My Battle with the Cheesecake

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Two Words: Cheesecake Factory.

I have been TERRIFIED of this restaurant, known for their ridiculously large portions and calorie dense desserts, for years; however, my roommate and her boyfriend invited me out to dinner tonight, and low and behold, she chose the Cheesecake Factory.

I'd eaten right all day. I was planning to do just as good as I did yesterday and meet all of my nutritional ranges. I did not plan for the Cheesecake Factory-- which is probably the reason I am in the situation I am in now.

I tried not to let the fear get the best of me; I really wanted to be a "normal" person. I wanted to enjoy the night for what it was- a lovely evening spent amongst good friends. I didn't want eating disordered thoughts to ruin my night.
The Cheesecake Factory's menu is overwhelming. It features pages upon pages of every meal you could possibly imagine- pastas, sandwiches, chicken dishes, seafood, tacos, etc. I didn't know where to begin. Immediately the "Weight Management" option caught my attention (there were only 4-- 3 salads and a chicken dish-- which all contain less than 590 calories). However, I wanted to challenge myself, so I did not allow myself to order of this menu. Sadly, I am still not to the point where I could order based off of what "sounded good" to me. Instead, I chose a relatively safe option-- a salad; however, knowing that it was not a "Weight Management" option (meaning it was over 590 calories) still had me terrified.
I selected the Carlton Salad: romaine lettuce, grilled chicken breast, avocado, feta cheese, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. I ordered the low-cal vinaigrette on-the-side (I know, I know-- still slightly disordered, but it still felt out of control for me).
The salad came, and it was delicious. I ate all of the chicken, all of the avocado, and about 1/2-3/4 of the remaining items. I didn't really use much of the dressing.

Then came the moment of truth: the waitress came back with the dessert menu. My roommate and her boyfriend immediately ordered slices of cheesecake. I really wanted some cheesecake, too. I wasn't hungry enough for a whole slice; I really just wanted to share. I suggested this, but they both wanted their own. I didn't want to pass on the cheesecake altogether because I knew that this would be "letting my disorder win", and I knew that I would regret that later. So, I "manned-up" and ordered the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake. We all ordered the cheesecakes "to-go" and headed back to the apartment to watch a movie that we had rented.

We got back to the apartment and popped the movie in. Mandy immediately grabbed her cheesecake and dug in. She offered to give me a bite of hers if I gave her a bite of mine (she ordered the red-velvet, which as you all are probably well aware of due to my cupcake obsession, is my favorite), so I made my way to the fridge and retrieved my slice, as well. Both cheesecakes were delicious. Mandy ate about 1/2 of hers, and I ate about 1/4 of mine before we both decided we were too full and the cakes were too rich to eat anymore.

After the movie, Mandy packed up her overnight bag, and she and her boyfriend headed back to his place for the night. As they were walking out the door, they commented that I should enjoy the rest of my cheesecake tonight. This got my mind racing-- I hadn't thought of what I would do with the remaining 3/4 of the cheesecake. I was tempted to throw it away. That's what I would've done any other time (what good is cheesecake to an anorexic?); however, something inside me told me this was wrong-- I had loved that cheesecake. It was delicious. I deserved it. So I did something a little crazy...

I returned to the fridge and polished off the rest of the cheesecake. Every bite was a struggle. I loved the way it tasted but was terrified of what the consequences would be for my body. I tried not to think about it. I tried to live in the moment and enjoy the food... and for the most part, I think I did.

After throwing the empty take-out box in the trash, I headed to the computer to log my food for the day. I contemplated not counting dinner and dessert, but I ultimately decided that I needed to see the totals so that when I wake up in the morning (I rationally know I won't be the 10 lbs heavier that I currently feel I will be) I will have proof that going over my calorie limits one day won't make me a huge, fat, ugly beast.

I keep sitting here looking at my totals for the day. My set calorie limits are 1350-1650 calories. I ate over 2000... The calorie content for the cheesecake (but not the salad) was listed online, so I estimated my salad's calories. I feel kind of numb. In a way I feel guilt for over-eating; on the other hand, I am proud of myself because I know that my body can afford it right now.

I don't know what I really expect from this blog. I guess I just needed to get it all out there so that I can sort through my emotions.

It also helps knowing that many of you have experienced these same feelings. How do you guys cope with guilt? Do you ever allow yourself days-off from counting? What are some strategies that you think I could use to stop my racing mind? I would appreciate any and all feed back.

Thanks in advance :) I just know that you guys will have tons of helpful advice to offer, and that fact alone is helping me to deal right now. You guys are the best.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KALYN89
    It brings such a huge smile to my face when I read all of your comments. I've never had so much support from anyone, and here all of you are offering me more than I could imagine. Thank you all so much, from the bottom of my heart!
    3686 days ago
    I allow for days "off". That way there is no guilt. I don't do one a week as some do, cuz that is too often for me.
    I had an eating disorder when I was younger.. i was very weight obsessed and binged and purged, or just didn't eat at all. Now however, I went the other way and am having to lose all kinds of stupid weight that I put on. ugh!! I am one or the other.. LOL
    So I have to be careful that I don't get obsessive about the weight loss and slip into unhealthy habits. So that is why I let myself not track one day every so often.
    3686 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6716634
    Everyone- whether trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight- has days where they feel like they've overindulged. Try not to let it get to you. Eating 2,000 calories or so one day when you don't normally do that isn't such a big deal. I know you feel guilty, but you don't need to, I promise. You had a good time with friends and sometimes you just have to let that thought be the one that matters, not how many calories you consumed. You're doing just fine, dear. :)
    3687 days ago
  • MAK1186
    First off, it is just beyond crazy that we both had this same exact salad on the same exact night. I, like you, had the same struggle with ordering cheesecake. I didn't want to but my boyfriend convinced me to get a slice to go so I chose the Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake. Ironically, I always get the red velvet, but the man made me try something new. I was hoping once we got home and watched TV he would forget about them and then I could leave it at his apartment so I wouldn't have to eat it. Nonetheless he remembered and of course I ate it. I loved every bit of it too but all I could think about were the extra calories and I how I was eating it right before bed. I experienced all the same feelings as you, only it seems to me like I could put on 10lbs overnight. I realize it's probably water weight sometimes but it is still frustrating. What I concluded though is that regardless if I am trying to lose or gain weight I need to be able to indulge sometimes and that it is ok. I know one meal won't kill me and I can always start over with the next one. It helps so much knowing other people have these same struggles. Great job for listening to your body instead of you mind -- and for making it through a stronger person. Definite success for you :)
    3687 days ago
    You will be okay. We all have days like this and for you it is a good day. Don't let guilt spoil it for you. Interesting I just finished putting a cheesecake in the oven for my grandson's 16th birthday, which was Friday. We will have steak, baked potatoes and raspberry cheesecake for dessert. I will eat. emoticon
    3688 days ago
    I don't worry about a single day of over indulging. It is not what causes problems. It's day after day of cheating. When I go over I just forgive myself and move on. Tomorrow is another day.
    3688 days ago
  • no profile photo IRISH_AGUIRRE
    I love the Cheesecake Factory (although I despise cheesecake - their food is wonderful, and their chocolate cakes are amazing). Yes, it is overwhelming when you look at their calories. But, yes, it is perfectly fine to allow yourself non-counting days (as long as for you, you are not doing it to eat too few calories) - going over occasionally will not make you a huge beast (funny - that's almost the exact same wording I use about myself). Learning to eat healthfully and in appropriate portions, while allowing yourself some "fun," is a good plan. Keep up the great work!
    3688 days ago
  • HEADER2010
    I've been you! I had the exact same dilemma at the cheesecake factory.. although I got the carrot cake.. and ordered salmon! And I was able to enjoy every bit of it.. until it was gone.. then I had this aching guilt in the pit of my stomach.. It doesn't sound like it'd be hard to just enjoy food normally, but it is when you have that disordered way of thinking! Don't worry, it gets easier.. I'm getting better when I go out to eat.. not completely there but getting there! Good luck! Hope to talk to you sometime!
    3688 days ago
    The calorie limits of 1350-1650 are for LOSING WEIGHT. You're trying to GAIN a little weight, right? So you should be eating about 1700 cals (or so) a day.

    STOP beating yourself up!!!!!!!!!! Please!!!!!!!!!

    And I'm glad you enjoyed the cheesecake!
    3688 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9308136
    I think you were really brave to go to the cheesecake factory at all!

    Like you say, you will have proof tomorrow morning that you won't be dramatically overweight. You've been honest with yourself on Spark, and you recognise that this isn't a crisis. I think most people would have had a hard leaving the cheesecake in the fridge, the only difference is that you have a voice in your head that is telling you that you have 'failed' or 'lost control'. I put these in quoatation marks because you really haven't-you're a regular person and this is what happens to regular people.

    I don't really know what to tell you hun, I don't think I would be as calm as I'm tying to make you in that situation. Maybe you can do something away from the computer and kcal entry-a bath or something relaxing? Just stay strong and know you are human and beautiful. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3688 days ago
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