Oh the parties, the potlucks, the dinners out! Alas the 12 hour shift! Life is conspiring to undo all my good work! Why? Why? WHYYY???
Actually it’s not that bad. But man, we had four, FOUR birthday parties this week: three kiddie parties & one grown-up dinner. Plus a potluck dinner. And by “we” I really mean the household; no one of us has had to attend all of them. I’ve been quite the Nutritarian even under pressure, bowing only to the temptation of a pupusa with refried beans. It was a fundraiser, ok, and Maria Cañas is a difficult woman to turn down.
Dale, however, spiralled waayy out. Check this out: Wednesday night, birthday party #1: lasagna! Princess cake! Thursday, dinner at Angeline’s: Hush Puppies! Crawfish etouffee! Chocolate cake! Beer! Friday night, potluck: A couple of chips & a pupusa–not such a big deal. But of course, it’s not what he ate, but what he didn’t– where was the kale, my dear? Where was the kale? Me? I’m just over here nibbling on some romaine & sipping some mineral water. No thank you, I’ll pass. Lalala.
But boy, six hours into a 12 hour shift with nothing but a banana & cashew butter sandwich on board, I was wishing that I’d packed a better lunch (or any lunch). It’s like that stupid aphorism: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Who made that up? I want to smack that person. It’s so smug. So what if it’s true? It’s smug.
There are a million ways to sabotage a good thing. The one we ran into frequently this week is the “Permission Giver.” You know, it’s the “friend” who sees you going for the deep fried Twinkie, and instead of saying, “Hey, those are not part of the plan!” says, “Go ahead, it’s not going to kill you.” Nice. If you were going to eat wood chips, wouldn’t you want someone to say, “Stop! That’s not good for you!” Ok, ok, it’s not anyone else’s problem, but if I didn’t think I needed a little support, I wouldn’t be out here asking you to hold me accountable, right? If you have always made the right choice and never looked back, never wished someone had been there to drag you back to the dorm before you drank just one more Fuzzy Navel, go read someone else’s blog, because you’re giving me the creeps. And to everyone whom I have ever encouraged to cheat a little, or do something they might regret later, sorry ’bout that. My bad too.
The hardest part for me is some sense that I should be entitled to eat whatever I want and still be thin. I call this misplaced sense of entitlement the “J. Crew Catalog Phenomenon.” Some part of me long ago fell for the idea that those gangly, Madras shorts-wearing preppies, who are really only one stray bocce ball toss away from turning into Labrador Retrievers, are normal. It’s sick I know. But that part of me doesn’t understand that I’m not actually a leggy, blonde, trust-funder. That part of me is pretty sure that I am supposed to be at Squaw this weekend. That part of me is wondering how I missed spending every summer in Edgartown. I have to work for a living and exercise and I’m still short. Dammit. So, my delusion that eating an entire lobster bake is ok, is one form of sabotage.
Distraction comes into play too. I get distracted by the idea that I’m not eating perfect food. Or that I’m eating some kind of food that is a poor sub for what I’d rather be eating. Must. Stay. Focused. I have to shut up the foodies in my head who are snickering about my abstinence from alcohol and cheese and bread and cake-y things. Just because a croissant is hand made with cultured butter, doesn’t make it healthy.
In his book, The End of Overeating, David Kessler talks about “premium snacking” and the psychology behind getting us — us – to consume more food. There is a lot of research devoted to marketing food as entertainment; food as a reward for our busy lives; a “premium snack” as a treat we deserve, because, after all, we work hard & should be able to indulge ourselves now and again. The only problem is we, or I– I’ll speak for myself here– indulge now and again and again and again. And as food and grains have become cheaper and more available we have increased our consumption of some things dramatically. Take my favorite, cheese, as an example. According to the USDA we consumed something like 5 pounds of cheese per person annually 100 years ago. Today we are approaching 35 pounds per person per year. I feel personally responsible for that. Things should normalize now.
Anyway, all this is to say that the way we eat has so many subtle and external influences. Even for someone as media deprived as me (no TV commercials) who has not given McD’s any money since 1987 (no, really). I won’t eat anything that smacks of fast food, but tell me it’s local and read me its pedigree, and I’ll bite. I’m such a sucker…
Oh, I’m down 10 pounds!