Never do I more blatantly engage in self-denial than when I’m grocery shopping. This can manifest in many ways: the bag of frozen peas and carrots I once kept in my freezer for two years, the unopened bag of fresh spinach I’ve been known to toss three weeks after purchasing, the whole-grain pasta that sits ignored on my shelf as the regular kind gets eaten and replaced. But never does my self-deception more beautifully bloom than when I’m justifying the purchase of packaged snacks.
“This time will be different,” I think, tossing a bag of Snapea Crisps into my basket, pretending I don’t have a well-documented history of downing the whole bag in a single sitting. I’m not like this with all snacks, just a very consistent few for which I very consistently delude myself. Who I actually am and how I actually behave become, in a word, inconsequential. After polling the office and confirming I’m not alone here, I’ve documented them below as a convoluted form of exposure therapy for us all. Let’s start with the little fuckers that inspired this story…
1. Snapea Crisps
First and foremost, snap peas are legumes, so binging on them is basically like charity for your body. That said, a single bag purports to contains 3.5 servings. This is a claim for which I have no supporting evidence. The ratio of times I’ve purchased them to times I’ve seen a chip-clipped bag of them in my pantry is infinity:never.
2. Pre-popped kettle popcorn
The problem with pre-popped popcorn is the massive bag in which its served. It’s so big that I buy it with little concern for the possibility that I just might wolf it down in its entirety because I mean, jesus, wouldn’t that be a bit much? The bad news is it’s really not. The good news is popcorn is just dressed-up air.
3. A bag of grapes
Grapes are easy to knock back emotionally, because they’re technically fruit but taste like nature’s Skittles. Every time I buy grapes I assume they’ll last me all week and they’re always gone in a few days. Or completely forgotten until they wilt into homemade raisins. Nothing in between.
4. A box of Mac n Cheese
You’re so not saving the other half in a tupperware for later. Stop lying.
5. A pint of ice cream
The ice cream pint consumed in one or perhaps two sittings is what I call a slippery dessert slope. “Omg, no way could I eat all this,” I think, 10 minutes in, “I doubt I’ll even eat half!” What follows is an ice cream blackhole, only broken by the sound of my spoon hitting the cardboard-y bottom. Horrified, I think about stopping, but then it’s like, basically gone already so fuck it, right?
6. A box of crackers
My irresponsibility around crackers varies by type, but for the most part I snack on them like I snack on popcorn, see #2. They aren’t inherently bad for me, but I treat them like fucking dessert meaning the whole stop-when-I’m-full mentality goes out the window.
7. A bar of dark chocolate
Buying dark chocolate requires some serious mental hoop jumping A.K.A. lying, because I’ve literally never practiced moderation with it, ever. I’m so convinced I’m just one bar away from becoming the kind of person who keeps it in her freezer and snaps off a square for an occasional treat that I’m always willing to give it a shot. Never give up on your dreams, you know?
What lies are you telling yourself in the grocery store?
Illustrations by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.