This past weekend my siblings and I threw a party for my Mom’s birthday. It was a “milestone” birthday, so we had it at a place. It was a brunch (I love brunch food) complete with mimosas and birthday cake (ice cream cake, no less).
Now I’ve been doing this new food program since early November. I took a mini break for Thanksgiving, and gave myself several passes for the extended Christmas to New Year, with OK results. I remember feeling not great about going “off,” not because I felt guilty, but because it seemed to mess up my digestion. I blamed some of it on gluten (I consider myself accidentally gluten-free) and some of it on added fat (my diet is almost fat-free, except for natural fats in nuts and meats.
I’ve gone out to dinner a few times, but ordered very carefully, just eating mostly fish (broiled) and veggies (steamed). But this was my first big event since the holidays and I figured I had two choices on how I was going to handle it:
- I could give myself permission to vary my diet
- I could stay 100% on target.
I finally decided to stick to my plan. The decision was made by weighing pros and cons. For me, the deciding factor was “What constitutes a reason to go off?” If I can go off for this party, then would I go off for every party? It’s that slippery slope. You could find reason why every family function, dinner out with friends, etc. is reason enough to “treat yourself.” So I took the hard-line.
In preparation, I made sure I ate my yogurt, apple, and almonds for breakfast. I brought with me the now-ever-present rice-and-beans. At the party I stuck strictly to decaf coffee and water. The only food I took from the buffet table was the cut fresh fruit. While others piled plates of bagels, eggs, french toast, bacon, and sausage, I ate my own food. I expected to feel terribly deprived, but I really didn’t Looking at the plates of others at my table, the food didn’t even look real. I can’t tell you why that was, only that I wasn’t even a little tempted.
When the cake came out, I had a moment. It was mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cake! And it was just that right amount of melty that I always loved. I refused a piece of my own, but I did have a small bite of someone else’s cake. (Just to see what I was missing.) I was a little concerned that the sweetness would be a strong temptation, but I was surprised. The cake was good, but not compelling. I had my one bite, mentally shrugged, and thought, “not bad.” And that was it. I didn’t need more. I didn’t really even want more.
Now, I’ve made it through many a party or event before with equal self-control, but here is where the story gets a little crazy: There was no aftermath. In the past, moments of true self-control in public have led to uncontrolled binging, once in private. For example, I’m “good” at the party, and then go home and eat 3 servings of ice cream and 2 candy bars. Sometimes I justify with, “Well I was so good….” and sometimes I don’t even bother justifying.
This time was different. I had chili for dinner. A reasonable serving, even. Just meat, tomatoes, and beans (more beans than meat, even). No bread. No carbs. No sweets after dinner. Just a regular serving and that’s it. I thought maybe the next day would be bad, but it wasn’t. I actually feel kind of good about the whole thing.
I can’t explain why this is working or what is happening. It just seems that the further I get from “regular food” the less control it has on me. You know when it is the hardest? When people want to talk to me about it. They grill me on what I eat, and that makes me think of how long it has been since I ate anything else. So stop talking about it, please. Just let me do my thing in peace. I don’t know if this is something I can do long-term, or if I’m just doing a fad, or what. I just like how I feel right now.