I have a dirty little secret. Recently I ate a whole bag of Chee-tos and it wasn’t my first time. Not the huge bag from the grocery store, just the super sized snack size you can easily sneak into your car from the local gas station. You know the size I’m talking about – the one that claims it serves three, but clearly you and I both know it only serves one.
When I was confessing this in a recent business meeting, a delightful young woman who is less than half my age and clearly 75 pounds lighter said, “My friends and I call the orange fingers you get from eating Chee-tos ‘Shame Fingers.’” I found this funny enough (and sadly accurate enough) to forgive her her youthful figure.
Why I am telling you this? Because I’ve found that being a vegan eater AND an emotional eater is not a match made in heaven. [Yes, Chee-tos do actually have cheese in them . . . well, not cheese as much as milk solids.]
This is not only my cathartic confession, but also my way of saying, “You are not alone.” As much as I strive to eat a clean, healthy diet, I fall down . . . and I fall hard. And usually when I’m “laying on the floor staring up at the ceiling” I am also berating myself . . . for straying from my plant-based diet . . . for eating an empty calorie food when I am trying to lose some weight and get healthier.
But, can you guess what that makes me want to do? YES! You are right! It makes me want to eat more Chee-tos. It’s a never-ending puffed cheese nightmare.
So, what’s a middle-aged Midwestern girl to do? My advice should probably be, “Get up, brush yourself off and move on,” but I think it’s more accurate to say, “Get up, lick off your fingers and burn the bag (I mean you have to get rid of the evidence, right?)” Oh, and, “Forgive yourself.”
It’s OK not to be perfect all the time. I need to remember – and share with you – that healthy eating happens one meal at time. Meaning that redemption is only a few hours away. Sweet redemption bought with something as simple as a carrot or a couple of brussel sprouts.
OK, I feel better . . . but please don’t judge me if you see me sneaking out of the convenience store under my sunglasses with a big orange bag in my hand.