Seven Deadly Sins Series: GLUTTONY

For the final post in my Seven Deadly Sins Series, I’m going to put myself front-and-center, because this is a sin I am most definitely guilty of. I don’t know if it’s my all-or-nothing nature, but there’s a little voice inside my head that’s always telling me more is better. That more might be food, cocktails, handbags, shoes, or nail polish. I am a master consumer, there is no doubt about that. Most of us are, especially here in America. It’s not good.

gluttony

Greed is the precursor to gluttony…first you want. Then you get…and you keep getting because getting feels so good.

Lifestyle blogs (and Pinterest) are phenomenal at making you yearn for more, especially since affiliate links hit the blogosphere. Bloggers (including me) no longer just wear something or write about their love of it, they make it easy for you to get it, while giving themselves a little kickback (guilty as charged). Avid blog readers (including me) roll out of bed, jump into their RSS feeds, click around, and are mesmerized by other bloggers and their clothes/handbag/shoes/jewelry/makeup/nails. ALL. DAY. LONG. (Once again, guilty as charged.)

We are consumed by the need to consume.

There are 18 bottles of red nail lacquer on your vanity, but you find yourself ordering another from the newest Essie collection, because it’s not exactly like any of the others you have. Open up your closet and there are 25 pairs of jeans, but those new season ankle-zip skinnies are just a little shorter than your other ankle-zip skinnies. Peek into your jewelry box, and there’s enough bling to open your own store. But I WANT THAT VITA FEDE BRACELET! GIVE IT TO ME!

Here’s a classic example…I’m not picking on homegirl, but can you see the number of Chanel flats in the photo on the right? Is this collection or obsession? Or over-consumption to the point of waste?

Stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele rapsodizes about her conspicuous consumption in Lucky Magazine's September 2013 issue.
Stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele rapsodizes about her conspicuous consumption in Lucky Magazine’s September 2013 issue.

And how about this little pull quote:

“I once found a pair of divine pants at the Gap and bought the whole rack. People looked at me like I was crazy.”

Really? Let’s call that “doing a Dudzeele,” and just not do it. Does anyone need a whole rack of the same type of pants? As if we’d ever wear them all in a lifetime before we grow sick of seeing them, or outgrow them altogether?

And so it goes. More, more, more. And yet we want more. Will you use up those 18 bottles of nail lacquer before they go thick and goopy? Nope. Will you cast off some of your perfectly wearable denim to make room for more? Yes. Will you buy the Vita Fede you don’t need and pay for it…with interest…rather than go without? Yes. As I wrote previously in this series, it is a vicious, vicious cycle, and one that is really bad for you.

One study identified “…a connection between an excessively materialistic outlook and increased levels of anxiety and depression.”* Which means all those “things” we want (and probably get), are not only gluttonous from a karmic/spiritual perspective, bad for the environment when we cast them off, and bad for most of us financially, but hazardous to our mental and physical health. Acquisition doesn’t guarantee happiness. It’s a temporary high.

Absolution: JUST STOP IT

As I mentioned in my post on greed, one trick for curbing impulse buys is to abandon any items you put into an online shopping cart for a week (delayed gratification/consumption). If you still want them a week later, perhaps it’s OK to buy them, if you really need them. Here are some other tips to deliver you from the sin of gluttony…

Ways to stop over-indulgence and over-consumption:

  • Remove the temptation.
    Limit your social media exposure. Uh-huh, I just wrote that. Back away from the computer! Especially blogs and Pinterest. If being exposed to material things online makes you want them, then stop opening yourself up to that temptation. If those amazing food pins are prompting you to make more sweets, stop collecting them. If you’re tempted to have a couple glasses of wine every night, don’t keep wine in the house. Similarly, if going to the mall triggers your need to buy, then by all means, stop. When I don’t go shopping every weekend, I spend less. Uh, total no-brainer!
  • Stop, think, and count to 100.
    Ask yourself why you are going for seconds, purchasing something, pouring another glass of wine. Are you really hungry/needy/thirsty? Or are you bored? Lonely? Sad? Sometimes we reach for more when something else is missing in our lives, when things are awry. That indulgence is not going to solve the real issue, so you should deal with it, instead of masking it with a temporary food or shopping high. I read once that when you feel gripped by the need for something, especially food or drinks, you should count to 100. If you actually make it all the way to 100, you can have it. If you quit, then you can’t. You’d be surprised what a pain in the behind counting to 100 is!
  • Use up every. Last. Drop.
    Do not buy one more nail polish/perfume/body lotion/etc., until you have actually consumed/used what you already have. This tip comes from Consumption sucking your wallet dry? Tips on how to avoid buying things you don’t need. There are more super tips over there, so get clicking!
  • Buy less and buy better.
    This is nothing revolutionary. You know it’s the right thing to do, for two reasons: quality products last longer, and you are less likely to cast off something you paid a lot of money for. Should you decide to get rid of it, resale is usually decent, so your cast-off finds a new home, and you get a little money back. Proof: Nearly every designer item I’ve ever purchased is still with me today.
  • Pay cash.
    Leave the plastic at home. If you can’t afford it in “real-time” then you probably can’t really afford it!
  • Save to spend.
    Like paying cash, saving cash, then spending it on purchases keeps your shopping in check. Saving also makes you much more cognizant of exactly how long it takes to actually acquire the money necessary for that pair of $500 boots or a $1,500 bag, so you are less likely to squander it aimlessly.
  • Calculate hours on the job required for each item you purchase. 
    If time is money, then how much of your time/life do purchases actually require? If you make $20 an hour ($41,600 annually) pre-tax, it will take more than half a week’s pay to cover a $500 purchase. A fancy dinner out? It’s probably the equivalent of one day’s pay ($144). Sometimes considering how much work is actually required to pay for something changes your perspective. Which brings me to my last point…
  • Reprogram your brain.
    Want something new? You probably already have something similar, seriously. Instead, spend an hour in your closet coming up with new outfit combos…it can be very refreshing. Snacking mindlessly? Drink a glass of water before reaching for a snack; if you’re still hungry, then go for it. Looking forward to a few glasses of wine to take the edge off your day? When you get home, don’t sit down for one minute. Immediately change into your fitness gear and hit the gym or take a long walk. Both have the same de-stressing powers, without the guilt or calories. Reprogram your brain so that wants and desires are satisfied in some other way.

How do you avoid over-spending or over-indulging?

 

* Cole, Celia. (2010, June 21). Overconsumption is costing us the earth and human happiness. The Guardian.

18 comments

  1. Vahni! My reaction to this is akin to Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally…… Yes! Yes! Yes! YESSSSSS! There is just so much good stuff here! I have been appalled by my “come out of no where” wants. I have spent money on items I just thought I couldn’t live without only to stumble across their forgotten selves in my closet only a month later! I have just KNOWN a new purse would make my life fabulous. And surprise! It didn’t. Because it’s a THING. It doesn’t love me back and therefore doesn’t merit my minutes or my money (two things that reveal my priorities).

    For the first time in my life (for the most part), I’m at a place where I could probably afford to spend a little more money on things I want. And interestingly enough, now, they just don’t seem as important. More than ever, I want to collect experiences and not things!

    And by the way, before we thrifters start sporting a self righteous upturned nose, we can be JUST as gluttonous as non thrifters! Whether its $5 or $500, if we are filling our lives up with THINGS that we don’t need just to try to fill a need that THINGS can’t fill, then we are all swimming in the same gluttony pool. I find myself moving toward an elegant and welcoming minimalism. Like you sad, opening my closet and having fun experimenting. Enjoying taking walks or riding my bike or listening to music to burn away stress…not gorging myself on food that I’m not even enjoying!

    I could go on and on (oops! I already have!!) but, this is just something that needed to be expressed and you did so flawlessly! Big hugs to you!!! Serene

    1. Serene, thank you for your thoughtful comment. In my old age, I am seeing myself consistently walk away from purchases I would have made even three years ago, simply because “I like it.” For example, I was out yesterday and tried on a few items at a local mall chain store. Nice things, pretty, but amazing? No. So I left them behind. These days I’m saving to spend, or looking for a really incredible, unique piece that I will cherish. Spending money on the same mass-produced things, only to eventually consign them for nothing is a waste of time and money.

      And thanks for pointing out that the second=hand shoppers and thirsters can also be guilty of this. Sometimes, I think more so, because, especially with vintage, there is a desire to simply collect, and many thing being collected are not even wearable! But, yes, we are all guilty of gluttony at some point.

      Really glad this post resonated with you. Have a fab week, lady. Let’s try to stay cool in this yucky hot, humid weather!

  2. I recently started the paleo diet, and the hardest part for me was the wine. I LOVE wine. It relaxes me to pour a glass of wine while cooking after a long day of work. Problem is, 2-3 glasses of wine amounts to 300-500 calories. That’s a little ridiculous considering I’d turn my nose up at slice of cake with the equivalent calories. So when I changed my eating, I cut the wine out completely. Hardest thing ever. I now limit myself to one cocktail a night of a lighter version of the paloma (a measured shot of tequila, sparkling water, lime and a splash of grapefruit. I miss my wine, but it’s getting easier as I see more and more results from the healthier eating.

    1. Oh gosh…your light paloma sounds so good! No tequila in the house, though, and I’m watching my own cocktail consumption and credit card bills. *files recipe away for future reference*

  3. I love this entry (and this series in general). Although I’m already doing some of the anti-gluttony tricks and tips as part of a big family spending diet (medical and utility work bills coming up), it’s giving me an extra jolt of strength.

    Some things that work for me:

    Unsubscribe from the tempting deal and offer emails from my favorite shops, like Sephora, Ulta, Ann Taylor. What I don’t know can’t lure me.

    Same idea: put paper catalogues from my favorite companies IMMEDIATELY in recycling. Don’t even peek. It’s just going to hurt me. They’ll come ’round again when I’m feeling more flush.

    Do a thorough seasonal wardrobe shift and freshen-up. Caring for the fall/winter things I have and storing them away, and pulling out the summer things (many of which I’d forgotten about) reminds me of Just. How. Much. I already have. Maybe some new styling ideas for old pieces will come to me as I’m sorting. Go through the lingerie drawer, purse storage, makeup case, and jewelry chests, too. Put some neglected jewelry pieces on a dresser tray; try to make them work in new ways.

    Make cutting down on wallet-draining cocktails, rich food, and expensive sweets part of a self-respecting health and weight effort. My weight really has gone down since I’ve cut out my two glasses of wine an evening, and since we started cooking on Friday nights rather than doing takeout.

    —–
    I noticed that Dudzeele picture and text in Lucky, too, and was a little revolted. But I told myself she’s a stylist, so maybe she uses some of her collection for work. I don’t know. But the notion made her accumulation more tolerable.

  4. I LOVE this!!!! Its something I struggle with routinely. I work in corporate retail so I’m constantly exposed to trend reports and upcoming fashions. (Sometimes a year in advance) Add to that being surrounded by very chic fashionable ladies and you have me walking around the office compiling a mental shopping list. That’s BEFORE I even look at my blog roll. I’ve always been a stuff person anyway. I show my love for others by buying stuff. I love myself by buying stuff. There was a point in college where I would beg my friend to drive me anywhere so I could purchase ANYTHING. Just to have that feel of swiping a card and walking out with a bag of something, anything, new. Over the summer I sat down and counted all the nail polish in my bathroom. It was scary. I told myself ok, no new polish until your birthday. Well my birthday has come and gone and I’m still not going to buy any. I feel ok about this. Slowly but surely I’ve been using up products in my bathroom, instead of constantly buying more and more. I need to clear out my closet (seriously there is stuff in there from highschool), and focus on quality and longevity, instead of just quantity and trend. My stuff issue is definitely something I inherited, and I don’t want to pass it to Boomer. I might have to print out this list and post it everywhere. My desk, closet, kitchen lol. Just as a reminder.

  5. First of all, I’ve loved this series – so great and full of awesome tips!

    I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some posts lately along the lines of ‘how much is too much’. I know I, and probably most bloggers as you’ve pointed out, struggle with this. And it’s never ending! It’s an ongoing process to be conscious of your consumption and figuring out what the right amount is.

  6. I’m not one to jump out of bed and hit the RSS feed, but I do scroll through it when I do get around to getting online.

    A lot of fashion blogs don’t interest me because they all look the same and all have the same pictures, the bloggers showing off their outfits. This does not interest me even though clothes do.

    I love looking at fashion magazines but I get them from my library, most clothes in them I could not afford but I can afford to buy out my local Kmart store which has some great inexpensive clothes. I got jeans for $7 and so bought 2 pairs and have lived in only one.

    As much as I would love to buy anything I wanted and buy out any store, most of my addictions are bought on sale.

    I’m a jewellery and accessory designer, creator and collector. I make it, I buy it, I hoard it like a chipmunk. I have over 1300 pieces and it is probably my vice. I LOVE jewellery. I’m always buying or making even if I don’t end up wearing it.

    Although, starting “what I wore” posts, and no, they are not the same as the fashion bloggers I mentioned above, I have shopped my closet more. Wearing an article with something I wouldn’t normally wear it with. Wearing jewellery I haven’t worn before, trying to get everything worn in my closet, and unfortunately something I have found out is that some of my shoes don’t fit any more.

    That’s the other sad thing about consumption. If you don’t wear it you outgrow it. Either your feet grow longer or wider, or your waistline does, both of which have been my problem.

    Last year I culled all of my beauty and make-up products back to the one brand (unless I had some unused products I was not getting rid of). Every year I cull my clothes and accessories, throw out dirty worn pieces, go buy some new ones. And I am so pedantic about it I have lists of my clothes and accessories with the price and where I bought it from.

    Is that too much? lol.

    I do have to say that I love the outfit Carlyne is wearing in the picture. I want that outfit! I also want Lady Gaga’s Kermit cape!!!

  7. I just read through this whole series and it’s awesome!! Over indulging is such an easy trap to fall into, especially with Pinterest (I’m addicted to it!) Freelancing from home now definitely keeps the overspending in check (the steady paycheck is no longer promised) so I just play pretend on Pinterest. As for overeating, I just keep those things that I usually eat too much of out of my house. I’m home most of the day so that would be disaster. If I really want something, it requires me getting me and my daughter out of the house and into the car to go get it. 9 times out of 10 I say forget it! LOL.

    1. Hi MJ, thanks for your comment and the tweet!

      I take the same approach: REMOVE THE TEMPTATION. I’m at home for work at least a couple days a week. If I had anything tempting, I’d totally hoover it!

  8. I usually use the test of picking up an item I love, holding it, thinking about it and then putting it down for about 10 minutes while I walk around the store. If I’m not still thinking about it by the time I’m done looking around, chances are I didn’t really want it to begin with. There’s very few things I’ll kick myself for not buying the next day.

  9. Vahni! My reaction to this is akin to Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally…… Yes! Yes! Yes! YESSSSSS! There is just so much good stuff here! I have been appalled by my “come out of no where” wants. I have spent money on items I just thought I couldn’t live without only to stumble across their forgotten selves in my closet only a month later! I have just KNOWN a new purse would make my life fabulous. And surprise! It didn’t. Because it’s a THING. It doesn’t love me back and therefore doesn’t merit my minutes or my money (two things that reveal my priorities).

  10. I just read your entire series of Seven Deadly Sins. I have been guilty of most of them at some point. Currently, I am battling Sloth! I have been away so long! Gluttony only satisfies for so long before it wears thin and then buying can leave you empty. This happened to me. Shopping began to leave me feeling hollow. So I quit. I just outright STOPPED going to the mall, reading my fashion mags, online shopping> all of it. Now I’m looking at my wardrobe and only getting what I feel is missing or needed, but I still have my obsessions (gloves, shoes, boots.)
    Your series is wonderfully crafted and it is very apparent that YES, you are a writer> an engaging, entertaining, intelligent, thoughtful writer. You’ve nailed me to the wall with several of these. Thank you for all the tips and motivation.
    Glad to see you are still kicking it!

    1. Hey, you! Long time no hear. Glad you liked this series. And thank you for your kind words.

      I also have found (er, this is a total no-brainer) that the less I venture into the mall, the less I am tempted! The more you are exposed to things you like, the more you seem to want them. Good for you for taking a step back from it all.

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