Care for a Cookie?

“Care for a cookie?” Someone points to a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the table. When you see the cookies, what’s your knee-jerk reaction? How do you decide whether or not to take one?

A picture is worth zero real cookies...
A picture is worth zero real cookies…

Let’s stop and examine our thought processes.

My first thought is, do the cookies look good? Yum! (That’s a yes.)
Second, do I have room for a cookie? Yes. (I almost always have room for a yummy-looking cookie.)
Third, is anyone else having a cookie right now? Yes. (I love social eating.)
Fourth, am I hungry? A little. (A little hunger = enough for a cookie.)
Fifth, do I want one? Yes.
Okay, I’ll eat one, thanks.

Last month, a reader gave me a link to an article called, Transform Your Relationship with Food by Doing This One Simple Thing, by Maryann Jacobsen, who described reactions to cookies from six people that reveal their views – and ours – on a lot more than just cookies.

Six Reactions
Person A thinks about the gluten in it.
Person B thinks about the fat grams in it.
Person C thinks about the carbs in it.
Person D thinks about the sugar in it.
Person E thinks about the chemicals in it.
Person F thinks, “there’s cookies.” That’s it.

Which person are you?

The first five people see what they believe is bad in the food. “But,” according to Jacobsen, “the worst part is this feeling sticks.”

(I relate to that. Back in my dieting days, I was Person B, C, or D, depending on which diet I was on for lo, those many years. When I ate cookies back then, I always felt guilty.)

Person F
The cookie is just a cookie to Person F. She considers having one, decides she’s not interested, and quickly forgets it.

The article goes on to differentiate between the restraint model of eating vs. the moderation model. Restraint is food restriction based on what’s in the food. Moderation means “self-regulating eating based on responding to one’s needs and desires in a reasonable manner.” Jacobsen likens these eating models to views of happiness. Some of us obsess over circumstances that we can’t change while others focus on the things we can change, such as our outlook on life.

Person F doesn’t obsess about the cookie, but takes into account the big picture as she listens to internal cues while considering food satisfaction and health, “not a set of inflexible food rules.”

I like Person F a lot because she either takes time to savor the cookie or gets on with the rest of her day.

What are your thoughts when you see a cookie?

Thanks for reading!

Posted on October 27, 2015

4 thoughts on “Care for a Cookie?

  1. This is a topic I think about a lot. And guilt is a big factor. If someone serves me dessert as a guest, I always eat it. If it’s in a buffet, I’m thinking if it’s worth the calories. Is it really that good? And can I stop after one? I do enjoy good sweets, especially chocolate, and hopefuly know when enough is enough. I think eating alone sometimes a disaster for me. A few chips can too easily become way too many. Eating while watching TV is bad, too, unless I’ve set out just one portion for myself. Am I thinking too much about food?

    1. I know what you mean, Carolyn, because guilt is often present for me, too. At a buffet, asking, “Is it really that good?” is a great question! Instead of asking whether a dish is worth the calories, I ask, “What do I want the most? Which foods get the place of honor in my stomach?” Eating alone can also be problematic for me, especially in the late afternoon when I’m out of energy and feeling munchy. I’m no expert on whether or not you’re thinking too much about food. When I’m eating while watching TV, however, I doubt I think enough about the food to savor every bite. But I do it anyway. What’s a movie without popcorn? Thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. I decided to do this thought experiment with “delectable cupcake” instead of cookie because I don’t really care for cookies much, but I LOVE a good cupcake! If it is store bought, I would definitely be Person E – thinking about all the chemicals in it. I think some of those chemicals are addicting! I still may eat it even if it has the most unnatural blue or purple color in the frosting. (Like I did at a picnic this summer!).
    If it’s homemade, I might be Person C and D because cupcakes are pretty high in carb and sugar and I would think about what I’ve eaten recently proteinwise or what I have on hand to eat (for example, peanuts to snack on or a cheese stick) that will help me avoid the sugar rush that makes me feel icky and trembly.
    Person F comes out in me at the holidays when we’re having lots of treats. I would enjoy looking at them and seeing how decorative they are, but I would probably walk right on by. (I’m more likely to take one in a summer picnic than a holiday buffet!)

    1. How cool that you substituted a treat that tempts you, Laurie. Your reaction makes me wonder if my eating pendulum has swung a bit too far in the direction of physical satisfaction vs. consideration of the cookie’s chemical breakdown. Thanks for your thoughtful response!

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