Keto: Why black-and-white thinking needs to go.

“Black-and-white thinking is the addict’s mentality, which can be a bar to recovery when one is still active. – Michael Prager, Fat Boy Thin Man

I almost binged yesterday.

Here’s what happened: I accepted an unexpected weeknight invitation to the movies. I met my friends at the nearby Whole Foods, where we purchased food to bring into the theater. I bought two bags of Keto-friendly dried cheese rounds – let’s call them “Parm Chips” – and a salami-and-cheese tray, figuring they’d be easy to eat in a movie seat.


In the theater, I read the bag of Parm Chips. Even though the bags were small, there were six servings per bag with about 100 calories per serving. Learning the hard way that calories do count on Keto (read how that happened), I ate what I figured was one serving and then put the bag away.

We all know that someone talking in the movies is rude and I tell you that those chips talked all the way through the movie. To me. And I talked back.

Am I going to eat the rest? Would that be too much? Should I save them for later? How many calories did I consume?

I was hungry on the way home and before I could stop it, my hand was digging into the first bag of chips. And then the next. Before I drove three blocks, I’d eaten both bags and was covered in Parm Crumbs.

And then I felt ashamed. And scared. Oh no. I’ve totally blown it. I’ve just eaten literally  hundreds of calories, late at night. I have to start over. How much weight am I going to gain?

“I better go binge.”

Because that’s how I think. If I blow it a little bit, I should blow it a lot. I pictured myself stopping at Vons – open until 10:00 pm – buying a couple of pints of ice cream, a few half-price, semi-stale donuts, maybe a candy bar or two and finishing the job.

I could easily see myself getting home, dumping the food on my small table, wolfing it down and then passing out in my bed. I’d wake up in my work clothes, makeup smeared on my face, sick and bloated, texting my boss a lie about why I couldn’t show up to work (again) and – worst of all – having to start over.

Yet another fucking Day 1.

“No,” I said out loud in my car.

I drove past Vons … and then CVS … and then the gas station that sells the lame off-brand Hostess products until I got home. I washed my face, climbed into bed, and thanked God I hadn’t binged. The next morning, I  woke up with a stomach more full than I would have liked but nothing like how it would have been if I binged.

The next day, I went to work, business as usual.

Lesson Learned

“The Parm Chip Incident” is what I like to sarcastically call a learning opportunity. In general, I do not do well with chips of any kind … ESPECIALLY the kind that has several servings per bag. I would have been better off getting a vegetable juice or two to fill out my dinner.

I got to learn this lesson because I did not binge. I saw very clearly that black-and-white thinking fueled my binges – if my eating can’t perfect, then screw it – and that I needed to live in the gray. I learned that I could eat two bags of Parm Chips, wish I hadn’t, but still not binge.


It may be small thing, but for me it’s huge. Since then, the only thing black and white thing about my food is that it’s no longer black and white.

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