Twinkies and Other Scarce Items

Ditto for alcohol – it is NOT scarce, especially not during the holidays.

You must have heard by now:  Hostess is going out of business.  Oh no!  No more Ho Ho’s, Snowballs, Ding Dongs, and worst of all – NO MORE TWINKIES.  Personally, this means nothing to me.  I have probably eaten a grand total of 2 Twinkies (at friends’ houses) over my entire lifetime, and I cannot recall a single craving or powerful memory of these chemically formulated masses of creamy filling and spongy cake.

I know there are people who feel differently though.  While leading my weight loss group this week, a participant told us that she had not thought of Twinkies in years, but . . . once she heard that they would no longer be available, and that people were scrambling to buy the few that are left, . . . well, she started to feel like she had to have one (or more).

They have taken on the luster of “scarcity appeal”.  I’m sure the reward center of the brain fires like crazy when we find something that we know is hard to get.  Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids?  Every holiday season, there is at least one toy that parents get up at the crack of dawn to wait in line for hours to buy.  If you ask me, that is brilliant marketing – make just enough to sell a bundle, while creating a feeling of scarcity.

Food can create this frenzied feeling too.  Twinkies are a great example.  They really are scarce now, but many foods only seem scarce.  The result is the same – gotta have it now, because it won’t be around long.

Holiday foods create this allure for lots of us.  One might feel that a special dessert or gooey side dish that their Grandma makes is only available now.  “I had better eat it until I can’t hold any more” is the feeling that type of thinking can create.

But is that true – REALLY?  Probably not.  Most foods can either be bought or made at any time these days.  So slow down and think about it.  Realizing that special goody is really not as scarce as it feels may take away a bit of the urgency to eat it all now.

It always feels better to feel in control of choices, so try not to let the frenzy of a scarcity feeling get the best of you.  We really don’t need excuses for what we eat, just more true understanding of the choices and our right to choose.

4 responses to “Twinkies and Other Scarce Items

  1. It was interesting observing small children partake in the holiday feast. They generally eat only what they really like and only as much as they need. I rarely see them express discomfort after a special meal. …wondering when this all evolves to trying everything offered and in portions more than one person needs?

    • I remember reading somewhere that it is more likely to happen around age 3 – IF the parents do not let them serve themselves. If children are allowed to serve themselves, they will be more likely to take only what they want, and not as likely to just finish what is served (all of it). Interesting?


    If that is so, I wish I had the appetite of the 3 yr old.

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