Obesity, mathematics, and solutions.

About a week ago Matt sent me this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/science/a-mathematical-challenge-to-obesity.html?_r=1

I read it and responded. Before coffee or being truly conscious. I’ve started to realize that I gear DOWN as I wake up.


Extremely so.

My immediate thought is to stop and look at household shopping/cooking patterns in the ’50s-’70s, compare them to current, and adjust current back to match. Just because we CAN buy X doesn’t mean we SHOULD. Grow more food (the giant garden is a great start, actually) and have a set limit of how much in the way of stuff (ie, groceries) we’ll get to supplement.

A bonus to this should be less grocery spending (and what there is on better ingredients), which will only help the monthly budget. Another thing to do is to have a hard budget for groceries; if we run out, guess what: it’s time to clean the pantry shelves, isn’t it? (Another clue that his findings are correct: look at the basic pantry contents then and now. Look at this house; it wasn’t built with a pantry. It wasn’t necessary then, really.)

We do have an overabundance of calories available to our society (barring homelessness, etc.) To help control this, we need to look at the “choke points”, the points where we can easily control inflow. Actual ingestion is one, but it’s a notoriously difficult one for many people. The next is meal preparation… and while that works partially, it’s really easy to cook with high-calorie ingredients so it’s not a total solution. The next (hello fault-chain analysis, here) is influx into the home, and THAT is probably going to be the easiest to control. It only requires self-control for as long as we’re in the grocery store, and we can have set “grocery days” outside of which only certain things (milk, veg, cat food) can be purchased.

One thing that can be done (for us) is harder budgeting. We know about what we spend on groceries every two weeks; with fruit, cream, and cat food it seems to hover around $250ish (feel free to correct.) Now we can take that and very deliberately chop off $50. We know we need certain things (like the cat food, etc) but it’ll force us to think a lot more about what we actually need/want from the store. If you would like, we can sit down some night this week and figure it out for the next go-round — which will be MY test-run, as you’ll mostly be in the UK.

Another thing that can be done is, believe it or not, a straight-up set of new tupperware for leftovers. For some reason I’ve found that it’s a LOT easier to remember to eat leftovers if they’re attractively packaged, and the fridge space is used more efficiently. (Not to mention it keeps things from smelling like garlic…) It’s not that expensive and doesn’t have to be the priciest thing in the store. (Bonus points for stuff that’s expandable piece by piece in case something gets broken.)

(Side note: where can I publish if I write this up as a companion article? I have no clue of that sort of thing.)

TL;DR: I think I see how to shrink both waistlines and grocery spending.


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