Detox update: Moderation or fail?

Giant, delicious movie popcorn.

Giant, delicious movie popcorn.

So, I have a confession to make. Maybe it isn’t a confession, but I need to make it nonetheless because I need to work this out:

I had some Diet Coke last night and some movie theater popcorn. Probably not cataclysmic, but I was doing well with the no-soda, healthy-food thing. How did I get there? Well, my fiance came home last night and was all “Wanna go see Harry Potter?”

Now, mind you, I’m not a huge Potter fan. I’ve never really been into the books, I’ve only seen maybe 3 of the movies, and I’m not generally the type to wait in a long line for a movie I can see with zero wait if I just hold off for a week. That said, our theater had added an additional showing that evening at 12:40, and that seemed perfect. We could go and unwind and all the ravenous fans probably would have already bought tickets for the 12:01, 12:02, 12:03, or 12:04 shows. Also, I love love love summer Blockbusters and since we’re going to be out of town starting tomorrow, this was basically my shot to see what promised to be a pretty entertaining movie. So of course I responded with “Um, YES. How can we get tickets?”

So, being the one to have a healthy attitude towards food, I started immediately panicking about popcorn and Diet Coke. Overthinking it. Knowing I’d want it, knowing it would be everywhere, knowing we’d probably buy some. Initially I decided I’d bring some fruit or something but that stuff is not really so portable (we just had cut-up pineapples and melons). I also thought I’d bring some water, but then I realized my new-found love of water has been a hindrance when it comes to sitting in any one place for too long, if you know what I mean. So I made sure to stop drinking water about two hours before the movie. See how when I try to plan to be responsible it backfires?

So we get there. It’s late. I’m kind of sleepy (and wanting caffeine). I’m a little hungry. I’m definitely thirsty. He goes to get a Diet Coke and I ask for one. He brings back two Diet Sodas and popcorn. I then decide not to eat the popcorn. I then am stuck between two places: an old unsustainable pattern of all-or-nothing and wondering if moderating my intake is really just making excuses for why I can’t cut it out.

I’ll put the spoiler first: I had a highly reasonable four small handfuls of popcorn which I ate kernel-by-kernel. I also drank maybe 1/12 of the bucket of Diet Coke the theater issued with the “combo.” Normally I crush the DC and split a monstrous popcorn right down the middle (around 900 handfuls, maybe slightly less). This would generally make me feel hungry (from the empty, sugar/fat/salt calories) and wired. My more moderate portion left me satisfied and I slept well.

Why is this so fraught? Well, in one way I think one of the most important things when making lifestyle changes is: Don’t do anything today you can’t do every day for the rest of your life. I knew it was unlikely that I would never drink a DC and have some popcorn at a movie ever again. I also knew I don’t go to the movies all that often. Therefore, I decided the reasonable thing would be to have a moderate portion of it and see how that goes.

I’m a little proud of myself in that I normally have these weird all-or-nothing rules where, once I’ve “blown” my healthy plan on, say, one handful of popcorn, I say screw it for that day and just eat/drink/smoke whatever and start over the next day. I decided that that had been sabotaging me. I know I can’t be perfect everyday, but I can be better. In this situation, I settled for “better.”

Now, I think that’s something to be proud of. That said, I do feel kind of guilty and like I’m making excuses. I’m trying to keep in perspective that that guilt is not going to help anything and will probably make things worse by making me feel like giving up is the best option.

I feel like I have a hard time breaking habits because I expect myself to be perfect and then, when I’m not perfect, I give up because it’s too onerous, too fast. That said, I don’t want to cover up my every slip by calling it “moderation.” Where’s the line? What if I can’t find it? What qualifies as a special occasion (a movie, a birthday, a graduation)?

I’m figuring it out and trying to not feel anything negative that will sabotage all the great progress I’ve made. I’m better rested, I have more energy, and my skin is clearer. I’ll focus on that. I think in many ways I over-ate processed food and over-caffeinated because I was obsessing. I’ll stop obsessing now.


About laurencleansup

I'm Lauren. I'm in my mid-20's, post-grad school, seeking employment, and trying to break my million bad habits. Fan of pop culture, bad music, Cleveland sports, and the internet.
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