Marching Forward with My March Diet

Do or Diet!

March Diet

January resolutions have come and gone. February Valentine’s Day chocolates have long been gobbled down. Now, I’m marching forward with my March diet.

Call it March madness if you will, but my diet is prompted not by thoughts of Spring and swimsuits but by finances and a need for discipline and self-control.

You see, I’m concentrating on cutting spending and costs, not calories.

My March Diet

Since the pandemic began three years ago, I’ve developed a nasty habit. I’ve become an excessive online shopper. Each night while watching TV, I simultaneously cruise the web, hitting the “add to cart” button with all too wild abandon!

Some people get addicted to slot machines and poker machines. Not me, I’ve become an online shopaholic!

And what do I buy? Nothing exotic. Just all sorts of miscellaneous items — household goods, sweaters, socks, and assorted whatnots!

It truly has become a constant, chronic thing. A habit. OK, an addiction as the mailman and an army of UPS and Fed Ex delivery drivers can attest. Also, my skyrocketing monthly credit card bill.

You Name It, I Binge Buy It!

I’ve bought so many books, it will take a lifetime to read them all. Yet, still, I lust for more! I’ve bought so many socks, Amazon must think I’m outfitting the Ukrainian army or a centipede with extremely large feet!

Fortunately, I return at least half of what I buy. Fortunately, also, I’m a cheapskate. More of a cotton than a cashmere sweater girl.

Still, if you shop till your arthritic digits ache, the cost adds up. As the late Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

A Late-Life Shopaholic

What’s ironic is that this shop-till-my-fingers-ache passion blossomed late in life. As a young girl, my mother and I fought about shopping. She loved clothes, shoes, pocketbooks, make-up, and perfume. Loved draping herself and me in stylish frocks. I hated stores and cringed at trying on clothes. Most of all, I loathed the chic outfits my mother bought me when my girlfriends all contently slouched about in bell-bottom blue jeans. One suit — straight out of London’s Carnaby Street — was yellow vinyl with purple stripes! It was so cool, so hip that uncool me died at the mere thought of wearing it.

As a television reporter/anchor, I finally found clothing heaven in the department stores that provided “professional business suits” for us “girl” reporters. The stores knew our sizes and lent us outfits for on-air credit. We never had to go to the mall. Never paid. Just tucked in the tags and went on air. Sartorial splendor without the shlepping!

Flash Forward BUT Not Fashion Forward

Of course, during the pandemic, while sheltering at home, we all shopped online, resplendent in our baggy sweatpants. For older Americans, this online ordering thing was something to get used to. For younger folks, it was already a way of life. They navigated the web with the skill of ancient mariners sailing the Seven Seas. But get used to it we muddling middle-agers did.

Now, three years later, I’ve gotten too used to it. I cannot think of the last time I stepped into a mall. Cannot recall the last time I exchanged a cheery word with a saleslady. I miss those interactions. And I miss the deliberate brake on shopping impulses provided by the time it took to get into the car, go to a shop, and slowly — deliberately — sort through clothes before making a purchase.

Three Weeks into My March Diet

Anyway, so much for nostalgia! As for my immediate problem, I first considered allowing myself the pleasure of casually “browsing” and placing desired items into my shopping cart, restricting myself only to not actually completing purchases until the next day. However, that idea struck me a little bit like the concept of eating “just one potato chip” —good in principle but dicey in execution.

So, instead on March 1, I went cold turkey. No evening online browsing at all. Zero! If I truly “need” to buy something, I had to wait until the morning. It’s the shopper’s equivalent of those semi-fasting restrictive diets where you limit food intake to select hours.

Three weeks into my March diet, it’s been tough, but mostly successful. I’ve “cheated” a few times, but not much. It’s worth it though. In the end, I know my credit card will thank me.

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