a guilty conscience

I was going to title this blog “will power and moderation,” until a conversation that I had with a co-worker the other day. I was sharing my inability to resist sweets, and she responded, “But you’re so good! I mean, I read your blog.” This made me realize that posting all of my healthy food musings paints an inaccurate portrait of myself indeed. I could preach will power and moderation to you for days, but the truth is, these are the weakest of my skills. If I understood how to resist crappy food, I would tell you. If I had a grasp on eating just a teeny bit of crappy food, and then walking away, I would tell you that, too. At risk of sounding completely dramatic, I have to get this off my chest: I am a totally impulsive, sugar and salt addicted, self-sabotaging emotional eater. And while I do feel pretty badly after bingeing as I often do, the real guilt comes from masquerading as this health maven who’s got it all figured out and brags about her good habits on the internet. So, let’s get a few things straight…

Some days, it’s the will power that gets me. These are the worrisome days, when it feels quite impossible to stop making trip after trip to the faculty lounge for yet another chocolate chip cookie or 2nd cupcake. Or to resist the bag of low-quality chocolate and Starbursts that I keep in my drawer with which to bribe children. Or to steer my car straight home without stopping for frozen yogurt at one of the seven establishments within a mile of my apartment. Or to just go to bed instead of standing in front of the refrigerator, wondering which roommate won’t miss which snack (I’m much too conscientious to buy junk food myself, but I have very few qualms about stealing it). It gets pretty bad. It’s hard to slow down the beast once she gets momentum going. Then I’ve got to live with the stomachache and the impending sugar crash and of course, the regret.

Moderation is a concept I’m a little bit more familiar with than will power, unless we look at the multiple chocolate chip cookies in one day or tri-weekly fro-yo trips as gross neglect of moderation in addition to lack of will power; certainly, those treats would not be so bad if they were actually treats that I allowed myself in moderation instead of in mass quantity. But what I do have a handle on are times like last weekend, when I had a friend in from out of town whom I let drag me to IHOP and then a burger joint to consume things I very rarely consume. It felt OK to give my business to a restaurant that is pretty much everything I feel is wrong with the American food industry, and then to eat beef, and apple pie and ice cream for dessert, because I do those things pretty infrequently.

I realized that it’s been over a week since I last posted something, and I totally know why. I’ve been off the wagon, so to speak, in terms of my eating habits, what with the weekend of indulgence and the subsequent week of will-power-less weakness. It’s taken me three days to write this post, about the very issues that have kept me from writing all week! Anyway, it seems that no matter how much I commit to eating healthily, my bad habits are a part of me that stick. You can read and learn and blog all you want about whole foods, real nutrition, organic this, natural that. But will power and moderation are habits that take a lot of work to build. And I’m definitely still working.

No recipes, ideas, photos…just the clearing of a guilty conscience.

Also, this. Because I can’t help it:


3 thoughts on “a guilty conscience

  1. Good on ya, Emily. We all indulge, and most a heck of a lot more than I bet you do. I think a lot of people underestimate the power of admitting that to themselves, too.

    I know that acknowledging my “need” (okay, want) to go for the crappy stuff helps me channel it into the best version of that crap (or even better, zeroing in on what specifically my body is after, ingredient-wise). Hidden benefit being that the better version is probably going to satisfy more quickly, too.

    We always need a free day here and there, too 🙂

  2. Pat made us a plate of cookies yesterday. They are gone. I’m eating oatmeal on the way to the gym tomorrow AM. Thank you

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