as close as we might be able to get to a good thing.  Or maybe we've forgotten what a good thing really is.  Or maybe, it's because we lapse.

We know what 'good' actually feels like.  The problem is, good is slow. Good is how you feel when you eat healthy.  Unfortunately, it takes weeks to feel better from changing your eating habits.  Good is having healthy relationships.  But taking advantage of someone is faster.  Good is how you feel when you've finally made enough positive decisions in a row that you start gaining momentum.  When those good decisions start to accumulate into a character, a lifestyle.  That's what good actually feels like. 

But. That's. So. Slow.

And sometimes, as humans, stuff happens and we need a fix.  It's hard not to poke the bear.


  1. What stops us is conciousness. If you eat conciously you can have a little and stop. If you talk conciously you can stop yourself before you insert foot. We have it mice don't and it is the only way to stop the addiction loop. I think you are right about time. We need to slow down and take our time.

  2. Almost a year ago, I quit drinking because I couldn't quit drinking. One day, I just decided I don't drink - not that I shouldn't drink, not that I can't drink, just that I don't drink. I think that mindset has made all the difference in changing my lifestyle to remove booze from it. There are some days that I would love to have a glass of wine to numb the stress and anxiety - but just like I don't do drugs and just like I don't run red lights, I don't drink. Period. End of story. Now if only I could convince myself I don't eat pizza...