My friend Margaret has been dog sitting her mother’s dachshund, Emma. Emma is a closet eater, or, more accurately, an under-the-bed eater. During her stay with Margaret, Emma dragged under the bed and ate the following:
- 3 granola bars
- 2 boxes of raisins
- An open box of dog treats
- Bag of Swedish fish
- An avocado
This does not include the cups of coffee and a bottle of syrup that she jumped up on the counter and slurped up. In case there is no contraband or permitted food around, Emma will eat dirt. (Yes, Margaret actually has a video of this.) Now most domesticated dogs are candidates for eating disorders, although Emma seems to be a binger on steroids.
But Emma’s condition made us consider the nature of hunger. After all, in the wild, dogs are not eating this way. They eat what they need, and then they move on. If they do stuff, it’s only because it is a season of scarcity and they will need the added fat later. (Now, I don’t know if any of this is true, but it always seems to be in the various chapter 1’s of diet books I’ve read.) But once dogs are brought inside and have easy access to foods, even foods that they’ve never seen before, they become crazy gluttons.
So the logical conclusion is that accessibility trumps hunger in both house dogs and library employees.
For example, last weekend, I bought a jar of honey-roasted peanuts. I didn’t particularly like the taste, so I brought them to work (and yes, I know that makes me a saboteur of the other losers’ efforts). Nobody was that excited about them. Yet, each time we walked by, we found ourselves grabbing a handful. Hunger had nothing to do with it. We could be coming back from lunch and still our hands would go in the jar.
But one bright spot is that we have realized that fact, and all of us have made strides to battle eating things just because they’re there.
The other bright spot is that we had a great week. No one gained. Two people maintained (although I suspect Emily is now simply maintaining to be obstinate). And three of us lost weight for a total of five pounds. Maybe not the results that Jillian Michaels would require, but we’re pretty proud.
And not one of us has resorted to eating dirt. So, no matter how bad we are, we still have more control than Emma.