I don’t do it often, but when I do…
I couldn’t eat my birthday dinner on Saturday. Not. A. Bite. The culprit: Too many other bites of un-food earlier in the day.
When I say “a few bites,” I mean – quite literally – no more than a few bites of white bread, fake cheese, a store-bought cookie, iceberg lettuce, Jell-O “fluff” with “fruit,” and restaurant coleslaw. But enough “few bites” of several kinds of un-food make my real digestive system reeeeeallllly angry, and late afternoon it was asking, “What the hell were you thinking?”
Well… You know…
What I was thinking was that it was just a few bites on one day. My birthday. Don’t we get a bye on our birthday? (And Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Labor Day, Mother’s Day, Best Friend Day and every other Sunday in the months that begin with J?)
And, of course, the answer is a resounding, “No!”
I know that bad restaurant salad bars are evil. I really do. I preach it, for cryin’ out loud. “Stay away from bad restaurant salad bars!”
But there I was, face-to-face with a bad restaurant salad bar and all its un-food and I thought, ‘Well, if I hold myself to just a few bites of whatever to get me through the rest of the time out with the grandkids, I’ll be fine.’ I mean, it’s not like I’d ordered the barbecue beef on a huge white bun, served with French fries and ham and bean soup. (No, that would be my iron-stomach/ultra-metabolic husband who could STILL could eat my birthday dinner 8 hours later.)
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve eaten like this in 5½ years, but you’d think I’d have learned the first or even the second time: I can NEVER eat the way I used to. I am physically incapable. All it takes is a few hundred calories of un-food and my stomach revolts, I’m tired the rest of the day, I feel 10 pounds heavier, and it takes two days for my body to normalize.
For optimum comfort, I need to stick to a plan – especially when un-food is on the menu, as it was Friday night. I decided, since we were camping, to have a s’more for my birthday treat. Granddaughter Claire was super excited about roasting marshmallows, something she’d never done but for some reason associates with camping. (She also called Grandpa Thursday night and asked him to bring his guitar so we could sing songs around the campfire. Which we did.)
But I’d planned for it.
(So did my grandson, Luca.)
Two low-fat graham cracker squares, a half of a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar, and one jumbo marshmallow is 170 calories and 7 grams of fat and 100 percent delicious and satisfying. All day I’d looked forward to it. I could taste it. And when I ate it, it was every bit as good as I anticipated. It was a true treat. A birthday gift with no repercussions.
Un-food at a restaurant salad bar? Unplanned and consumed in haste? Total waste of my time, calories, and money, and a seriously HUGE birthday let-down because I couldn’t eat my anxiously anticipated and perfectly planned birthday dinner: an Amy’s California veggie burger, corn on the cob, and my signature roasted potato wedges served with my favorite condiments: fat-free sour cream, ketchup and mustard.
(Claire enjoyed my birthday dinner, though.)
In my last post, “Are You Getting It? Really Getting It?” I said that I’d lost weight for me. The same is true for maintenance. I am the only person occupying MY body and you are the only person occupying YOUR body. We are the experts on what too much weight feels like on our own bones and hearts and minds. We’re the only ones who know what eating right or making poor choices feels like. When we talk ourselves into abandoning or are encouraged to abandon our plan for “a few bites” or “just one day,” we suffer the consequences.
Lesson learned. Again. I’m moving on, determined a little more to make a better choice next time. Because there WILL BE a next time. There always is. That’s why a good food plan (and our belief in and love of ourselves…don’t forget that part) is always our best line of defense.
(To read a related blog about indulgences, see “Forgive Me For Getting A Little Testy.”)