Thursday, May 24, 2007

The ass and I are out of the office...

After a 6 am workout at the Fat Lady Gym (honest revelations on whether or not I think Curves is lame and why to follow next week), I go to work and then leave scool to drive straight to the airport for a mini-vacation to Birmingham, AL. The friend I'm visiting is a bit of a foodie, and was more excited about making reservations at restaurants than about making reservations for the flight. In about thirty-five minutes' time, he had decided we would visit The Highlands Restaurant (named the #5 restaurant in the country), Dreamland's BBQ (known for its ginormous rib platters), and Bogue's (to die for biscuits and gravy, and infamous for recommending that patrons seeking healthier fare go to the "Commie frou frou restaurant down the street). I think, even as recently as a couple weeks ago, I would've been all for this food-crawl adventure, but my rather sobering experience with the Flex Points and Mother's Day, coupled with the fact that I just don't have a taste for shitty food anymore is making this whole situation more awkward than I expected. Since he's essentially treating me this entire weekend, I feel like I can't request different restaurants, so this is all going to be a big challenge.

Since it's a big vacation weekend, the WW topic this week was "Turnaround will Travel", and I think it was helpful on a fairly basic level. Some of the lifers suggested switching from Flex to Core for the week, so you could have as much food as you wanted and then splurge on one item with the extra points. Other people said to pack your own food and bring a cooler. Both ideas are great, but I was disappointed we didn't get down to the root of a fairly emotional issue: What do you do when you're spending your time with someone who expects to eat, and expects the act of eating to be a bonding experience?

I ran headfirst into this issue as a kid, and while dating my husband. In my household, food was always an issue of money, and non-eaten food meant wasted grocery cash that my parents didn't have. If we went to a buffet, the unspoken rule was we ate three plates worth plus dessert, or the $7.99 a head wasn't worth it. It was a weird existence, trying desperately to eat enough to keep my parents' blood pressure down while we were out to eat and then being told at home not to eat anything, because I was getting fat and I was eating them out of house and home. I finally sorted out that issue in college, when I got serious about eating healthfully and I turned to salads and Lean Cuisines and Subway as an easy, quick fix to sort out my eating.

When I met my husband, though, I realized quickly that he viewed food as a way of expressing love and companionship. He was appalled by my habit of quickly throwing together a veggie wrap and sitting on the couch to study or read while I ate it, and soon my rabbit food was replaced in the refrigerator with steaks and rice and sauces and desserts and I bought recipe book after recipe book and scrambled around trying to create the perfect three-course meal every time. As a working student, it became too much and soon my husband and I ended up eating out every meal as a way to satisfy his expectations. But again, if I didn't finish a meal or I didn't ask for seconds, he was offended, because his father taught him to always compliment the cook by asking for more. It was so hard feeling that out of control in those watch my waistline expand and my thighs squeezed by the fabric of the jeans and all my hard work unraveling because I wanted to make sure he was happy, even if I wasn't.

So, I'm kind of haunted by those insecurities going into this weekend, especially after a conversation with my friend where he said it was going to be impossible for me not to gain weight, so to just give into it. When I told him I've had plenty of biscuits and gravy in my lifetime (probably more than I rightfully ought to have had) I didn't need them at Bogue's, and that while I'm sure the BBQ at Dreamland is luscious, I could probably make do with a salad, he got really hurt and I know it's because he wants to share those experiences with me. But, my goodness...if sharing food opinions is the best thing we have going on between us, maybe we ought to find other things to talk about? I don't know. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I also know I don't want to slide off the wagon just because someone will raise an eyebrow if I ask for dressing on the side.

Anyway, I'll be out for a few days, so have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day. I'll be looking forward to catching up on Tuesday.


Luna Bella said...

Good luck this weekend, Erin! Social eating is so, so complicated. I hope your friend can appreciate and respect your desire to eat how and what makes sense for you. As you note, though, it can be such an emotional issue.

I hope you have a wonderful time. If you end up undoing some of your progress, that's OK. It's all about the journey, and you'll get back on the road when you return.

Oh, and I'm looking forward to hearing your take on the "Curves is Lame" issue.

Jarrett said...

My family grew up exactly the same way. It was an insult to not eat what was on your plate. We didn't have the money problems. Meals were a big deal - always had two meats (chicken AND pork, chicken AND beef, pork AND fish), multiple sides, and mashed potatoes... EVERY DINNER. Dinner was a time where every one stops what their doing and sits down at the table.

On the other hand, I was the ONLY "fat kid" in our house. My brothers did baseball, football, and track. My sister did cheerleading, track, and gymnastics. Hell, both of my (biological) parents are as skinny as nothing.

I loved computers, played in band, and sang in choir. I don't know how I ended up so different.

But the way we ate and the amount of activity I had in my life were a terrible combination.

I would say that it isn't all what you eat. How many times do you plan on going for a walk, jog, or run (depending on your pace) this weekend? Are you visiting a lake or pool where you can do some swimming? Will you be going for a bike ride? How about a canoe trip? If you know, in advance, that the calories in are going to be higher, then what can you be doing to equalize or improve the calories out?

Unknown said...

I have this problem when I go out to eat with certain friends. It's frustrating that they can't just eat what they want, let me eat what I want, and leave it at that.

I've started just doing what I want anyway, because as much as I love my friends, I love me more. And they aren't worth being fat for. Sometimes I do give in if it's a "social food" that I really love.

Hope that you can find a way to balance all this and be happy with what you do. Just because someone is paying the check shouldn't mean you have to do whatever they want.