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I hesitate to share this trick, out of (selfish) concern that by acknowledging that I have occasional lapses of self-discipline that I might sully my reputation as a CR practitioner with an unbreakable iron will. But what the heck. ;)xyz

I suspect most of us have lapses on occasion and eat more that we've targeted, or eat foods we wish we hadn't. The key to successful long-term CR in my experience is to minimize the frequency of such lapses and not to beat oneself up over them when they do occur. In service of the former (preventing lapses in the first place), you could resort to direct brain stimulation to bolster your self-discpline. But I've developed a trick / strategy that is guaranteed to work, and which has the added benefit of not messing with your brain. :)xyz I thought others might benefit from learning about. So here goes...

Background - There are certain foods I buy in order to eat sparingly, but which are temptations for me to indulge on if they are within easy reach. Raw cacao beans are such a food for me. I grind them up and mix the powder into my coffee to give it a mocha flavor, which I really enjoy. And we all know that unadulterated cocoa and dark chocolate products are very healthy, especially for the heart.

But when I've got the beans sitting around, I'm tempted to casually snack on them, which I'd rather avoid doing. I've tried putting them in a closed cardboard box, but that isn't quite enough of a deterrent when I occasionally get the 'munchies' in the evening, after not having eaten since early morning. According to 23andMe as well as personal experience, I'm a fast caffeine metabolizer. Nevertheless, eating a handful of raw cacao beans before bed is not a recipe for restful sleep...

So I came up with a more effective solution to make them available when I really need/want them, but not on short notice. It is an example of a precommitment strategy:
 

It seems illogical on the surface, but humans and other animals sometimes put themselves in situations to prevent themselves from being given an option that they would choose if given the chance. They will even expend effort and cost to avoid being given the future option. Such restriction of one’s own future choices is called precommitment. It is theorized that precommitment occurs because humans and other animals have different preferences at different times (Strotz, 1955; Ainslie, 1992). Precommitment behaviors take many forms, ranging from purely external mechanisms like flushing cigarettes down the toilet, to purely internal mechanisms like making a promise to oneself that one is unwilling to break, to intermediate mechanisms like making a public statement about one’s intentions.

 

The precommitment strategy I've come up with is a variant of the old 'freeze your credit card in a block of ice' trick to avoid spur of the moment purchases. Here is how it works (UPDATE: see this post later in this thread for an update to part of this technique. I'm leaving this full description here for completeness, but I don't recommend the water + thermos part of the method for reasons discussed in the aforementioned post):

  • Put the stuff you want to sequester away (e.g. cacao beans in my case) into a cooler or other container with handles. I use a big Igloo cooler. See image below.
  • Use a key & cable bicycle lock to secure the cooler closed by looping the bike lock cable through the handles, as illustrated in this photo (click to enlarge):

    post-7043-0-92466300-1446745771_thumb.jpg
    [Note: As an alternative to the cooler and cable bike lock, you could use a tool box or storage container like this one, which is designed to be secured with a padlock.]
  • Now comes the tricky part. Take the keys to the bike lock and drop them into an insulated thermos filled with water. Note: Leave some air at the top of the thermos to allow room for the water to expand when it freezes!
  • Optional: I actually have gone a step further, and attached a rod to the lid of the thermos from which to hang the keys, as shown in the photo below:

    post-7043-0-95445600-1446747026_thumb.jpg
  • Then, screw on the lid of the thermos and pop it in the freezer:

    post-7043-0-76024400-1446747050_thumb.jpg

    post-7043-0-83750500-1446746142_thumb.jpg
  • In a few hours, the keys are frozen solid into the thermos. The rod attached to the lid prevents unscrewing the lid until the ice in the thermos has completely melted and released the keys, thereby preventing the removal of the lid as soon as the ice inside starts to melt, and then pouring hot water directly into the thermos to quickly release the keys. :)xyz
  • When I want to access the contents of the cooler, I remove the thermos from the freezer. It then takes several hours for the ice in the thermos to melt completely, even when immersed in hot water, thereby releasing the keys from their icy lockup and enabling me to unscrew the lid and retrieve them in order to unlock the bike lock, open the cooler and access the cacao beans. Note: the thermos is stainless steel, preventing the use of a microwave oven to hasten the thawing process. My alter ego can be quite sneaky sometimes when the munchies set in... ;)xyz

In short, this trick provides an effective, time-release locking system for food items I'd prefer to have only occasional, pre-meditated access to. Obviously it will work just as well for sequestering other tempting vices besides foods. :)xyz The website StickK.com offers an alternative precommitment technique that some people find effective to boost their self-discipline, but its approach strikes me as too much hassle, involving other people, financial commitments, etc.

I've found this (relatively) simple trick to be a helpful precommitment strategy to reduce the self-discipline required to stick to my CR program. Obviously it is only useful for people who experience lapses in self-discipline - and perhaps such people are rare among CR practitioners. But from personal experience I suspect that isn't the case. If I'm right, I hope that perhaps some variant of this trick may help others as well.

--Dean

Edited by Dean Pomerleau
Fix spelling of cacao!

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Wow! Credit cards meet cacao ;) . That's ingenious, and shows a high degree of insight and forethought — and some courage, to post.

 

There's a tool available to do the same thing with less trouble, and in particular to let you make intentional, regular use of a supply of something (like your cacao beans) that you want to use regularly, while reducing the risk of overindulging and eliminating the ability to put your hand in the proverbial cookie jar at times other than the one you've chosen: the . KitchenSafe (now kSafe) is basically a time-locked cookie jar:

 

 

kSafe FAQ:

 

The kSafe is fun and easy to use:

  1. Place an item in the kSafe
  2. Rotate the button to set the timer
  3. Press the button to activate the lock

Once locked, the Kitchen Safe will not unlock until the timer reaches zero....

 

the dimensions of the usable space inside the container:...

kSafe: 5.5" tall x 5.5" wide x 5.5" long
kSafe XL: 10.4" tall x 5.5" wide x 5.5" long

kSafe can fit items such as a cookies and chips, cell phones, several packs of cigarettes, and video game controllers. 

kSafe XL has 80% more volume and can fit everything from TV remotes and iPads, to large bags of chips and cookies. ...

 

The kSafe can be locked for as short as one minute or as long as ten days. .. [it uses 2 x AA batteries. You can't] reset the timer by removing the batteries ... the timer will pause when the batteries are removed. ... The kSafe will work in the refrigerator but not the freezer. ... it is made of BPA-free food grade plastics, the quality standard of the industry. [Here is the kSafe user manual].

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Thanks Michael!

 

There's a tool available to do the same thing with less trouble, and in particular to let you make intentional, regular use of a supply of something (like your cacao beans) that you want to use regularly, while reducing the risk of overindulging and eliminating the ability to put your hand in the proverbial cookie jar at times other than the one you've chosen: the . KitchenSafe (now kSafe) is basically a time-locked cookie jar:

 

I considered the KitchenSafe/Ksafe time-locked "cookie jar", but found it less than satisfactory for my purposes.

 

First, its costs quite a bit of money ($50 plus shipping), and I'm a frugal curmudgeon. :)xyz

 

Next, even the XL version is pretty small, so in order to lock up my volume-discounted cacao bean purchase, and other bulky and temping food items, I would have to use the same strategy of locking the keys to a bigger container inside the KSafe, defeating the simplicity (and refrigability) advantage of the KSafe solution.

 

Finally, and most importantly, I only need access to the sequestered foods every few days, but I can't easily predict precisely when I'll want access to them. So setting the date/time when the KSafe unlocks would be problematic. I could have it unlock every morning, when my self-discipline is at its strongest (research shows self-discipline is a limited resource and gets depleted during the day). But then I'd have to remember to re-arm it again every morning to open 24 hours hence, which would be a hassle and which I'd likely forget to do.

 

I searched long and hard for something like the KSafe but which more closely mimics the behavior of my homegrown solution - i.e. which defaults to the locked state until you enter a code, at which point it starts counting down a pre-specified number of hours/minutes until it unlocks. It is too bad the KSafe doesn't have such a mode, since it seems like it would be pretty straightforward to program its microprocessor to behave this way. I was unable to find an alternative product with such a mode either. I briefly considered building my own using an arduino and ancillary hardware, but that seemed like much too much trouble. In lieu of such a device, it is much easier to simply take the key-containing thermos out of the freezer and drop it into a container of warm water a couple hours before I want to access the sequestered foods.

 

In short, for my particular application, I find my 'homegrown' DIY solution preferable to the KSafe. But it is definitely a good off-the-shelf option for people who want to lock up small items and who know precisely when they next want access to them.

 

--Dean

Edited by Dean Pomerleau
Fix spelling of cacao!

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I don't flatter myself by thinking I have an iron will; rather I am lucky not to feel like eating any but my regular foods, or eating more of the regular foods. There is little sense of deprivation for me, my body apparently having adjusted to a meager intake.

 

So for me, the interesting idea is why you feel urges and I don't. Is it insufficient calories, or missing nutrients, that drives these urges? It could be some lack in me that deprives me of signals prompting corrective action, so I'm not implying that your urges reveal something wrong with your program.

 

It might be relevant that since adolescence I have not felt attracted to the opposite sex. In other words I might be deficient in normal drives.

 

Finally, I was astonished at the complexity of your "trick". I am far too lazy to go to all that effort, which might be another of my deficiencies. I can only imagine what great accomplishments you are capable of, being endowed with ample intelligence, amazing energy, and indomitable spirit.

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James wrote:

 

It looks like a kSafe Pro is coming soon. It'll have integration into a smartphone to set custom goals based on tasks, exercise, etc. This looks like a very cool and useful device!

 

James - kSafe Pro does look cool! Hopefully it will be compatible with both iPhone and Android. It's not entirely clear that it will have the feature I think is most helpful - namely a time-based unlock that isn't a fixed time in the future, but that starts counting down when you ask it to - basically forced delay of gratification, or a "cool down" period (like a 3-day waiting period for buying a handgun :)xyz), or the equivalent of the melting block of ice with your credit card inside.

 

Greg wrote:

 

I don't flatter myself by thinking I have an iron will; rather I am lucky not to feel like eating any but my regular foods, or eating more of the regular foods. There is little sense of deprivation for me, my body apparently having adjusted to a meager intake.

 

So for me, the interesting idea is why you feel urges and I don't. Is it insufficient calories, or missing nutrients, that drives these urges? It could be some lack in me that deprives me of signals prompting corrective action, so I'm not implying that your urges reveal something wrong with your program.

 

It might be relevant that since adolescence I have not felt attracted to the opposite sex. In other words I might be deficient in normal drives.

 

You are right, it is interesting. Since I don't believe Greg that you've (yet) shared much about your current degree of CR, it's hard to tell whether that could be a factor in your lack of food cravings, although given the fact that heavy people (on CR or not) report food cravings all the time, it may be irrelevant.

 

But speaking personally, first I don't often have the sort of urges that would cause me to say, eat a handful of cacao beans when my more 'rational self' would rather have me not eat them.

 

But it does happen. And It does seem to correlate with my degree of CR. I've been 'pushing it' a little more lately (my current BMI is 17.2) because I feel really good (both cognitively, psychologically and physically) around this weight / degree of CR (whatever that means...). 

 

I doubt it is a sign of a nutritional deficit - there is little evidence our body has cravings driven by specific nutrients, either for those nutrients or for food in general.

 

But it could be "insufficient calories" as you suggest - although exactly what is meant be "insufficient" is ambiguous. I.e. my calorie intake (relative to my calorie expenditure) might be "insufficient" to prevent occasional cravings, but be otherwise sufficient for health and vitality. I rather suspect this to be the case in fact. 

 

So I consider the occasional craving, as well as the occasional insomnia, to be worthwhile trade-offs for the benefits of CR as I experience them, and hope to experience them in the future...

 

 

Greg wrote:

Finally, I was astonished at the complexity of your "trick". I am far too lazy to go to all that effort...

 

It actually sounds much more complicated than it is. Once you've got the cooler and the lock, all it involves is throwing the key in a thermos filled with water and sticking it in the freezer. Takes 30 seconds.

 

--Dean

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I don't flatter myself by thinking I have an iron will; rather I am lucky not to feel like eating any but my regular foods, or eating more of the regular foods. There is little sense of deprivation for me, my body apparently having adjusted to a meager intake.

 

So for me, the interesting idea is why you feel urges and I don't. Is it insufficient calories, or missing nutrients, that drives these urges? It could be some lack in me that deprives me of signals prompting corrective action, so I'm not implying that your urges reveal something wrong with your program.

 

It might be relevant that since adolescence I have not felt attracted to the opposite sex. In other words I might be deficient in normal drives.

 

You are right, it is interesting. Since I don't believe Greg that you've (yet) shared much about your current degree of CR, it's hard to tell whether that could be a factor in your lack of food cravings, although given the fact that heavy people (on CR or not) report food cravings all the time, it may be irrelevant.

 

My BMI varies between 16.5 and 17.9. I like to drive my weight up, then watch it free fall. I stop the fall at 16.5 since I don't know if it's safe to let it fall lower. This type of pattern might make for another post.

 

Dean wrote:

 

But speaking personally, first I don't often have the sort of urges that would cause me to say, eat a handful of cacao beans when my more 'rational self' would rather have me not eat them.

 

But it does happen. And It does seem to correlate with my degree of CR. I've been 'pushing it' a little more lately (my current BMI is 17.2) because I feel really good (both cognitively, psychologically and physically) around this weight / degree of CR (whatever that means...). 

 

I doubt it is a sign of a nutritional deficit - there is little evidence our body has cravings driven by specific nutrients, either for those nutrients or for food in general.

That "feeling" of being in tune is what keeps me on CR. I am interested in longevity as a topic, but not actively working toward it. If it were proven that CR does not promote longevity (or even shortened life a little), I would remain CRd for the good feeling.

 

As for there being little evidence that cravings are driven by specific deficits: I guess my notion was based on anecdotal reports, and I should stop thinking that. An early example was that animals would seek out "salt lick" sites. After believing that was true for decades, I recently read that that was incorrect. I wasn't motivated to pursue the topic.

 

Dean wrote:

 

But it could be "insufficient calories" as you suggest - although exactly what is meant be "insufficient" is ambiguous. I.e. my calorie intake (relative to my calorie expenditure) might be "insufficient" to prevent occasional cravings, but be otherwise sufficient for health and vitality. I rather suspect this to be the case in fact. 

 

So I consider the occasional craving, as well as the occasional insomnia, to be worthwhile trade-offs for the benefits of CR as I experience them, and hope to experience them in the future...

I feel the same way.

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For anyone who wants to try this pre-commitment strategy for themselves. Here is an update. I've switched from freezing the key in a thermos filled with water to using a glass bottle filled with olive oil (OO).

 

Specifically, the new technique involves tying the key to a string and hanging it down into the middle of the bottle of OO, so that it will stay frozen in a big blob of OO until the whole contents of the bottle has melted. The string allows the key to be pulled out once the OO is melted without pouring out the contents of the bottle.

 

Here are photos of the new and improved technique:

 

LQl3eGI.jpglYVm6kX.jpghI9Akl7.jpg

 

 

Of course you'll want to wipe off the key before sticking it in your lock!

 

Five reasons for the switch:

  • The thermos I was using only modestly increased the delay time for extraction, since as soon as a layer of water formed around the outside of the thermos interior, it is possible to unscrew the cap, remove the ice plug, and run the ice plug under hot water to quickly melt it to retrieve the sequestered key.
  • Uneven freezing of the water, along with water's pesky tendency to expand when freezing, makes bursting even a stainless steel thermos a real possibility. In fact I busted one thermos that way. In contrast, olive oil doesn't expand when frozen. The wonders of chemistry...
  • Streaming hot water into the bottle to quickly melt the olive oil to extract the key is an unattractive option, since it would wash away the olive oil, which I paid good money for. The expense of the liquid was not a source of restraint to accelerating the thawing process when using (water) ice to lock up the key.
  • With the narrow neck, it is impossible to get the key out until virtually all the olive oil has melted back into liquid form. That, coupled with olive oil's higher melting point than water, makes it take longer for olive oil than the water to melt enough to extract the key.
  • This is easier for anyone to implement, since just about anyone has a screw-top (or cork) bottle, and some cheap olive oil*.
Empirical tests show that it takes about an hour minimum from the time the bottle is removed from the freezer and dropped in a bath of hot water to the time the key can be removed from the bottle.

 

Of course that assumes one doesn't succumb to either running water directly into the bottle to melt the OO more quickly, or worse, shattering the bottle to dig out the key immediately!

 

That one-hour "cooling off" period could easily be extended by wrapping the bottle in insulating material (i.e. duct tape). But it seems that for me, one hour is a sufficient delay to discourage casual indulgences in the "special occasion" foods sequestered in the locked box.

 

--Dean

 

* It's sad, but I must admit I'm using expensive Amphora premium EVOO I've had in the freezer for several years, since I'm getting my healthy fats from nuts these days. Note - the bottle is not from Amphora in case you have sharp eyes. The Amphora bottle didn't have a wide enough neck for the key.

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Dean, agree with Michael about the courage needed to post this -- and it's important indeed that we reveal our weaknesses/imperfections so that others know what being on CR can be like.

 

For most of my CR life, I've not had the problem of needing such devices for the simple reason that I started CR to save my life (in the traditional non-longevist sense): CR seemed like the best way to reduce my risk of serious IBD flare-ups (which, after a while, greatly increase one's odds of getting cancer). And there are other serious health conditions that CR has solved for me (familial hypertension, for ex.). So binging was not a matter of possibly not living quite to 120 or whatever (1), but making it to 55 or 60. I've been highly motivated.

 

That said... there were a few times when I would often binge. For ex., if I had a cold, I'd think "Well, I need a bit more protein now, so I'll have a spoonful of peanut butter." Then I'd have another spoonful, then another.... "Well, I'll fast once I'm better": thus, another, and another.... "Well, I've already done the harm of 'shocking' my body, so how much worse can it be if I have even more?": Another, and another....

 

But I lived (or, so far, have lived).

 

Zeta

 

(1) Note to newcomers to CR: many of us no longer believe in the potential of CR started in non-young adulthood to extend the life of the average person to 120.

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Thanks Zeta,

 

Thanks for sharing. It takes courage to do, even if anonymously :)xyz.

 

I too have, on occasion, found myself in a similar situation to the one you describe with the peanut butter. My discipline is almost always quite strong. But once you get started, it is sometimes hard to stop. That is one reason this pre-commitment strategy is useful. It prevents the "getting started" part.

 

--Dean

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I considered the KitchenSafe/Ksafe time-locked "cookie jar", but found it less than satisfactory ...

 

in order to lock up ... bulky and temping food items, I would have to use the same strategy of locking the keys to a bigger container inside the KSafe, defeating the simplicity (and refrigability) advantage of the KSafe solution. ... I only need access to the sequestered foods every few days, but I can't easily predict precisely when I'll want access to them.

Ah. I had imagined that you ate (or want to eat) small amounts of these goodies either daily or treat yourself periodically. For that, whatever you did with most of them, you could keep a moderate amount in the KSafe, set for the time you want to let yourself have some, take out what you've allowed yourself at the time, and close and reset it, thus preventing a slippery slope problem like the one Zeta describes, which I had imagined was your problem.

 

What would seem to be a disadvantage is of your system, however, is that while you can keep yourself out of a bulk container for some hours, once you're in you have access to the motherlode, and it will actually take you some hours to re-freeze the key, during which time you have the opportunity to dip in again ... and again ...

 

So setting the date/time when the KSafe unlocks would be problematic. I could have it unlock every morning, when my self-discipline is at its strongest .... But then I'd have to remember to re-arm it again every morning to open 24 hours hence, which would be a hassle and which I'd likely forget to do.

That seems very unlikely to me. You would wait for it to unlock, open it, take out your allotment, and close and re-arm it on the spot.

 

I searched long and hard for something like the KSafe but which more closely mimics the behavior of my homegrown solution - i.e. which defaults to the locked state until you enter a code, at which point it starts counting down a pre-specified number of hours/minutes until it unlocks. ...[A] time-based unlock that isn't a fixed time in the future, but that starts counting down when you ask it to - basically forced delay of gratification, or a "cool down" period

That sounds like mere mathematical/chronological semantics. What's the dif' between setting a timer to count down for 3 days vs. setting it to unlock on a date 3 days hence?

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Ah. I had imagined that you ate (or want to eat) small amounts of these goodies either daily or treat yourself periodically. For that, whatever you did with most of them, you could keep a moderate amount in the KSafe, set for the time you want to let yourself have some, take out what you've allowed yourself at the time, and close and reset it, thus preventing a slippery slope problem like the one Zeta describes, which I had imagined was your problem.

 

That sounds like a good strategy for some foods and some people. But that isn't how I generally operate. For example, I access the cacao beans sporadically every few days or a week to grind them and mix them w/ cocoa powder and/or coffee. I generally schedule this sort of prep for a time of day I'm not likely to be tempted to snack on them, i.e. in the morning soon after my meal when I'm full and my willpower is at its strongest.

 

What would seem to be a disadvantage is of your system, however, is that while you can keep yourself out of a bulk container for some hours, once you're in you have access to the motherlode, and it will actually take you some hours to re-freeze the key, during which time you have the opportunity to dip in again ... and again ...

 

This is a challenge when you buy in bulk, regardless of whether you have the Ksafe or not. Once I've locked the cooler and put the key in the olive oil and the olive oil in the freezer, I don't seem tempted to fish the key out again. This is another (slight) advantage of using olive oil rather than water - the key is pretty slimy :-).

 

 

So setting the date/time when the KSafe unlocks would be problematic. I could have it unlock every morning, when my self-discipline is at its strongest .... But then I'd have to remember to re-arm it again every morning to open 24 hours hence, which would be a hassle and which I'd likely forget to do.

That seems very unlikely to me. You would wait for it to unlock, open it, take out your allotment, and close and re-arm it on the spot.

 

I don't think you understand Michael. I don't access the foods in question on a regular, predictable cadence, as you seem to be thinking. So I wouldn't know exactly how long to re-arm it for. 3 days? 5 days?

 

 

I searched long and hard for something like the KSafe but which more closely mimics the behavior of my homegrown solution - i.e. which defaults to the locked state until you enter a code, at which point it starts counting down a pre-specified number of hours/minutes until it unlocks. ...[A] time-based unlock that isn't a fixed time in the future, but that starts counting down when you ask it to - basically forced delay of gratification, or a "cool down" period

That sounds like mere mathematical/chronological semantics. What's the dif' between setting a timer to count down for 3 days vs. setting it to unlock on a date 3 days hence?

 

Again, I don't seem to have communicated my application in a way that is clear. If I knew at the time I last accessed the contents when I'd next want access the contents, the Ksafe would be a fine solution. But that's not my use case.

 

I want to be able to access the sequestered foods at irregular, unpredictable intervals, but with a few hours notice. E.g. Five days after I last ground some cacao beans, I realize I'm running low and will need to grind some more tomorrow. The Ksafe does not work for this, since when I last ground the cacao or accessed some other item in the food locker, I didn't know how many days/hours it would be until I'd need to access something in there again. 

 

My solution works well - simply take the frozen bottle of OO containing the key out of the freezer a couple hours before I want to access an item in the locker.

 

Flexibly-timed, on-demand, but delayed, access. That's what I'm looking for. It seems like a fairly reasonable, non-esoteric use case. I'm surprised there are no simple, off-the-shelf solution.

 

--Dean

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For those interested, kSafe currently has a 20% OFF BLACK FRIDAY SALE: Use discount code 'BLACKFRIDAY20' at checkout to apply the discount to your purchase. Expires on Friday, Nov 27.

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Thanks Michael,

 

BTW, I contacted the folks at kSafe about the potential for them to add the functionality I'm looking for (as described above - flexibly-timed, on-demand, but delayed, access to what's locked in the box - like a melting block of ice), to a future product. Here was their polite initial response:

 

Hi Dean,
 
Thank you for reaching out.  We have additional functionality that will go into the next model, which we hope to release next year.
 
We have a version that you can add time when locked.  So, if you would like, you can purchase one of these. The way these work is that while the Kitchen Safe is locked, it has the ability to add time, up to the 10 days.  So, if there is 2 days left, you could extend it.
 
If you are interested, place and order and in the comments section write "Please provide me a unit with the "Add time feature".  It would need to be the Clear + White Base standard size version.
 
Thanks,
Gary
 
The Kitchen Safe Team
info@TheKitchenSafe.com
(415) 213-4001

 

When I replied that simply being able to extend the countdown duration that the kSafe remains locked isn't quite what I was looking for, they responded as follows:

 

Thanks, we will look into this once we have enough sales to cover the costs of redesign and tooling.
 
The Kitchen Safe Team
info@TheKitchenSafe.com
(415) 213-4001
 
So again they were very polite, and very responsive, but it doesn't sound like they'll be implementing anything equivalent to the "credit card in a block of ice" functionality I was hoping for anytime soon.
 
--Dean

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This is REALLY funny, because I finally got around to reading this thread for the first time only about an hour ago, as I sat, with my computer on my lap, and a newly-opened 1.13 kg jar of lightly salted DELUXE mixed nuts beside me!

 

I have previously said here that in twelve years I have still not reached my target BMI of 20.0  Now you will understand one of the reasons.

 

But I do have something to contribute to the discussion.  It is a psychological technique I implemented periodically in my early days of restricting calories, when I first became acquainted with CR.  And it worked for me.

 

Here it how it works:  Let's suppose you get up at 6:00 am every morning and usually eat around 6:00 pm at night.  One day, just to get the data you need to implement this strategy, around 10:00pm make sure you are adequately hydrated, by drinking enough to satisfy your thirst, and then weigh yourself naked.  Then weigh yourself again at 6:00 am the following morning after emptying your bladder, and before eating or drinking anything.  Your weight loss overnight will likely be about three pounds.  Whatever it is, record it.  If you are especially studious (as Dean would be!) you can repeat this 'exercise' several times if you want, and average the results.  You then use this number as your motivation.

 

First, calculate how much weight loss that represents per hour.  Three pounds in eight hours, for example, is 0.375 pounds per hour.  It is mostly, of course, urine excretion, along with some perspiration as well as breathing out some moisture.  Next, calculate how much weight loss this number implies if you were to eat or drink nothing for 13 hours.  13 x 0.375 = 4.875 pounds.  Let's say five pounds approximately.  ***NOTE:  It is 13 hours from 5pm one evening until 6am the following morning.*** 

 

Here is what you do with this information:  on a day you feel the need to boost your effort to restrict calories, you weigh yourself around 5 pm and then say to yourself something like the following:

 

"Jeepers.  If I don't eat dinner or drink this evening, tomorrow at 6am I will weigh about five pounds less than I do now.  That would be unbelievable!"  

 

So, with this astonishingly impressive encouragement you persuade yourself to go without dinner.  In other words, for that evening, no dinner, solid or liquid.  This calculation always gives you an amazingly good predicted weight for the following morning, way below what you had been the previous morning, but only if you do not eat dinner.  And it *is* unbelievable, because you will never find you actually weigh that much less in the morning. 

 

So, yes, it is unrealistic.  But never mind, it doesn't matter.  If you do go without dinner you effectively reduce your caloric intake that day by about 33% - two meals instead of three - a reduction of perhaps 600 calories, maybe rather more - approaching one-fifth of a pound of body weight.  And after a while, you will realize your weight will not be as low as you calculated it would be, but it doesn't matter, it is just a game, and I found myself happy to play along with it, even though I knew it was a game, and a bit unrealistic.

 

If you can 'fool' yourself with this just two days a week, that would account for an additional 18 pounds per year weight loss (600 x 2 x 52 / 3500 = 17.8 lbs), over and above whatever else you are doing to restrict calories.

 

And yes.  There are still a few nuts remaining in my jar beside me, but nowhere near as many as there were!

 

Rodney.

 

And now I am asking myself why don't I start implementing this strategy again, and finally get my BMI down to 20.0?  (!!!!!)  Very good question.  Give me a while to dream up some excuses!

 

============

 

"The unverified conventional wisdom is almost invariably mistaken."

Edited by nicholson

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Hi Rodney,

 

Thanks for sharing your strategy for tricking yourself into skipping meals for weight loss by imagining the weight you could theoretically lose, although in practice it doesn't work out exactly that way, due to the difference between loss of water weight vs real body mass.

 

I too find playing with my own psychology to be an effective tool for 'sticking to my program'. One of the best, and simplest, that I've found is just to remind myself how much better I feel, both physically and psychologically, the next day if I stick to my regime than if I stray.

 

A pithy shorthand for this that I've found helpful to remember when tempted to indulge in a 2 lb bag of nuts (or something similar) is "nothing tastes as good as slim feels."

 

Either your or my psychological tricks are better than what I think is a much more common strategy, and that is to succumb to a temptation with the usually false, and destructive mental promise to "fast all day tomorrow" to compensate for today's slip up. I've found this strategy to be self-perpetuating and self-defeating - getting one into a negative cycle of binging (even if on healthy food) and then restricting.

 

If done in a controlled fashion, e.g. 5-2 intermittent fasting, it can be helpful for some people, but if done in a "make up for past sins" frame of mind, I've found such an eating pattern to be pretty destructive and ineffective. Practically, I've found it better to just eat a normal amount the day after going 'overboard', in order to get back on a smooth track.

 

Seems like fitting advice for the day after Thanksgiving!

 

--Dean

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If done in a controlled fashion, e.g. 5-2 intermittent fasting, it can be helpful for some people, but if done in a "make up for past sins" frame of mind, I've found such an eating pattern to be pretty destructive and ineffective. Practically, I've found it better to just eat a normal amount the day after going 'overboard', in order to get back on a smooth track.

 

 

Roy Walford used to suggest fasting after eating too much on a given day. My experience is like yours, though, Dean, and, before my current "2:1" diet, if I overate, I wouldn't try to fast the next day. But I did eat a bit less, esp. for breakfast, and try to exercise more than normal.

 

Zeta

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I thought this meta-analysis [1] that James Cain posted in his weekly research update (Thanks James!) was relevant to the question of whether or not to fast the day after going overboard. It found that :

 

 Fasting showed a very strong effect in increasing serum cortisol, while

[very low calorie diet] and [low calorie diet] did not show significant increases...

 

These results suggest that severe caloric
restriction causes activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which
may be transient, but results in elevated cortisol which could mediate effects of
starvation on brain and metabolic function as well as ameliorate weight loss.

 

In other words, when you fast it raises cortisol much more than simply eating less, potentially causing a feeling of stress, and a loss of self-control, leading to overeating, and a repeat of the cycle.

 

--Dean

 

----------

[1] Stress. 2015 Nov 19:1-21. [Epub ahead of print]

Systematic review and meta-analysis reveals acutely elevated plasma cortisol
following fasting but not less severe calorie restriction.

Nakamura Y(1), Walker BR(2), Ikuta T(3).

Author information:
(1)a The John B. Pierce Laboratory , New Haven , CT , USA. (2)b BHF Centre for
Cardiovascular Science, Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of
Edinburgh , Scotland , UK. (3)c Department of Communication Sciences and
Disorders , School of Applied Sciences, University of Mississippi, University ,
MS , USA.

Elevated plasma cortisol has been reported following caloric restriction, and may
contribute to adverse effects including stress-induced overeating, but results
from published studies are inconsistent. To clarify the effects of caloric
restriction on plasma cortisol, and to assess cortisol as an indicator of stress
during caloric restriction, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of
published studies in which cortisol was measured following caloric restriction
without other manipulations in humans. We further compared effects of fasting,
very low calorie diet (VLCD), and other less intense low calorie diet (LCD), as
well as the duration of caloric restriction by meta-regression. Overall, caloric
restriction significantly increased serum cortisol level in thirteen studies (357
total participants). Fasting showed a very strong effect in increasing serum
cortisol, while VLCD and LCD did not show significant increases. The
meta-regression analysis showed a negative association between the serum cortisol
level and the duration of caloric restriction, indicating serum cortisol is
increased in the initial period of caloric restriction but decreased to the
baseline level after several weeks. These results suggest that severe caloric
restriction causes activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which
may be transient, but results in elevated cortisol which could mediate effects of
starvation on brain and metabolic function as well as ameliorate weight loss.

PMID: 26586092

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I recently bought roasted and shelled chestnuts from Amazon - which I'll review shortly on another thread. But the relevant point for this thread is that to get the best price I had to buy them in bulk - as a 3-pack of 20oz each. Once opened, they need to be refrigerated and consumed within a week or two. 20oz is a lot of chestnuts to eat. Fortunately I've discovered they freeze really well, and I like the texture of eating them frozen better than thawed. They are quite tasty - the best way I can think to describe their taste and texture is "a slightly sweeter (and larger) version of cooked canned chickpeas". If you like chickpeas, I think you'll love these chestnuts. And I like chickpeas - hence the problem and the post to this thread  :)xyz.

 

More explicitly, my previous strategy (described in the first post of this thread) of using a locked (not chilled) cooler to squirrel away tasty foods (like cacao beans) so I won't be tempted to eat them in excess all at once won't work for roasted chestnuts, since they need to be kept refrigerated or frozen. So I came up with two solutions. They are rather self explanatory from the pictures. Here they are (click to enlarge):

 

post-7043-0-44712600-1451472406_thumb.jpg

 

post-7043-0-62017500-1451472408_thumb.jpg

 

Both options use a standard keyed padlock. The first solution uses an easy-to-find food canister, available at our local retail store like Target or Walmart. Here is a set including the exact one pictured above from Amazon. 

 

The second solution uses an old screw-top jug formerly containing protein powder isolate, which I've drilled two holes in - one in the lid and one in the base, through which to hook the padlock, as shown in the photo.

 

Once locked, neither of these can be opened without the key - which I squirrel away inside a frozen block of olive oil to prevent quick & easy access to the chestnuts (or other perishable food) locked inside, as described previously in this post

 

The key difference between these two locked container options and my cooler lockbox solution described in the first post in this thread is that these two containers are small enough to fit in either the refrigerator or freezer, enabling me to buy and sequester perishable and tempting foods like roasted chestnuts in bulk.

 

--Dean

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