Resisting the temptation to buy junk food

Harris Teeter Market
Monday, Sept. 23
4 p.m.

I survived my trip to the supermarket. It does not sound like an amazing feat, but for me a trip to the grocery store is like going to Temptation Island – one woman on a diet trying to be broken up by hundreds of savory baked goods, ice cream and Krispy Kreme donuts. They constantly test my strength and devotion to weight loss.

It began in the afternoon. I looked in the refrigerator for something to cook for dinner. My search was fruitless, the cabinets were bare. I was not about to go back to J Street and face the same problem I had at lunch when nothing appealed to my taste buds. How many chicken Caesar salads can a girl really eat? Plus, I was looking for something healthy.

Eating dinner at a restaurant was not an option either. The previous week we tried grabbing a quick bite at Friday’s and we didn’t get our food until the following Tuesday. My friends and I had too much homework to sit in a restaurant for two or three hours.

In the midst of deciding what to do, my roommate awoke from her nap. It was like she read my mind.

“Michelle,” she moaned, still half asleep. “Harris Teeter? Now?”

It was the answer I had been looking for. We grabbed our CD’s and money and ran to my roommate’s car. We pulled away from Foggy Bottom and headed towards Memorial Bridge. Next stop – Harris Teeter Market in Pentagon City.

We hit rush hour traffic. It was a mass exodus out of the District. Every single commuter must have been heading home. We reached the exit and it was like the floodgates opened. We zoomed through every traffic light and into the parking lot.

The next task was difficult – finding a spot. We were in a rat race, working against professionals and soccer moms. As customers walked toward their cars, shopping bags in hand, we followed them to their parking spot. After a few close calls, we pulled into a spot.

We walked through the sliding doors and into grocery store heaven. The first section we saw was the produce section. Being the efficient person that I am, I quickly picked up some fruits and vegetables and left my roommate in the dust. She was going through her Weight Watchers book to figure how many points were in the foods she wanted to buy.

Then I saw the bakery section. I just stood there staring at all of the cakes and cookies, like Homer Simpson salivating over Marge’s pork chops and a mug of Duff Beer. Why did they have to attach the bakery to the produce section? It didn’t make sense that such healthy food would be placed next to such fattening food.

My want to watch what I eat was squashed by cravings. I kept asking myself if it was someone’s birthday or something special was coming up so I could have an excuse to buy something. Then my roommate came over and ruined my daydream that a size 0 and eating whatever I wanted go together. She looked at her Weight Watchers book and proceeded to tell me how many points were in the sample cookie I had just picked up.

She left me standing alone with the cookie almost in my mouth. I heard my mother’s voice. Despite the fact that she was in Boston and I was in D.C, I could see her glaring at my stomach. I hate that look. She always does it when she thinks I shouldn’t eat something. I threw out the cookie and ran out of the section to prevent myself from going through it again.

Then I saw a tall red and green case overflowing with doughnuts. In Boston, Dunkin Donuts rules the roost, and while I do agree that they have good doughnuts, plain glazed Krispy Kremes are best. I saw a little box next to the case and could not help but sneak it into the bottom of my basket.

I found my roommate in the meat section still reading her book and began shopping for dinner items. As we went aisle by aisle, I saw Cape Cod potato chips, yummy bread and bagels, Starbucks Java Chip ice cream and raw cookie dough, all food I wanted to buy, but knew I shouldn’t.

We gathered our grub and headed to the check out lanes. First my roommate paid for all of her food. I took out my healthy foods and put them on the conveyer belt. I lifted up a package of chicken, sitting under it was the box of Krispy Kremes.

I was thinking rationally now, but I still wanted the doughnuts badly so I let the cashier ring them up. It was time for me to slide my credit card through the machine. I felt like time stopped. I heard the voice in my head telling me not to buy the box. Then I heard my taste buds telling me to ignore what is best for me and think about what I really wanted.

The pressure was mounting, the cashier was staring, the line behind me growing.

“Put them back on the shelf,” I told the cashier sadly.

“I made it,” I thought to myself. The grocery store did not break me.

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