I love to eat trash.

I feel a deep, spiritual connection to the humble raccoon, who stuffs his face all night on garbage and sleeps the entire day away.

If it’s carby, salty, and covered in fake cheese, you can bet that I want to shove it into my mouth in huge quantities, immediately. This is my personal favorite kind of trash food.

The problem with filling my body with garbage is that I wake up the next day feeling like a soggy dumpster. It only makes sense. Garbage in? Become waste receptacle.

But eating garbage is so fun! I’m not the kind of person who can easily give up on worldly pleasures. Like at all. The mere thought of never eating a carby cheesefood again hurts my soul in the deepest place.

This past week, I spent all of Sunday and all of Monday at the movies, at the local mall. I ate so much trash. It was glorious. Hot pretzels with packaged neon orange cheese sauce. Popcorn doused in liquid butter flavoring. Milkshakes with crunchy chocolate candy pieces inside. Nachos. Mac n cheese that was more cheesy than should be humanly achievable. So much vanilla ginger ale.

I had a blast honestly. I had a really wonderful time. After Sunday’s indulgences, I was already feeling a little gross inside, but I was having so much fun that I decided to just keep the party rolling!

I woke up on Tuesday feeling like a greasy human garbage bag, and I don’t mean out of guilt. I don’t feel shame about eating trash. Why should I? But I did feel… sludgey.

I couldn’t focus my thoughts on anything for longer than a moment. My limbs felt heavy and leaden. I had no motivation whatsoever to do any of the things I’d wanted to use my Tuesday on.

Of course I knew what was waiting for me as soon as I got home Monday night. I already felt a little queasy and fatigued. I joked, “I will now eat nothing but vegetables for a week!” because I anticipated feeling sluggish, and a little sick, and forgetful, and unmotivated, and generally awful. It’s not uncommon for me to feel this way after binging on delicious delicious garbage food.

I spent the better part of a week being careful with my carbs, eating lots of healthy vegetables and healthy proteins, and making sure to stay really hydrated, in recovery, and I’m only just feeling back to my normal self as of today, about a full week later. This was a generally unpleasant experience. I would not want to do it again.

So what do I do? I’m not going to deny myself one of life’s greatest pleasures: snacking on trash. But I don’t enjoy feeling like a useless, absent-minded, exhausted pile of human detritus.

For me the answer is in striking balance between my two loves: having energy and feeling good, and consuming whatever carb + cheesey substance combo I have access to.

So, instead of gorging myself on a ton of trash at once, as I did this past week (oops)–or worse,  just consuming as much garbage as I please, all the time, without any thought to how it might make me feel later (been there too)–I might just treat myself to one or two of those things, maybe once every few weeks.

I find this approach leaves me feeling satisfied and not deprived of life’s finer joys, and it also allows my body to recover with more ease and expediency than it did this past week.

Don’t get me wrong, even eating a tiny bit of trash, like just a cheesy pretzel with a soda, still makes me feel a little bit sluggish and unwell for a couple of hours, but I find that an acceptable consequence to having fun, as long as I don’t overdo it.

I think it’s important for me to continue to strive towards this balance between indulgence and caring for my own well-being. When done well, I find it can be very rewarding.