Health Advice



Quinn on Nutrition: Food games readers play

Barbara Quinn, Monterey Herald on

Published in Nutrition

In response to a recent column about the food games we play, I got these delightful letters:

Hello Barbara,

I usually scan the newspaper but recently your article ("Food games we play") caught my attention. I'll tell you mine.

This habit started in high school. Whenever cake or a cookie was served at the table, I would cut the cake slice in half. I would break the cookie in half, determined to only eat half. 90% of the time, I go back for the other half. I am 70. How can I still be doing this?

My husband is constantly buying snacks. His love language is to feed me. I haven't solved this problem. I've told myself that I will only eat food that I choose and not eat food chosen for me. But, when he enters my office with a bowl of popcorn and caramel corn, love in his eyes, how can I say no? (Of course, pour it back in the bag when he's not looking.)

I appreciated the suggestions you offered at the end of the article.

Thank you,


Dear Barbara,


I read your column in my local paper in Albany, Oregon. The last column was a fun discussion of games we play with ourselves regarding food, particularly snack foods.

When I go to the market, I will put a particularly yummy snack in my basket right after I start my shopping. I will walk up and down the aisles thinking about enjoying my wonderful treat. Then when I’m ready to check out, I put the snack back. That is called: If I don’t buy it, I can’t eat it. It works pretty well for me.

Two and a half years ago, I was told I needed to use statins. I told my practitioner I wanted time to try to use diet and exercise to lower my cholesterol. In three months, I lost almost 20 pounds by eating proper portions, having a cup of yogurt or a banana if I felt a bit peckish between meals. I also enlisted my husband’s help (he’s the chef of our home) in cooking primarily a Mediterranean style diet. I lost weight sensibly, 1.5 to 2 pounds a week. The best part was I brought my cholesterol into normal ranges!

After that personal success, I continued my better eating habits and continued to lose weight at the same rate until I got to a 40-pound loss. And I have maintained (my) weight now for more than a year, not wavering more than a pound or two up or down in that time. I feel very proud of myself.

But my game, if I don’t buy it I can’t eat it, works pretty well for me!

Yours in good health,


Couldn’t have said it better myself, ladies! Thanks for writing!

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