eat, move, think, feel


February 21, 2009

Caution: Potluck Ahead

I’m going to a potluck dinner for the parents at my kids’ school tonight. Just a few months ago, this would have been a Very Dangerous Situation for me.  Some kind of fluorescent green light would go on inside my head, and I would spend the evening circling the table and eating everything in sight, especially high carb or rich things. It was as if entrance to a potluck or buffet was a giant permission slip to eat eat eat eat. During the event, I’d feel like a little kid in a candy store, “getting away with” something decadent, and afterward, well – I probably don’t need to explain how I felt afterward. BAD. Sad, maybe a little defiant, definitely somewhat sick, discouraged and just… yuck.

I feel like I had my “special treat” last night. Just this afternoon, I went to a friend’s book publication party. I arrived just before the toast. The hostess was handing out glasses with “cider or champagne?” I really didn’t want either. Didn’t want the sugar in the cider nor the alcohol in the champagne. I slipped around her to the table and was glad to see a bottle of sparkling water and a big bowl of nice cut lime wedges! I think sparkling water is OK, but with a little fresh lemon or lime juice, it’s great. So I was happy to find that and to have something perfect to raise for the toast.  People kept pointing at the plate of homemade cookies but I just had a little piece of cheese and was A-OK.

So for the potluck dinner tonight: I thought it would be good to bring something healthy to eat. I decided on this great strawberry-feta salad which I think somebody brought to MY house for a potluck a few weeks ago.  I thought, I could always eat that. But do I want to just eat salad and not have anything warm and substantial for dinner? No I do not. So then I got the brilliant idea to make a huge pan of roasted vegetables. Roasted vegetables are so beautiful, luscious and comforting.  I got a bunch of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, some Japanese eggplant, butternut squash, red onion, carrot.

I feel very happy and prepared as I head off to this event tonight, and safe in the knowledge that I will have really good things to eat.

I can’t tell you what a change this is from just a short eight weeks ago.

Is it a “Special Day” or is it Cheating?

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. He asked for a special birthday dinner, and made his specific requests for the menu: crab cakes, cauliflower au gratin, asparagus, Prosecco, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.

It was HIS birthday so I was happy to grant all of his requests. As I was shopping at Whole Foods I thought about what and how much of this dinner I would eat.  I thought about the chocolate cake especially, since I haven’t eaten any sugar since the day I began this blog in January.

I ate very lightly all day (in WW speak, one would call this “banking” one’s points). I divided the (pretty large) crab cakes in half to make smaller ones.  I roasted the asparagus in the oven with garlic and lemon. When it came time for dinner, I ate one of the (half sized) crab cakes. Six or seven asparagii. A fairly generous helping of the cauliflower – it was soo good. When hubby popped the Prosecco he asked if I wanted a glass. (I also haven’t had alcohol since January) I said yes. It was sooo delicous. I enjoyed every drop.

Then it was cake time. I asked for 1/3 of an already small slice, probably about 3-4 forkfuls. I added about two tablespoons of extra-light ice cream. I sat and looked at it for several minutes.  The Beck book has an exercise where one is encouraged to visualize how one will feel AFTER eating a certain food, and if it feels bad (guilt, remorse, self-hatred etc) then there’s your answer. I decided I was not going to flog myself or feel bad if I ate that small amount of dessert.

I savored it. I savored every bite. It was so delicious. I also noticed that the first two bites were the best and I could’ve stopped there (and will if this comes up in the future). But the thing that was different from the past is that I didn’t let it be the “gateway” to, say, eating half the cake. I didn’t beat myself up over it, in fact it made me feel really happy.

Some food plans allow for occasional forays into eating foods that one would not eat on a normal basis. They believe that these occasional releases of pressure allow you to continue forward without a feeling of deprivation. Other programs believe that you can never stray from your prescribed program because it’s just a slippery slope to hell, or falling off the wagon completely. I am sure that this is true for many people – that one taste of something and BOOM, they’re done for.

Of course the danger is that “every day can be a special day” mentality can creep in and before you know it, you’re eating chocolate cake 24/7.

I don’t feel like I need chocolate cake again for a very long time. Maybe I’ll look back on this day as the Beginning of the End. I hope not.

The whole day was very interesting for me. I didn’t struggle. I didn’t feel bad. I thought about the choices long and hard, and in the end, I was happy.

Now, I’m going for a big long walk and a row on the machine.

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