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.