I always seem to be telling my clients that...Life is like a big bag of crisps…
"Life is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you're gonna get."
— Forrest Gump’s Momma
This piece of life advice never sat well with me.
It makes life sound like it’s just something that happens to you — that it’s out of your control, and that you have no choice in the matter. 😰 Sometimes my clients tell me they feel like an out-of-control zombie when it comes to certain indulgences such as over-eating, boozing too much, obsessing about stuff, and stalking certain people on instagram…
They essentially want to know how to overcome behavioural addictions.
I tell them that they’re not a bad person for doing these things — they’re just human. A little bit of indulgence can be an extremely enjoyable thing! It’s not my job to stop you from doing anything, or to make you feel wrong for doing stuff. No! Here at OOMPH, it’s simply my job to encourage you to do all things in the most healthiest of fashions 🤗
To that end, I give my clients what I believe is more empowering life advice than what Momma Gump had to offer:
Life is like a big bag of crisps — you know exactly what you’re gonna get.
I explain how you can overcome mild to moderate behavioural addictions and/or be moderate with your indulgences (or your life in general) using my ‘big bag of chips’ analogy (which my clients all seem to appreciate). So, I thought I would share it with you also. x
You can have it all — just not all at one time. (Otherwise it will make you sick, or you'll just get sick of it...)
There's a fine line between pleasure and pain.
Most of us are lucky enough to be able to choose how we approach our life e.g the food and drink that we consume, the friends we make, the significant other that we take, and the various activities that we partake in (study, work, exercise, and entertaining ourselves).
And, in most cases, if we find that the thing we initially chose no longer actively contributes to our health and wellness, we are also in a position to turn things around in order to ensure a better outcome for ourselves.
The big bag of crisps in my story represents both pleasure and pain.
Pleasure — in the sense that you’ve carefully selected a whole bagful of your favourite flavoured (and brand of) potato crisps1 – which you’re eagerly looking forward to consuming.
Pain — in the sense that if you actually eat this whole bagful of your favourite flavoured (and brand of) potato crisps in one-single-sitting, it will definitely make you feel lousy — physically, mentally, AND emotionally 😱
Let me show you one way to overcome mild to moderate behavioural addictions.
When I was a kid I used to have a Garfield poster on my bedroom wall which said: It's not the having it's the getting.
Oh, the anticipation of it all...
If you’re considered about your approach to consuming your slices of fried, salty, potato goodness, you’ll simply dish yourself up a serving size amount. You’ll then fold the remainder of the bag of crisps over, and set it aside to be enjoyed another day. (Maybe put it up ‘somewhere high’ so you can’t easily reach it!)
With this approach, you’ll really cherish your self-prescribed bowl of delicious crisps. You’ll know that this-is-it and that’s all there is. This will make you focus intently on your wee bowl of ‘chippies’. You’ll take your time eating them, and you’ll savour them one by one. You’ll find they taste terrific. And, when you’ve finished your crisps you’ll not only feel satisfied, but you’ll also be left wanting more…
Note: You’ll also find yourself feeling surprisingly virtuous considering you just consumed a bowl of crisps 🤪🙌
If during this process you even think that you might have more crisps, you’ll become more focused on your next bowl of crisps rather than being utterly engrossed in your current bowl.
The 'sweetest' things in life are when you're left feeling satisfied, but eager for more. (Ultimately knowing that you can enjoy more at a later date.)
Don't be the Chippy Monster (The Cookie Monster's cousin)
If you do succumb to tucking into another bowl of crisps after the first, you certainly won’t treat them like your first bowl because they just aren’t that special anymore.
The second serving of anything never tastes as good as the first — it only tastes okay. Particularly, if you’re now contemplating going back for a third bowl!
During your second bowl, dissatisfaction begins to kick in. When you become aware of this sensation, you should call it quits — you can still redeem yourself.
Say WHEN, and do something completely different.
You will feel much better for doing so.
But if you don’t, it just gets worse…
By the time you’re onto your third bowl of crisps you’re just going through the motions — your PLEASURE objective has gone right-out-the-window. You’re just eating them because they’re there — and because you can.
You might be eating them to fulfill another objective. You’re bored, you need comfort, or you’re hungry, or, or, or… It’s actually a lot of pressure for those poor, dissected potatoes to live up to! 😜)
In any case, at this stage, you’re absentmindedly cramming them into your mouth left-right-and-centre while you’re being distracted by watching TV, reading, or socialising. You’re not even enjoying eating them anymore.
By your fourth bowl of crisps, you might as well ditch the whole pretext and just dump the remaining contents of the bag straight down your throat! Because now you just need, well, “closure” on this big bag of crisps I guess?!
So, you’re a whole big bag of crisps in.
And, on conclusion, you didn’t enjoy them.
Because now you feel stuffed (not satisfied), and guilty because you couldn’t stop yourself from doing something that no longer brought you PLEASURE — and that ultimately caused you PAIN.
Now, you’re also contemplating doing something else in extreme measures because of this — you’re thinking about fasting, or going to two spin classes back-to-back at the gym — a vicious cycle you might say!😉
The moral of this story is: less is more
Stop doing the thing that was initially designed to give you pleasure — while it STILL feels good.
If you can’t do that, at least stop doing the thing when you notice the thing is starting to feel bad.
KNOW this, please: You will never feel satisfied by continuing to do the thing that didn’t satisfy you to begin with.
It will only make you feel worse.
You will also not stay satisfied by continuing to do the same thing that brought you satisfaction to begin with…
We humans are complicated creatures 😜
Aim to be a one and a half servings kinda person.
This analogy works in all areas of your life — from the little things to the big things.
You’re supposed to enjoy life! 🎉
Experiencing a little bit of everything is the spice of life.
It’s great for your health and wellbeing.
You can apply my ‘big bag of crisps’ analogy to many things, such as:
01—Your instagramming and facebooking (Your stalking...)
Five to fifteen minutes of this can feel good.
Anymore than this starts to make you feel bad.
02—Your NETFLIX watchings
Watching 1—2 programmes feels good.
Watching any more than this starts to make you feel bad.
03—Your studying, reading, or working
One—two productive hours of doing this feels good.
Concentrating for any longer than this amount of time starts to make you feel bad.
Some of this makes you feel good.
However, too much inactivity makes you feel bad (bored, restless, ‘down’, and lethargic).
One or two mouthfuls of coca-cola tastes fabulous.
Any more than this just tastes and makes you feel dreadful 😉
1—2 alcoholic beverages can make you feel fabulous…
Any more than this makes you feel drunken.
(And, hungover the next day.)
Regular, mild to moderate exercise for 20-60mins per day makes you feel good.
Exercising for more than this length of time (and more than once per day) makes you feel, well buggared. (And, it also makes you become a right ‘grumpy guts’.)
In any of these situations, pay attention to how you’re feeling.
When you start to feel bad, then STOP and do something completely different.
You will feel much better for doing so.
You can also apply my ‘theory’ to your diet, your career/job, and your relationships.
(However, we should discuss my approach to these issues at an appointment at OOMPH — as they are a little more tricky to deal with 🤓)
Note: I am not trained/qualified to work in mental health – as is a counsellor, Psychotherapist, or Psychologist. Therefore, if we determine that you have a severe behavioural addiction then I will refer you to someone more appropriate to help you with this.
And, here’s one that I wrote about ‘treating’ adults.
I guess I could have just said:
"Too much of a good thing."
But that would have been boring now, wouldn't it?
Make an appointment to see Lisa
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath and Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice OOMPH in Grey Lynn (Auckland, New Zealand).
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 13 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.
Book online to see Lisa at OOMPH.