I need to stop buying chips; I really do. I had given them up at some point, then gave into the impulse to buy them once, and the rest is history. It’s funny because while giving up caffeine was a nightmare at the time, I haven’t really missed it at all. I bought a thing of mocha coffee (with almond milk) last week, drank it for three days, then didn’t miss it when it was gone. Chips, on the other hand, are my weakness. Which is weird because I never used to be a salt person. I’m still not actually a salt person. I don’t add it to anything, and I wipe off my chips before I eat them. Or I get low-sodium chips.
I know the conventional wisdom is to eat in moderation, but that’s just not possible for me. I think another conventional wisdom should be to know thyself. One of the problems with giving advice, especially on the internet, is that the giver tends to look at the ideal situation. Look, you know I love me some advice columns. I consider them my stories, and I read them every day. But many of the comments are very black and white without considering the nuance. So, ‘eat in moderation’ is sound advice, but insisting that someone can do it through simple willpower isn’t.
Yes, of course, I know it’s because most people are limited in their capacity to look outside themselves (one reason I get so frustrated with conversations) and have a hard time truly understanding that other people may react to something differently than they do. I saw that in the Ask A Manager comments once when someone was talking about not being able to have their favorite junk food in the house because they had no control. People made sensible suggestions like divvying it up beforehand and freezing the parts you don’t immediately eat (in the case of chocolate) or hiding it away (for chips), which were very good suggestions. The problem is for someone like me–I won’t do it. I just know I won’t. We’re not always rational beings, and it’s difficult to explain why.
For example. One time while my mother was here, she said if I folded the paper bags from Cubs correctly before putting them in the cabinet, they would take up less space. Later, I told Ian that she was correct, and that I wouldn’t be doing that. He gave me a look of pure puzzlement. He said, “You know she’s right, and yet, you won’t do it?” I cheerfully said, “Yep!”, which just blew his mind. I knew it was irrational, but in that case, I also knew the reason why. Pure childish spite.
Back to my point. If there are chips in the house, I will eat them. It doesn’t help that I keep them by the couch. So, after this bag is gone, I will not be getting any more. It is easier for me just to not buy them than to have them in the house and try to use willpower not to eat them.
On the plus side, I have been eating a salad a day, which is a step up for me. It’s just a mix of salad greens with a…mango salad dressing I want to stay. I used to put cherry/grape tomatoes on the salad, but they go mushy so quickly. I switched over to baby bell peppers, which makes my salad so colorful. The funny thing, though, is that I eat the peppers first before eating the actual salad. I did this with the tomatoes as well. For whatever reason, I just don’t like eating them together. The salad and the tomatoes/peppers, I mean.
I’m pretty pleased about this because I’ve been trying to get my fruit/veggie game on point for quite some time. I grew up with a mother who was very pushy about food in general and fruits and veggies in particular. She would make us clean our plates and eat fruits at the end of every meal. She wasn’t much for desserts, and we only got fast food after church, so once a week at the most. She also had body dysmporphia issues, though that was not a known thing at the time. She put me on my first diet when I was seven, and told me I would be so pretty if I would just lose some weight.
I’ve struggled with eating disorders since then, ranging from anorexia to bulimia to overeating. Once I left home, I stopped eating vegetables and fruit. Not completely, but I certainly wasn’t getting my four or five a day. A few years ago, I started eating an orange a day for lactic buildup reasons. That was one. I would sometimes eat another piece of fruit, but that was it. So now, the salad a day is one more. The baby bells are another. I also bought a bag of baby carrots, so that’s another. I’ve gotten into the habit of buying sweet corn in the summer, which is fucking delicious. I’ve also had peaches and avocados in the past week as well.
I’ve said before, but I’ve realized that the best way for me to change my eating habits is to add things to it, not take them away. Or, if I’m going to take them away, to cut it out completely. It’s not a great solution for everyone, but it’s what works for me. If it’s not in the house, I’m not going to eat it. It’s a way of making laziness work for me, though I have driven to Culver’s twice in the past two months in order to get a burger.
I’ve been eating less meat, too. I’ve substituted Quorn patties for one of my meals, with a gluten-free bagel and dairy-free cheeze. I eat chicken for one meal a day, and that’s it. I mean, not just chicken, but chicken as part of the meal. In fact, if I just cut out the chips habit, I’m actually fine with the rest of my diet. I might want to change it up a bit more, but just by adding more fruits and veggies. Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.