I’m sitting here with a couple of chocolate biscuits to go with my tea, and thinking how wonderful it is.
You see, I can’t keep biscuits in the house; or rather, I can’t keep *open* packets of biscuits in the house. I can happily have a pack of hobnobs in my cupboard for months, untouched. However, once they are open, there is a large danger that I am going to binge on them. Some days I can take a couple of biscuits, eat them, and enjoy them. Other days, I will have a desire to simply go through the pack.
This tendency to binge only exhibits itself in me with certain foods. Biscuits and crisps, definitely; cake much less so. Carrots, never. I love ginger beer, and have no problem having cans or bottles of it in the fridge. Similarly, I also like tonic water, but it tends to be consumed only when there is gin in the house. I don’t particularly like cola at all, but one sip and I’ll go through a 2 litre bottle.
Most people who don’t suffer from such a problem don’t understand it. “You just need a bit of willpower” they’ll say. I tried willpower for many years, and it didn’t work. What I need is coping mechanisms.
For a long time that coping mechanism has been simply not to have an open packet in the house; only buying biscuits for expected guests, not opening them until the guests have arrived, and often sending them away with a half-finished pack – “Would you like these? I’d rather not keep them, as I’ll just go through them”. For my gaming sessions, friends would be told to by all means bring snacks and tidbits of their choice, but please take any open packets away with them again.
A few weeks back, someone posted this item to Facebook – the Kitchen Safe. I can’t recall who it was that posted it, but the general consensus seemed to be (as I remember) “why does anyone need that – what’s wrong with willpower”. While I immediately followed the link to see how much one cost and where to buy it.
The device is simple – a sturdy container, available in a couple of sizes and either transparent or white, with a lid that quite literally locks on. A rotating dial is used to select a time period, then you press the dial to activate. You are given 5 seconds to reconsider, then it locks securely until the end of the set time period.
So for the few weeks since then, I have been operating with biscuits in the house. When I started off, I would take a couple of biscuits from the jar, then set the lock to something quite extreme – like 8-12 hours. However, I soon found out that wasn’t entirely necessary – I got exactly the same results (and a lot more flexibility) with only 1-2 hours.
It seems that, during the day, I am only in danger of bingeing in the hour or so after I eat my first biscuit(s). After that, I seem as likely to take another biscuit as anybody else. So setting the Kitchen Safe to 2 hours takes the biscuits out of reach for that danger period of time, but leaves my options open for something later in the day. In the evening, however, I am more likely to get the munchies, so if I feel that craving coming on, I spin the dial to something like 8 hours, knowing that this will remove temptation for the evening, but still let me have a morning biscuit at breakfast.
The bit that I find really surprising? With that half-opened packet of biscuits, even if I avoided temptation, I would be thinking about them, on and off, for the next hour or more. I would feel hungry, without energy, I’d tell myself I needed something to buck me up. With the biscuits in the Kitchen Safe? I don’t even give them a second thought.