What does success really mean? A new way of thinking...
Saturday, March 07, 2009
This past week, I was invited to a catered dinner event at work. At first, I didn't want to deal with the temptation, figuring I'd probably "blow it" like I always have in the past. But I knew that attending was the right thing to do, because one of my employees was being recognized at the event, and I wanted to be there for her.
In the past on the day of the dinner, I would have eaten very little to "save up" my calories so I could indulge that evening. Of course, that thinking ultimately backfires because I'd be so hungry by dinner I would eat everything in sight, and then feel guilty that I failed. This time, I decided to play it a little different. I ate healthy during the day, maybe a little lighter, but really not much different than a normal day. Before I went to dinner, I was nervous--I didn't know what was being served, so I had no idea what kinds of choices I would have available. I knew I needed to mentally prepare myself. The single most important thing would be to avoid the "all or nothing" trap that I usually fall prey to, so I decided to base success or failure on my ability to stay in control and eat appropriate portions. I figured tracking my food and calories in SP would be challenging, so for this special event I would just use the Note in my food tracker to journal what I ate, but give myself the leeway to not have to figure out the calories.
Dinner started with a salad--delicious greens, apple pieces, with walnuts and cheese and some kind of strange dressing I've never had before. I ate most of the salad but decided to leave some on the plate just to prove I could. So far, so good. Dinner was both a chicken breast and beef tenderloin, with mashed potatoes and veggies. Wow, too much food! I took very small bites at a time and ate slowly, and in the end I ate only about half of everything on my plate. This is easier than I thought it would be! Then came the real test...dessert. It was a rich, creamy, chocolaty, layered something-or-other, and it spelled trouble! Do I just politely say "No, thank you." and watch everyone else eat theirs? I knew that would only lead to me feeling deprived, which usually ends in sabotage down the road, and I just didn't want to risk that. So, I decided I had come this far, I can do this too. This was the first real "naughty food" I had eaten since starting this journey. I took the first bite and savored it slowly. I decided pretty quickly the bottom layer and crust were good, but the top was the best, so I would just stick with eating the top. I ate it slowly and enjoyed every morsel. When I was done, the bottom layers laid on the plate, and I could feel the temptation rising to just eat the rest of it, but I resisted, and it felt good.
In the end, I left feeling proud of myself and the decisions I made...never before have I left half of any food on my plate. That was a first! And, I felt physically comfortable, not bloated and heavy feeling like I usually would have been from eating everything. All the way home, I thought about how good it felt to stay in control, and even though I'm sure the calories were higher than I should have had, and the desert especially was not a "good choice," I knew this was a major victory and a very positive step in my journey. I picked up the next morning as if nothing had happened--I stayed on course--and that really is what it's all about.