Guilty pleasures

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Almost everyone has them, even if they won’t admit to it. For some, it might be a particular type of food, like ice cream when they’re supposed to be sticking to a diet or putting together a fancy cheese platter ‘just because’. For others, maybe it’s a TV show or movie that they know would be considered objectively ‘bad’ but which they still enjoy watching every so often. And for others still, it might be getting rid of ratty and scratchy old shorts they usually wear at home and upping their loungewear game with a nice, new, soft and comfy pair of sweats. This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list of guilty pleasures, but it gives you some indication of where my head is at the moment.

Here’s what I’m thinking though – why should we feel guilty about these sorts of innocent things? Doing any one of these, even doing all three of them together, wouldn’t make someone an inherently bad person – would it? Why do I attach all this guilt for indulging myself with these little pleasures?

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Assuming the diet is self-imposed and not for medical reasons, cheating with a decadent milkshake, a wheel of triple cream Brie, a donut, or some chips every so often (once a week at least, if we’re being honest) won’t do us any real harm. Sure, there may be an extra bit of a love handle, but we can always make up for it by eating healthier foods and/or eating less at other times. On the other hand, does it really matter at the moment if we don’t make up for it right away? Most of the time these days, we are wearing clothes with elastic waists and having limited social contact.

On that note, given that we’ve been spending a lot more time at home, some of us are choosing to wear ‘daytime PJs’. So it makes sense that we would wear something a lot more comfortable and that we feel better in. For me, getting up and putting on something nice like these really comfy sweat shorts helps me mentally prepare for my day. During the week, when I have to get up and do a full day of work, I should give myself the best head start I possibly can, shouldn’t I? Also, when I have to catch up with colleagues or others over video, I want to look somewhat ‘presentable’. On the weekends, obviously, there isn’t as much mental prep required at the moment as they tend to follow a pretty similar pattern of food, sleep, reading, and TV. 

Photo by Thibault Penin on Unsplash

In terms of our guilty pleasure TV shows or movies, who cares if what we watch would be considered bad by someone else if we get enjoyment out of it? I spent my Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago sitting in my living room with my sister, and we watched the first two Transformers movies and polished off a packet of salt and vinegar chips – our favourite flavour! Yes, we had seen these movies before – many times. But it’s become a tradition of sorts that every couple of months, we devote a Saturday or Sunday to exactly this. It’s part of our bonding ritual, and we both equally love it. Also, we’re both not great at making decisions about what to watch, so this way we’re both happy and neither of us had to stress about making the choice. Rather than feeling bad about watching these movies, I should feel proud of the fact that my sister and I have such a good relationship that we both love spending this much time together. Not everybody is as lucky as us and is able to do this with their sibling/s.

So what’s this self-imposed guilt really achieving? Not much. I’m doing my job, I’m paying my bills, and my weekends are my time to do whatever I want with. I’m not hurting anyone or anything else, and I’m not breaking any rules. And yet when I treat myself with one of these innocent pleasures, it’s always tinged with a bit of negativity because of this guilt I impose on myself. So you know what? I’m going to try not to do it to myself anymore. I’m going to try enjoying these things guilt-free from now on. Wish me luck!

What are your guilty pleasures? Do you have a favourite bad song/TV show/movie/book, or a favourite cheat day food? Or maybe something else? Do you think you can try and enjoy them guilt-free from now on?

6 thoughts on “Guilty pleasures

  1. So true Ollie. I think you’re quite restrained with 1 packet of chips per week, sometimes we have 2 with kiwi dip- no calories[ yeah rght] of course, just reduced cream a packet of Maggi onion soup and a squeeze of lemon. !!!So NZ so good

  2. Love it Ollie!
    You know I’ve been taking long lunch breaks and feeling a bit guilty about it. You have released the guilt!! Thank you

  3. Forget the guilt, do it and enjoy it! You only live once. By the way, the chips sound delicious 😊

  4. Loved reading this Ollie- I have recently rediscovered dark chocolate licorice bullets ( because isn’t dark chocolate good for you?!) – just a few after dinner- moderation and balance is the key I think – not guilt x

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