The Foodtritionist, whom I recommend you follow on Facebook for the humor as much as the sound nutrition and recipe advice, recently posted a cartoon that resonated with me. “You have many weight-loss options: gastric bypass, donut shop bypass, pizza parlor bypass, buffet bypass…”
For me, it’s gas station bypass. Keeping foods that I would have difficulty consuming in healthy portions and at reasonable frequencies out of my pantry has long been a key to encouraging myself to make sound food choices. Have you been inside a gas station lately?
I commute about an hour each way to and from work, so I get gas once every two or three days. I am signed up for the rewards program that my gas station offers so I save between 5 and 10 cents per gallon. When you burn fuel as rapidly as I do, every little bit counts. With that rewards program came free treats. A free fountain drink. A free coffee. A free Cadbury Cream Egg.
These freebies are designed to lure us inside. Once there, they want to keep us inside. Buy 6 fountain drinks and get the 7th for free. Scan this QR Code and we’ll send you a coupon for something each Thursday. Free donut. Free hot dog. Free coffee. Free calories.
It wasn’t long before I was stopping into the gas station when I didn’t even need to get gas. The people were very friendly. The bathrooms were always sparkling. The employees were so helpful — “You know, if you get another one of those it’ll only be 49 cents more. They’re on sale this week.” How can you turn away an offer like that?
Food addiction was never something I really thought was a thing. Sure, people make bad decisions, but addiction? When I drive past a gas station and my mouth begins watering, what do you call that?
I’m going to have a radical gas station bypass performed. I don’t need the fountain drinks. I don’t need the freebies. I can pay at the pump. When the receipt tells me that there are free things inside, I’m going to tear it up and drive away. When the rewards system sends me a text message encouraging me to come inside to try a new product, I’m going to delete it. When the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup calls my name, I’m going to let that call go to voicemail.
I can bypass the unhealthy options in the grocery store, but I seem to have difficulty bypassing them in convenience stores. The answer is to bypass convenience stores.