I ate the whole thing. After spotting that evil, rolled up bag of Ruffles on top of the fridge yesterday, I quickly put away the apple in my hand to reach overhead. Years ago my husband started hiding this sort of thing, but this time he forgot how weak I am… when it comes to potato chips. Especially the Spicy Doritos kind.
We had a little party for two on Valentine’s Day which featured our favorite, chips and dip, but we didn’t finish off the bag. As I gobbled it down, I remembered the old time answer to the question, “Why would anyone want to climb a mountain?” The answer: “Because it’s there.” Those chips were not in my mind until I saw that bag, so I ate them just because they were there.
After years of grocery shopping, we’ve agreed to the mindset “out of sight, out of mind.” To truly improve our eating habits, we couldn’t have the bad stuff in the kitchen at all. We just don’t buy it in the first place… most of the time. Imagining that we should or even could exert some sort of iron-willed self control was a fantasy, and much too hard and unpredictable. Why make life harder than it has to be?
The habit of healthier shopping eventually stuck because we always leave room for indulgences. Every month or so we plan a BBQ of burgers and chips but only buy those tiny bags. This way there aren’t any leftovers to snag me. Offering dinner guests at least half of any leftover dessert is helpful for the same reason. Get it outta here.
One thing I’ve learned well is that rigid rules backfire. I discovered many years after the fact that my young son used to go up the street to his friend’s house for the white bread he could never get in ours. It’s a family joke by now, but it’s a good reminder for staying flexible.
Keeping your own weaknesses out of the kitchen works better when the whole household — whether it be 2 or 5 or 7 — agrees to healthful eating. But everyone has different weaknesses, so negotiating a compromise is necessary when there’s more than one.
This much is clear: Keeping it in plain view DOES NOT work.