Well, it's not a "cheat meal" per say, but I wasn't sure what else to call it in the thread title.
I've been instructed to up my sugar intake for a few days in order to prepare my body for a 3-hour glucose test on Monday. The sample menu for the days leading up to it initially freaked me out! I basically have to boost up my simple carbs by eating sugary items and drinking (gulp) regular soda. Those have been on my no-no list for so long! Part of me was slightly afraid of getting addicted all over again over the course of three days, part of me has been wanting to relax a little anyway and enjoy the indulging while I can. Depending on the results of the test I'll likely be working with a dietitian and be put on a very strict diet plan for several months. And while I'm all for working with someone that knows nutrition while under a doctor's care, I was slightly nervous about actually eating sugar for this thing.
I thought about going to Subway for one of my usual sandwiches at lunch, and instead of my bottled water or plain iced tea to go with it, having a (gasp!) regular soda. And also instead of my usual apple slices, I thought I'd have a cookie. That feels weird and wrong after so avidly avoiding added sugar for such a long time, but it's what my doctor instructed me to do, right? And as I was driving out of the neighborhood for my lunch, something compelled me to turn away from Subway instead of toward. Out of nowhere I really, really wanted a Baja Blast soda, which is exclusive to Taco Bell. Now I do very occasionally order one taco as a treat to go, but I haven't actually sat down in a Taco Bell to eat a whole meal in at least a year and a half, let alone have anything even resembling a Baja Blast. I used to work at one of the restaurants way back in the day, and I used to eat lunch or dinner from a food court location almost daily back when I had a job at the mall. I never got sick of it, surprisingly enough.
Anyway, what I ordered was a little higher-calorie than what I usually have for lunch, but I've still got plenty left for the day (and yeah, don't remind me about the sodium). Something that struck me as odd was knowing that I used to order and eat so much more for each trip than what I had today, and what struck me as even more odd was how I felt when I walked up to the counter to order.
I actually felt self-conscious about ordering! I'm absolutely sure it wasn't the case at all but that old, horrid feeling of being judged for what I was ordering came creeping back. No doubt it was just a relapse of how I used to feel every time I ordered a gigantic meal while realizing by far that I was typically the largest person in the entire restaurant. Regardless of being a more "normal" size now, I had just as much right to be there as everyone else, although deep inside it certainly didn't feel like it. But at the same time, I ate my food slowly and enjoyed every bite of it (so yes, I apparently still enjoy that crap). And when my husband called during the meal, instead of continuing to eat like I normally would in a completely distracted state, I paused to enjoy talking to him, and didn't return to my food until after I hung up. Had I continued eating while talking on the phone, it wouldn't have even registered in my head, let alone give me the chance to enjoy it.
And while I did indeed enjoy myself, I realized that quite thankfully I don't have the same sense of entitlement over food that I used to. I used to go into near panic attacks if I couldn't have a treat at every single meal. And by "treat," I really mean some sort of excess indulgence. Extra fries, extra chips, extra cheese, extra portions, you name it. Say I wanted a slice of cake; even as a kid I'd fret if someone happened to get a negligibly larger slice than me and until relatively recently, I didn't even realize it was an issue I was still having as an adult. Hǝll, it even used to drive me nuts when someone else didn't finish their plate (figure that one out)! What is that, some form of OCD? Instead I've switched my mindset out to letting others have the larger slice (literally or metaphorically), of not needing the extra portions or even not needing to finish my plate in order to be satisfied, as I've had to learn that either having a quarter of an inch more than someone else or trying to outright stuff myself is not what I need for physical and emotional satisfaction. I do need food as fuel of course, but I've found I can enjoy it and actually be satisfied along the way without excess. It's a huge lesson that's taken a lifetime to learn and it's one I'm hoping I can hang onto. I've also learned that I don't need crap for every meal, but that I can occasionally have some without guilt, like I did today. It doesn't have to be a big deal as long as I stick with the overall picture of eating healthy 90% of the time and mindfully 100% of the time.
So anyway, I indulged in my small portions and had some excess sugar, and will be doing so all weekend, without guilt since I do plan on eating healthy throughout most of it (aside from the required added sugar). And when Monday rolls around, I'll be looking forward to a fresh start, whether it's a strict new diet from the doctor or going back to the healthier eating habits that I'd formed and thrived on in the past year. I'm continuing to log my food and even bought a new day planner to continue the logging I've been doing since March 2012 (my old book is almost filled now).
Many of you know that I'm on maintenance break anyway . . . everything's going great so far (aside from the possible blood sugar issues) and I got to hear the baby's heartbeat yesterday! I'm not sure how much I'm actually showing but I'm in the second trimester now and am embracing clothes that show off my tummy (which was big before I even got pregnant, lol). I bought a lot of great new shirts at the thrift store that should get me by for several months. Things are going well and I'm looking forward to all the changes I'm going through in this year and the next.
I get you on the self conscious while ordering! I went to Subway at lunch and had a cookie. I haven't done that in months, and there was another person in line with me. I felt like I wanted to scream "I don't normally eat this I swear!"
Elladorine, what a great and thoughtful post. I think the type of self awareness you've described is what makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful maintainers. I allowed myself to have fast food last week for the first time in over 5 months. And, yes, it tasted good (hate to admit that I really like the stuff), but it's like it was a test to see if I could eat it and not end up eating it every day for a week. It sure sounds like you've won the mental battle with controlling weight. And hearing the baby's heartbeat had to be so wonderful.
Jane - They had to do quite a bit of searching to target the heartbeat (it's so small that my own heartbeat was drowning it out) and I immediately got tears when it was finally picked up! I think it was my first real, solid connection to the reality of all this and it was such a magical moment.
And yeah, that's exactly what I was trying to get at! I really had to keep myself from telling the guy behind the counter that I never eat like that anymore. And when I added the dessert? He enthusiastically said something like, "You've gotta have dessert!" I know he didn't mean it in a negative way at all but I felt like crawling in a hole!
Betsy - Thank you! Yes, it's hard to admit that we still like this stuff, isn't it! I think the key is not letting it own us. I hope we can both keep up the better mindset!
And yes, very wonderful to experience my first real bonding with the baby growing inside me.
even as a kid I'd fret if someone happened to get a negligibly larger slice than me and until relatively recently, I didn't even realize it was an issue I was still having as an adult. Hǝll, it even used to drive me nuts when someone else didn't finish their plate (figure that one out)!
Oh wow. I don't think I've ever connected the dots on this, but boy do I recognize myself in your words. Very, very insightful -- thank you!! You've at once made me aware of something new and made me feel not alone in that flavor of oddness.
Desiderata - It's such an odd concept, isn't it? I'm not sure if it's the same for you, but in my case I don't think it even has anything to do with food. It's on the same level as flipping an upside-down book rightside-up on a shelf or placing the very last piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Seeing something left undone can drive me mad! Come to think of it, while I was sorting through the clothes rack in the thrift store today, every shirt I came into contact with that was halfway off the hanger had to be straightened out and hung properly. I told myself that it was to make sure I saw every shirt clearly (in case it was one that I otherwise wouldn't have known I was interested in buying) but I think it had more to do with being annoyed they were so out of place like that.
And in all honesty, this concept finally dawned on me maybe a year and a half back when someone else on 3FC (I sure wish I could remember who) said they couldn't even stand it when someone else didn't finish their plate; I immediately saw that within myself and realized how it was definitely an issue for me. It made me think of how I was taught to think of how it was such a pitiful waste when others, especially my peers, would throw out food. I can still remember one specific time getting reprimanded pretty severely by my parents when I'd stopped eating my soup because I'd felt full to the point of nausea, and various other times in general when I'd get in trouble for not wanting to eat pizza crusts or sandwich crusts (having been told how wasteful and ungrateful I was being). That's still ingrained in my head to a certain degree, and I feel it can be difficult to recognize why we feel so compelled to eat every bite even beyond the point of fullness. Maybe that's the answer for some of us?
And as for wanting the larger slice of whatever, no matter how small the difference is, well . . . I think I equated that with love and affection when I was a kid, no matter how irrational it sounds to my adult mind. I was often given a little more of this or that (not just food) because I was the baby in the family and often felt left out when my older brothers could do something I was too young for. I wouldn't even say I was spoiled by any means, but that I constantly craved extra attention and perhaps the whole concept of "bigger slices" played into that. It's actually something I first became aware of several years ago when I was still with my ex; whenever we'd eat pizza or cake he always made sure he had the bigger slice, and always found a way to justify it on the rare occasion when I happened to point it out. And that didn't just apply to food; when it came to splurging with money he always wanted the first choice in what we bought, when it came to standing in line for anything he had to be ahead of me, when it come to talking about moving to a different area he had to have his choice in where he went, no matter what my job or my needs were. Once I realized the implications of always wanting that "bigger slice" I was able to put things into perspective. I started to reason myself into being less . . . oh, I don't know . . . I'm not sure if "selfish" is the right word but regardless of the label or the reasons behind it I definitely don't want to be the type of person that always puts my wants before someone else's needs. I'd like to have just enough and make sure everyone else fills their needs as well.
Anyway, that was longer than I expected! I'm glad that you have something to relate with and hope that this new awareness helps you! And thanks! I hope I'm prepared for either possible result; I'll keep everyone posted!
I've been thinking a lot about this and the anxiety that comes with being "off plan". It's still a huge struggle for me. I ended up eating out for breakfast on Sunday on my way out of town again, and I went to A&W. I used to eat breakfast there 5 days a week. I would literally drive across town, and spend 9 dollars A DAY, and I'd order a large coke with breakfast. I was never ever self conscious about it, but on Sunday, I wanted to crawl into a hole for even being SEEN there. It's ridiculous how self aware I am now, and I actually teared up with shame about what I must have seemed like showing up there every day at nearly 500 pounds.
I digressed - and totally threadjacked, sorry, but what I started to say was that I still have to fight the "whole day/week/month is ruined" feeling every time I stray a little from my plan. I full out avoided a dinner out in January because I didn't want to derail coming back from Christmas. I made myself crazy about it. I have tell myself every single day that this isn't all or nothing.
Mozzy - Thank you! I was initially annoyed and even scared of having to plan on going "off-plan," but in the end I think it's been a good experience for me.
Jane - No no, feel free to threadjack a little, I think it's good to spawn new and constructive conversations. As difficult as it can get, I think we need to occasionally slip ourselves back into our old world of "normalcy" (however abnormal our old habits might have actually been) in order to help us find a new balance. Because that's what it's all about, right? And that's what's been so difficult for most of us that have struggled with our weight and our eating: finding that proper balance and not just jumping from one extreme to the other. Because I don't ever want to feel embarrassed or shamed over my food choices just because I do want an occasional treat, nor should I use my healthy food choices as a crutch in order to impress others. We also have to live in the real world where we often have to be social with food, make good choices we can live with, have an occasional treat, and not be overly-influenced by the people around us. I don't want to be freaked out any time I find myself in a Taco Bell for whatever reason, so I totally get what you're saying about A&W. And on a side note, I haven't had A&W for years. Out here they pair them with Long John Silver's, so I've been afraid to try any because of my seafood allergies and the risk of cross-contamination.
The rest of the weekend turned out to be an eye-opener. I was clearly out of my comfort zone, dreaded eating the treats I used to constantly eat, feeling guilty while eating them yet still enjoying them immensely. I was really looking forward to getting back on plan again so I could stop stressing and worrying about giving my old cravings and habits a chance to build back, and most notably, so I could feel like I was back in control once again. I also noticed how all the excess sugar was making my body feel! Some of it just might have been in my head, but I often felt jittery, shaky, and excessively hungry. And when I took the actual glucose test, I felt that old, familiar feeling of being excessively thirsty without feeling dry. In my younger years I was constantly thirsty, and it wasn't until last summer that I was able to confirm with my eye doctor, of all people, that I had spent a good chunk of my life being an undiagnosed diabetic. But by then I had my numbers under control (thanks to my healthier choices) and all my old symptoms had disappeared (like the extreme thirstiness I'd always had, the frequent urination, the constant, slow-healing sores, etc.).
I went to my niece's birthday celebration yesterday (my second day back on my normal plan) and was treated to McDonald's. I still actually eat there quite a bit so I didn't see it as an issue; I typically order one of the grilled chicken sandwich wraps and sometimes add the fruit and yogurt parfait. Given that we did a lot of walking, ramp-climbing, and playing at the midway, I was extra hungry! I went ahead and got my usual wrap, but when it came to the parfait? They didn't have any. I still wanted a side so I got the combo meal with the fries. I reminded myself that I needn't feel guilty over an occasional treat like that. And as I sat down, my "naturally thin" SIL lit up when she saw my order: "OMG, aren't these new chicken wraps awesome?!!!" She showed me hers and I enthusiasticly agreed. I made sure to eat slowly and I glanced over and saw she had stopped eating when she still had about half of her fries left. I had about half of mine left as well and realized I was satisfied. She saw me move my container to the other tray and assumed I had finished them, so she offered me the rest of hers since she was so full. I politely declined and said I hadn't finished mine either. It made me think of this thread, and how once upon a time I'd have looked down on someone for not appreciating their meal by leaving it unfinished. How wasteful and ungrateful of them, right? I still have to fight that sometimes, telling myself that it's ok to not finish something. And oddly enough, I still felt self-conscious around my other sister-in-law, who is around my current size and had ordered a chicken nugget meal. And it's not like I was judging her on what she'd gotten, but I'd felt for sure that she had every reason to gloat about me ordering fries when everyone simply knows I don't order them anymore. She's not a judgmental person at all, so why does my head even go there? Why do I have to have such issues with food?
I'm so thankful that I not only got back on plan right away, but that I actually wanted to. And the fact that I ordered something typically off plan (the fries) after such a crazy weekend yet the world didn't end. Baby steps, right? Anyway, I think it's good that you shared this. You're not alone, and acknowledging what you're going through will only give you awareness and strength with conquering this.
Peggy - My doctor hasn't officially gotten back to me yet, but I checked my online medical records this morning to see if the results were in. While I technically have no training with this stuff, all of my numbers appear to be in the normal range! I'll discuss things in further detail with my doctor during my next appointment, but I'm guessing that my usual diet has been keeping my blood sugar in check and that I should stick with what I've been doing.
I feel that rush to assume that I'm being judged quite often. For example, when I go out, I generally order a pasta, just because I miss it, and if I'm going to have a treat, why not make it count. I started noticing that none of the thin people I know order pasta. Most order a lean meat and a veggie. I often wondered if they were all looking at my plate of refined carbs and going "yeah, THAT'S why you're fat".
Glad you're feeling good being back on plan! I'm dealing with a tooth extraction and that means I need to up my carbs both for healing and so I can eat softer foods. I just keep reminding myself that I will not wake up at 500 pounds tomorrow.
Jane - I think that, at least for most of us that have spent a lifetime of being fat and not knowing anything else, there's a reason we feel constantly judged. Speaking strictly for myself here, it often feels like every little aspect of my entire being is somehow wrapped around my weight. And no matter what, it's an extremely difficult feeling to shake, as every choice we make is met with scrutiny at some time or another. I wish I could just relax and focus on being happy with enjoying life; not to worry about how fat an outfit makes me look, not to worry about whether or not a hairstyle is flattering to the changing shape of my face, not feeling the need to jump into defense over my salad or over my cheeseburger because people are quick to comment. It's even worse for me now that people know I'm pregnant, as it somehow opens the floodgates for all kinds of unsolicited advice, especially when it comes to food choices!
I'm sorry about your tooth! I need to visit the dentist soon myself and I'm dreading the limitations I'll have to deal with due to the pregnancy (I'm guessing I'll need some temporary fixes to get by until after the baby's born).
Thank you for your thoughtfulness in writing this--it is what I needed to hear right now. The idea of being entitled to treats really resonated with me. I had to go back and read it twice. I think I need to do more reflecting on this, but for now...thank you!
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