Going, Going, Not Gone

Have you ever let your weight issues keep you from going somewhere?  I have.  Your reasons might have been different from mine.  Or they may have been the same.  Regardless, it seems wrong when I think about it… letting weight or dieting dictate our actions.

The most obvious reason why anyone does this, is because they don’t like how they look.  Maybe they don’t want to encounter someone who has never seen them this large.  Or they are afraid they’d embarrass a spouse or loved one with their size.  Or they just don’t want to risk the comments and looks that might come.  Or they have nothing appropriate that fits and refuse to buy bigger clothes.

But there are other less obvious and maybe less common reasons.  Reasons that are at the forefront of my mind right now.  Like not wanting to be tempted by the food that is there.   And not wanting to NOT eat and then wonder if anyone is noticing.

At my current place in my journey, when I have an upcoming event, I think mostly about the food that I will encounter and the temptations I will have to resist.  I know it is good to have a plan in my mind, but I wish I could just trust in myself to go and handle things well without having to think about it ahead of time.  I wish I could splurge if I want to and not worry about that derailing me.   I need to learn that I can go and enjoy myself regardless of the food being served.  And I need to feel that I can eat what I want, or don’t eat what I don’t want to, and not worry that anyone is looking.

It makes me sad to think about it.  To think about the times in the past when I knew I had an upcoming event and my immediate thought went to my weight.  Or that I was dieting.  Or should be dieting.  It makes me a little sad to think of the occasions when I stayed home rather than buy the outfit in the bigger size or risk derailing a diet with tempting food.  That makes my life about my weight and dieting, and not about living.  If this is truly a lifestyle change, then I need to change my approach to social events along with everything else.  Add it to my list.

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42 Comments

Filed under dieting, restaurant/social eating, weight issues

42 responses to “Going, Going, Not Gone

  1. Yes, I have! I recently noticed (through facebook) that some of my friends from high school have moved to Charleston, SC (where I live). While I would love to have lunch with them and reconnect, I have yet to extend an invitation. I haven’t seen these people since I was around 135 lbs. While I am only 40 lbs heavier than that now, it might as well be 75 as uncomfortable as it makes me (mentally, not physically). I certainly wish my weight didn’t dictate the opportunity for me to reunite with old friends, but it does.

    On a separate note, when my husband and I decided to stop eating meat from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and only eat local, humainly raised meat, it affected our social life. We would get invitations to go out to dinner, and we would scour the menu online to see if there were healthy vegetarian options. If there weren’t, we would decline. We have had to make a very concerted effort to incorporate our lifestyle change into our social life.

    Now, we will eat a healthy dinner at home, then meet up with our friends and just have a small side salad. If I had not eaten beforehand, having a side salad for dinner would just frustrate me and leave me hungry (and possibly ordering the mozzarella cheese sticks)! But now, I just pick at the salad and enjoy the company and conversation.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Do Low or High = Bad? =-.

    • Karen

      I do can identify with that first part. The second part… when we were out with friends on vacation, one wife said she just didn’t like sweets and passed on desserts. Hubby and I thought it was a great way to avoid eating them if you are dieting. I think having a “legitimate” reason, like yours, for not partaking, makes it easier.

      • Karen, trying to nourish your body with healthy food is a LEGITIMATE reason!
        .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Weigh In: Week 7 =-.

        • Karen

          Ah yes… but I imagine it does not go over quite as well:) Especially when I have reached a point where anyone looking at me would probably think I am at a very acceptable size and scoff if I talk about “dieting.” Another friend on our trip is a strict vegetarian. When we went to a seafood place with really nothing else on the menu, he asked them to make him a cheese sandwich:) I need to stop worrying what anyone things and eat what I want to!

  2. It really is easy to let every thought shift to your weight when you are dieting, etc. I agree that it has to be a lifestyle change, and you have to work those social situations into your lifestyle. It is no fun to turn down a party because you are afraid of the hors d’oeuvres! I like your idea of eating at home and then still meeting up with your friends, that way you don’t have to sacrifice your social life!
    .-= The Mommyologist´s last blog ..The Butt-Sniff: A True Sign of Friendship =-.

    • Karen

      I had my blood drawn on Monday for cholesterol and that night had dinner at my girlfriend’s. I really debated telling a little white lie that my blood test was the next morning so I could have a great excuse to show up and not eat.

  3. Ah, that’s a tough one, and I totally understand where you are coming from. I’ve TOTALLY missed things in life because I was overly-aware of my weight, and the way that I looked, mostly for those reasons, not really because of the food.

    However, one of the tools I learned about in WW was that if you have a party/event coming up where you know there is going to be good food, make a plan! Even write it down if you want! Write what your goal is for the evening, how you are going to navigate the food area (what you are going to eat/not eat/indulge in/not touch with a 10-foot pole/etc, and then write down how you are going to reward yourself if you make that goal. I’ve found that to be really helpful, and I’m not shy about calling ahead to see what the hostess is making foodwise.

    You’re on a healthy lifestyle journey, and I’m sure that any party you go to, you’re friends are going to be proud of you. 🙂

    Hope

    • Karen

      I discovered I have a new problem! I plan for the event… but I overeat before and after now. Maybe be cause I feel deprived in my mind or frustrated?

  4. Hi Karen –

    I could have written this post. Before the Memorial Day weekend I posted about dreading the food options that would be presented over the weekend and how I would handle them. I felt the same way – sad to think of the role food, dieting and eating have taken in some of my life choices. You are brave and bold to put this out there and your willingness to do that is a big step in finding freedom and peace from the whole issue.

    That said, sometimes there are good reasons for me not to attend certain functions when I know in my gut (no pun intended) that I don’t really care that much about it other than the food that will be available. I have no trouble being a recovering alcoholic and avoiding situations where alcohol is sort of the main event…like a gathering at a bar or a cocktail party. But if those events are important or for someone I love, I can choose to go and build in safegaurds for myself.

    I guess what I’m saying is that as we move along this path, there will never be one right way to always go…it will vary with circumstances. The freedom I’m working toward is knowing I can negotiate it with awareness and self care. An occasional indulgence, whether for a weekend or an hour, isn’t the end of the world unless we make it such (with food).
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..Tuesday topics =-.

    • Karen

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. If I am honest with myself, I think my goal would be that I could indulge at events out, IF I want to, if I stay on plan whenever I am home. That seems very sane and doable. Unfortunately I did some emotional eating about my last two meals out and overate at home as a result. But NOT AGAIN!

  5. Yeah, that’s a pretty tough balance to maintain. I’m still trying to figure that out, especially when I go to places that have food that I don’t normally eat (parties, vacations, etc.) I have certainly missed out on a lot of life because I was too ashamed of my weight, and even more so.. because my weight held me back from participating in activities that were too difficult for me!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Being thin saves the day (again) =-.

    • Karen

      Not to put any pressure on you, Anna, but I am very much watching how you are handling your transition now. I think I can learn a lot from your experience.

  6. There are many choices I’ve made which were motivated by body size shame. The one I most regret was not contacting my best friend from childhood when I went back Barbados, even though my family told me she was ill. She died of Lupus and I never got to see her, tell her I loved her and thank her for being such a good friend to me. That one still haunts me.

    I feel differently though about missing out on things because I’m putting my health and well-being first. I see my obesity as a life threatening illness and I view my self-care routine as the only thing standing between me and premature death. Acceptance of this fact and putting my health and well being first IS the lifestyle change for me. Whatever is sacrificed in the name of me taking care of myself first is par for the course and worth the sacrifice.
    .-= Nona´s last blog .. =-.

  7. At least in my case, I’ve found that the conflict that you eloquently describe doesn’t stop once the weight is lost. I love to socialize and unfortunately, parties have always been a place where I eat more than normal. Yes, I have bailed on pool parties where I didn’t want people to see me in a bathing suit. A few months ago, after putting a few pounds on following a foot injury, I was reluctant to go to a friend’s engagement party because I felt a little self-conscious and I wanted to avoid the siren song of the dessert display. But what tends to work best for me is planning ahead. If I know there will be tortilla chips and dip galore, i’ll log extra time at the gym to “make room” to enjoy the food without guilt. Before we went to a dinner party last Saturday, I ate an apple so i wouldn’t load up like crazy on appetizers for the meal.
    .-= Shira Miller´s last blog ..Running on Empty? =-.

    • Karen

      I think your pre-planning is very smart. And I am very glad no one has invited me to a pool party since childhood!

  8. You took the words right out of my mouth. That is SO me! great post.
    .-= Lesia´s last blog ..ooh la la…. =-.

  9. Though I don’t have advice for you, you have given me the best advice EVER. Because I do not want my life to be about dieting and losing weight…ONLY, I think that I will just eat sensibly and really pray for self control!! Thanks ma’am! This post is just what I needed!
    .-= Corletta Brown´s last blog ..I wish I had good stuff to post….. 😦 =-.

  10. sunnydaze

    Oh yes. I have avoided many a get together because I was embarrassed of my weight. I didn’t want other people to see me and then talk about me after I’d gone about how much weight I’d gained. Same with having nothing to wear. It seems like when you are fat people watch everything that you put in your mouth like you shouldn’t be eating AT ALL.

    • Karen

      I always worry too much about what other people think. I suppose the reality is they are not looking or thinking about my actions nearly as much as I think they are!

  11. There was a time when some medication I was prescribed caused me to gain over 20 lbs. My husband and I were to attend a formal event and I couldn’t fit into any of my dresses. I should have planned in advance, but really didn’t think about it. He had to attend alone. That’s when I went back to the doctor and begged that she change my prescription. (The good news is that when I switched medications the 20 lbs. came off really quickly!)
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..Ask A Trainer Wednesday/Meet David =-.

    • Karen

      Oh wow. That would be frustrating; but I am glad you could switch and find a different medication. I soooo have refused to by formal clothes in bigger sizes!

  12. I have a tendency to obsess before an event. I will buy a size up and worry about how I look and plan for how I will eat – but when the event comes I let that fall away and I enjoy the moment and I always have a good time and the restrictions and the worries never bother me. I am lucky that way.

    The only time I let my weight stop me completely from doing something was when we went on a trip and I did not make a reservation for horse back riding. I just knew I would feel uncomfortable. Sure enough when we got there it turned out there was a weight restriction and I was over it. It would have been really bad if my husband had made a scene…
    .-= Brightside-Susan´s last blog ..SPRING FOCUS CHECK IN =-.

    • Karen

      I have a great story I could tell about a trip and weight restrictions… if my husband will let me. Since it is his story. Hubby?

  13. I just read Wendi’s plan. I kinda do that now. I am never really consistent on the number of points each day. Thank you for the info.
    .-= Lesia´s last blog ..ooh la la…. =-.

  14. Good post. You really thought that out. I don’t want that for me in my life either.

    But to make it work I find it best to distract myself with things other than food. Sometimes a mind trick is only the way to get myself through it.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..500 miles in 2010 =-.

  15. I’m pretty sure this is a universal issue for most of us… certainly for me… and so poignantly written, Karen. We need to be gentle with ourselves as we take baby steps to rejoin the social world (which is often built around food) in a new way.

    Think about it… at the core of almost all social events is food. Why? Because it’s something to do, it sooths, it’s something to talk about, it has universal appeal, it fills time with preparation/consumption/cleaning and it’s safe. Most slim, non-food-obsessed people I know fret about going to social events too… what to wear, what food or gift to bring, etc. We weight-challenged people simply add food to the fret-equasion.
    .-= Peacefulbird´s last blog ..Surrender =-.

    • Karen

      I had not thought about food being the center of our events. You are so right. And I had also not thought that everyone finds something to obsess over. I hate debating what to bring.

  16. Genie

    I have definitely avoided events and people due to to my weight and/or lack of anything decent to wear. And, to avoid the temptation of food. And to avoid the shock I perceive that people would demonstrate (inwardly) over my fatness.

    Makes me sad, too, ’cause all of that is kinda crazy…..

    • Karen

      And we should tell ourselves that someone thinks enough about us to invite us and they don’t care what we weigh or wear or eat!

  17. I used to do this.

    And then I stopped.

    I realized life is way too short. I’m young and I already have enough regrets because of my weight – places I didn’t go, things I avoided, times all I thought about was my weight. It’s way too sad of a way to live life. So I force myself to never say no and to focus on the people and events rather than the food and “feeling fat.”

  18. So much TRUTH here! Even though I did a lot when I was heavier, I missed a lot, too. So sad.

    Last year when I went for my very first ride on a jet ski, a couple passed me riding tandem. Both were obese, and both were laughing and squealing at the top of their lungs. THEY didn’t wait until they were an “acceptable” size to get out and race across the waves. It was a lesson for me in not letting irrational fear get in the way of enjoying myself.

    And of course, I could share how I went to Chicago for a week and only ate yogurt, turkey sandwiches and salads, because I was too hung up going “off-plan.” Some of the best restaurants in the world, and I’m out hunting deli food. *sad sigh*

    Awesome post, Karen!
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Out of Gas =-.

    • Karen

      Those are very good points Cammy. The notion that we should enjoy ourselves regardless of it all. And the whole food/vacation dilemma. In the past my trips have always included scouting out great restaurants. I need to find the balance there, I think.

  19. Oh definitely! I did that so many times I think I really could write a book on all the things I avoided. It still makes me feel sad sometimes.
    .-= Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog ..Vacation Success =-.

  20. Oh yes I can relate. Take this weekend. My MIL’s Birthday was Thursday. My husband wanted to take her to this Diner in San Diego that was featured on that Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show she loves.

    All I could think of was “omg we are going to eat at a DINER? Do you know how crappy their food is?! I bet even the water has calories! How sad is it part of me cheered when she said she’s too sick to go out this weekend?
    .-= beerab´s last blog ..I’m BACK! =-.

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