Chicks in Control - The buffet....

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08-18-2013, 08:20 PM
So our weeklong house guests have flown the coop and we had pretty much eaten the refrigerator bare so DH suggested a local all-you-can-eat buffet. Buffets, while never scenes for bingeing for me (those were done privately while very much alone) they were certainly venues for overeating on scales from moderate to massive and while they all have salad bars, I'd normally avail myself of the starches, fried things, casserole type of dishes, the more cheese the better and the desserts.

One of the things I've been unraveling is my bad eating habits. I found upon examination that I ate like a fireman hearing the fire bell, wolfing food down in seconds, grabbing the liquid, washing everything down, completely cut off from taste, the sensual tactile experience of eating and any hunger/satiation cues, always taking seconds or thirds to feel like I'd actually eaten something.

When I slowed down enough to actually experience eating (a recent thing) I found that things that I thought that I liked, didn't taste as good as I thought. I found that I love salad itself, once heavily gooped up with ranch dressing, now it's much better tasting to me more lightly seasoned so I can taste the leaves.

And everything is so good tasting now that have I slowed down to actually experience the meal with my senses. Ironically tasting good doesn't necessarily translate to tasting like more. I still love curry but I don't need mounds of it to satisfy. Ditto Mexican food or spaghetti. We went out for my birthday to our favorite Italian place a month ago. We both ordered spaghetti, one of their specialties and when the dish came (after the house salad) it looked small but I decided just to experience the dish and I actually had to call it quits just over halfway through it and ask for a box. I was stunned because I used to eat up all the main course, the garlic bread and then order dessert.

So back to the buffet. I'm trying to have as few food "rules" as possible. Healthy people don't have rules but they eat to sustain life so my basic premise is that the vast majority of whatever is on my plate be healthy or at least not highly processed and because I am diabetic I trend toward meat and greens. If I am still actually hungry I can opt to eat a less nutritious item like a starch or dessert. It's working for me.

The difference is in the plate content today contrasted with several plates last summer. I don't feel robbed, deprived nor especially virtuous, just having eaten decently and been satisfied by it. Our habits in our house have changed. We tend to have a latte in the morning, eating our "big" meal for lunch and then having a fruit smoothie and a small protein source in the evening. It is enough.

We were both thrown off a bit by having guests that are used to three square meals a day. We kept it to coffee, lunch and dinner. I tried to follow body cues and though we ate out many times, pizza, burgers and then better meals, I didn't gain weight this week. What a victory! We both are happy to get back into the routine of light eating.

When I was growing up besides the foolish diets that I was put on, we had all of these food rules that pretty much guaranteed that hunger and satiation cues were missed or overridden. Additionally there were lots of us at the table and there was pretty much never enough food unless you wanted to fill up on white bread and margarine so you ate fast, got seconds maybe of the starch. There was no eating between meals for any reason. We were all enforced members of the clean plate club.

We also ate terrible food stripped of nutrition. Sugared cereal in the morning, PB and J on white bread, chips, Hostess snack cakes (unless it was me, then it was PB and J and a diet soda, Fresca or Tab) or hotdogs for lunch. Dinner was a variation of casseroles, fried things, corn, potatoes, dessert. Meat was strictly rationed to tiny portions, green vegetables cooked to gray or covered with cheese sauce. For mom and I, when on another diet it was Metrocal the horrible precursor to Slim Fast and a half grapefruit. I'd get up in the night to raid the dessert or leftovers if at all possible.

When I left the house, I threw any caution or sense to the wind. It was a big party, with me eating what I wanted, when I wanted and throwing on a crazy lose weight quick diet to keep fitting into my clothes. The rest is history described in detail in a past post. Because I was so out of touch with my body, not understanding that it was something to care for but rather an entity to do battle with, I didn't understand how to take care of myself on a real time basis. I'm learning. One day at a time, even at the buffet.

Thanks for listening.


08-18-2013, 09:13 PM
Cathy, reading this, I was absolutely amazed at all of your insight into your relationship with food and how it have also distilled what's important and it sounds like you're managing intuitive eating...the "holy grail" of those with a history of eating disorders. Congratulations on surviving with the guests and on getting this far into your journey.

08-19-2013, 09:35 AM
Good for you :)

08-19-2013, 09:59 AM
I'm trying to have as few food "rules" as possible. Healthy people don't have rules but they eat to sustain life


Questionable. Improbable. Healthy people actually do have rules, they just don't feel like difficult rules to them. I know a lot of healthy people and they often even talk about their rules or sometimes have trouble following their rules at parties etc. They're just as aware of food as we are.

For example, when I was living on campus I had a meal plan as most underclassmen do. Our cafeteria was buffet style ranging from everything from asian to burgers to italian to salads to rice, to fiesta night. You could eat as much or as little as possible. I once remember going with some dormmates to dinner and on my plate I had put a baked potato with broccoli, a piece of grilled chicken and a scoop of pasta with tomato sauce. My friend looks over and asks "why are you having 2 carbs?" to which I immediately thought "what's a carb??" So you see, even at the old age of 18 I had no clue how to portion my food or that I wasn't balancing my meal properly. I've learned a lot since then but what I learned most is that healthy people do have the scoop on how to eat properly, and it's all because of these "rules" that they follow, knowingly or not.

08-20-2013, 11:02 PM
If folks feel comfortable with food rules and structure that's fine. Having been raised with very counterproductive food rules, I plan to stay with a couple of the following basic principles and leave it at that.

1) Eat mindfully when hungry. Stop when full.
2) Eat healthful nutritious food for the preponderance of my food intake, leaving "treats" to their place such as special occasions and that's not because it's Friday.
3) Moderation in all things.
4) If I should regress at any point, I'll start again with 1 through 3.

Double carbs, movie popcorn, Thanksgiving dinner, anniversary or birthday dinner out, social occasions or when entertaining guests as I've had recently all fall into these basic premises. Works for me but mileage may vary for others.

One thing I plan not to do and that is to try to argue with, analyze, critique or otherwise write anything touting my way as being the way for others. Each of our paths are unique and each of us require individual approaches. I'll only share my experiences and if it helps someone, great, if not they can feel free to leave it. It's only my truth.

I've dieted a thousand times and that's probably not much of an exaggeration but I've never come to the end of needing to "use" food and compulsive eating like a drug to deal with feelings before until now. Every other thing I've done in the past to deal with my eating and weight problem was an external construct that I could not find the will to carry through with. It just feels different to me and it is truly different this time. Akin I guess to a long time smoker just having had enough already and putting the habit away for good, perhaps not without life adjustments but without the white knuckle struggle.

Some of you might have the will to march through a plan and that's great but I had to get at what was eating me before I could deal with my eating in a way that was likely to have long term results.

We'll just have to agree to disagree, wanna.

08-21-2013, 08:56 AM
I can understand that you are in an introspective state of mind, and that's fine. I wasn't arguing about your method of dieting or knocking it. I was simply stating that healthy people DO live by rules, for some of us those rules are simple and easy to follow and for others they are more difficult. For example, it's a rule that I have to brush my teeth after I drink my coffee in the morning, this has been a rule that I've had for decades. It doesn't feel like a rule anymore, just a routine and skipping it would feel wrong and yucky. I don't know if it's the word "rule" that's upsetting you but healthy people absolutely positively live by their rules as pertaining to their health. I only know one person who "eats to sustain life" and she has battled an eating disorder most of her life. Even healthy people love food and have cravings and overeat sometimes. They just bounce back and are able to eat more conservatively the next day.

08-21-2013, 11:44 AM
I have observed that after weeks or months of eating moderate portions of moderate carb/non-starchy food, getting STUFFED from rice/noodles/pizza simply doesn't feel good, nor satisfying.

It sounds like your relationship with food is the healthiest it's ever been! I hope things will continue in this fashion forever.

08-26-2013, 09:39 AM
I have observed that after weeks or months of eating moderate portions of moderate carb/non-starchy food, getting STUFFED from rice/noodles/pizza simply doesn't feel good, nor satisfying.

It sounds like your relationship with food is the healthiest it's ever been! I hope things will continue in this fashion forever.

I have to second that. My biggest change over the last few months which has been very successful for me, has been my relationship with carbs. I was really carb heavy which for my mind/body was the crux of my overweight. Not saying it is for everyone but it was for me.

Now I just don't crave carbs like I used to and they even make me a little sick now if I do occasionally have some. Just like diet soad tastes awful to me now. It IS amazing how things change.

I have only been to one buffet over the past few months (I used to go much more frequently and hey you want to get your money's worth right?). It was a Brazillian steakhouse which I love. I only had one of the cheese breads whereas before I probably had 6 to 10. I had very little of the sides with dinner which are all starchy. I had a good trip to the salad bar, and then I enjoyed the meats.

I left feeling fine whereas I normally feel stuffed to sick. And I enjoyed the visit every bit as much as before.

08-28-2013, 12:17 AM
Good for you vintagecat!!

I do have food rules but they don't always work. I just moved to the US where the portions are quite a bit larger than in Canada. I went out for dinner tonight and totally overate (even though we still brought half our meals home) and I'm now sitting with a painfully bloated stomach :(

I'm going to try and take some of the advice listed here.