Bookin' It

Last week I went to my book club.  Cue ominous music.

Book club for my group is never about the book.  It is about catching up.  And it is about the food.  (The reminder email said, “Come hungry.”)  I suppose, in theory, the food is just a supporting character and not the star.  Maybe that holds true for the others in my group who I suspect are all “normal” eaters.  But for me, the food is never just there, but front and center on my brain.

In the past, I have attended book club when I have been eating well and I have attended when I was not eating so well.  Rather what one might expect from a yo-yo dieter.  I have gone and eaten little or nothing; I have gone and eaten only the healthiest of options if the hostess was kind enough to serve any; I have gone and overeaten or eaten things I later regretted.  And maybe worse, in my opinion, is that often I have fallen prey to my pre-cheating mentality and started my off-track eating in the day or days leading up to book club.  Either in anticipation of going off plan or in the grips of emotional eating as I was resentful about the coming food challenge.

But not this time!  This time, I’m proud to report, I was, dare I say it, almost “normal” in how I handled the whole thing.

No pre-cheating.  No resentment.  No post-cheating.  And while I was there I ate the healthiest of the offerings and did not indulge in the foods that did not fit with my current eating goals.

Now, I will share that while my eating was almost normal, my thinking was not.  I sat there with a plate of mini cupcakes in front of me (because the oh-so-Martha-Stewart-like hostess placed several plates on the coffee table to make it easy for everyone to reach out and grab a beautifully decorated morsel) and I thought about them.  I thought about how I really didn’t want one (but I did really want one).  I thought about how everyone else ate them.  I thought about what they would taste like.  I thought about the chocolate candies also sitting in arm’s reach.  I thought about how I should, in theory, be able to indulge, just a bit, now and then.  And how if I had not gotten my eating and thinking so screwed up I could eat one of those little treats.  I thought about how I knew that I would feel regret if I indulged.  I thought a lot.

And on the drive home, with a piece of bubble gum to satisfy my frustrated chompers, I thought about how glad I was that I didn’t eat even one cupcake or piece of chocolate or other off plan food.  Did I feel regret?  Not with my eating:)  Only with my thinking.  That I had sat there with that inner dialogue and debate.  But it was progress.

And for the readers out there, the book we read was “Sarah’s Key.”  (Thumbs up.)  And we didn’t talk about it at all since half the attendees hadn’t even started it!  (Thumbs down.)  Let me know if you have any great reads you’d recommend.



Filed under restaurant/social eating

44 responses to “Bookin' It

  1. Miz

    I adore your honesty as THIS is exactly how I went from what I was doing to the slow and bumpy road to mindful eating.
    I adore how you were willing to share that your eating was normal and yet your thinking was not

    Its a process. and not one which POOF!! happens over night.


    Carla, who could write a list as long as your ARM of books shes read recently and loved 🙂

    • Karen

      You always make me smile:) I guess I am nothing if not honest. And I am sure that some would have viewed my not eating cupcakes as a resounding success. I would have viewed my not fixating on them as success. So, I’ll go with calling it progress.

  2. The three books by Stieg Larsson are great – Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played with Fire, and the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Couldn’t put them down. Last Child was also good.

    Isn’t it maddening that food can’t just be food for us? I have searched my innards many times trying to understand the emotions that are tied to food for me. Glad you were successful and stayed in charge.

    • Karen

      I have read those too. Never heard of “Last Child” so will check it out. Thanks, Myra. And yes, it is maddening. And I suspect some people would have no idea what we are talking about!

  3. wow i’m so proud of you for not giving in to temptation that was awesome you jumped another hurdle of weight loss

  4. Many moons ago, I recall one of the first Waisting Time posts I stumbled upon was one you’d written about the challenges of food at your book club. Can’t remember if it had been a “good” week or a “not-so-good” week, but I just remember that I identified and knew you were someone I wanted to know. Sounds to me like you’ve come a long way, baby!! I loved your remark about the “normal” people going to review/discuss a book while you (and me) are much more interested in the food that will be served. No matter how far we come, I don’t think these types of situations will ever be EASY, but I think we can (and are!!) progressing towards making them manageable. Good job!

    • Karen

      Thanks for sharing that, Sharon. Yes, my book club has been an issue off and on for years as I have been a dieter off and on. Once upon a time it might not have been this way. Can’t remember back that far. Sigh. Progress:)

  5. I just finished reading George Eliot’s “Silas Marner” (kind of dark and sad). Now, I’m torn between starting “Sense and Sensibility” or Henry James’s “Portrait of a Lady.” One of the BEST books I ever read was Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose.” Also, Joyce Carol Oates books are always good.

    • Karen

      Oh you are a serious reader! That does not surprise me, I guess. I am a “light” reader. I need action and quick character development. My mom is my usual source for books and she tends to buy the bestsellers as they come out.

  6. Karen, having read your past book club posts, I am so proud of you! You go girl! So, yes, inner dialog, but we all have it. I still have it sometimes but I always feel better doing what is right for me & then I know I can have my treat cookies on the weekend. If I eat stuff at a party like this that is really not a 10 in my mind for what I would prefer to splurge on, then I just get mad at myself plus I them forgo my cookies I really want.

    This is progress!!!! Congrats Karen!

    • Karen

      Since you mentioned the 10 I will share that I did actually ask her about the cupcakes, what kind they were. She is really a Martha Stewart type and cooks fabulously. The cupcakes, while beautifully decorated, came from a box. That made it easier to resist.

  7. Wow! I had a similar battle of the mind this weekend. I prevailed over the pre-cheating. I think mostly because you taught me that word. Somehow having a name for the action helps me identify the problem and deal with it. It still isn’t easy, but I now recognize it. Hey, it is a step in the right direction!!!

    • Karen

      Isn’t that the greatest word! I loved it when my husband came up with it months ago. It made it so easy for me to identify and explain something that kept happening over and over again.

  8. This is part of the reason I don’t actually GO to my book club meetings lol. They always have it at a restaurant and I’d rather go to just DISCUSS a book, not eat.

    Why be a part of a book club if you aren’t going to READ the book!?

    • Karen

      I’d say mine is totally a social thing. Very small number of women. We started this years ago when our kids were graduating from the same preschool and a mom said “We’ll never see each other again so let’s start a book club.” I naively asked, “What will we read?” Those kids are now graduating high school in a few months and it has clearly been about friendship and not reading.

  9. Oh btw shadow of the wind is a good read 🙂

  10. Sounds like your friends need to call a spade a spade and stop calling it a Book Club and start calling it a Friends Club or Eating Club. LOL

    You did good! Really good! The next step would be to see if you can fully get to the concept that the food laid out is pure junk. Pure, unadulterated junk/poison. Because it is. Slowly but surely eating that crap poisons/kills us. It’s a slow kill, but a kill nonetheless. THAT said, you still did awesome! 😀

    p.s. gotten a Kindle or Nook yet? 😉

    • Karen

      I think they thought they were fooling the husbands for a while into thinking we were doing some lofty literary pursuit. No one thinks that anymore:)

      Nope. My mom is my book supplier and she buys and passes on hardcovers. As long as she does that I’ll read them. If she goes ereader I will have to follow. My son bought himself a Kindle with his earnings this summer and loves it.

  11. Congratulations on a successful food negotiation at book club! Sounds like my book club – definitely food centered, chatting and gossip. I loved Sarah’s Key. Did you read March, by Geraldine Brooks? Good book group book about the Little Women story from the father’s perspective (as he’s off at war). Also – Middlesex? Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was fantastic book group material.

    I smiled when you said that while your eating was normal your thinking wasn’t. I’ve said before that in AA they say you act your way into right thinking, not the other way around. So consider yourself on the way!

    I love talking books – am right now on the 2nd of “The Girl With…) series and can’t put it down. Hard when at work.

    • Karen

      I have not read March. Started Middlesex but couldn’t get into it. Have heard good things about Snow Flower and keep meaning to borrow that from my SIL. I love when the hostess chooses a great book that I would not have otherwise read. The one for next month does not appeal to me at all:(

      Oh, interesting concept! Okay. All about my actions for now. Do you listen to books when you exercise?

  12. Social eating is always a tricky thing. You don’t want to be rude and not eat something somsone spend time making, but you also don’t want to be forced (haha, yeah “forced” to eat a cupcake!) just because of that. I feel like I’m always in situations where people end up asking, “you’re not having any?” “are you sure you don’t want some?” etc etc. Or when someone who wants to order some sort of fatty thing, but won’t if you say you don’t want any and then I always feel guilty for being the reason they can’t order the garlic bread or something.

  13. Jan

    Kudos for staring down temptation.

  14. Awesome Karen! That is major progress and I am so proud of you!

    I have been there and done that too, thought about how unfair it is that everyone else is eating the junk food and I am the only one not! It is such a mind game.

    I have never regretted something I didn’t eat!

  15. Great job at book club Karen! I suppose after you’ve practiced doing that a few times, that you won’t have to think about it as much. I can so relate to your inner dialogue that was going on throughout your get-together! I find sometimes that the most exhausting thing is not resisting the food, but having to listen to my brain argue with itself the whole time.

  16. I can so relate to that through process. We have a monthly church home/eating fellowship and there is NEVER anything healthy to eat. The first time I passed on dessert but I spent a long time staring at the pie and thinking about how I’d passed on the dessert. The next time I ate very little (still affected me next day) and mourned the lack of healthy choices although my mouth was happy to eat processed food. So this next time I am taking a pre-mixed salad and not apologizing for NOT being a part of their food choices. I just can’t afford it!

  17. Nicole

    I hear you loud and clear Karen, I can relate to this issue. I use to belong to a bunko group and had the same dialogue in my head the whole time. I use to think what is wrong with me for thinking about the food the whole time. Geez, I wish I could get this thinking under control.

    • Karen

      Oh it has been years since I played bunko; I forgot about all that food. Our group had food first, food at each table, and a dessert break midway through!

  18. I’ve heard about that book -thanks for the recommendation!

  19. it really all is in our heads. Literally.
    I’m glad you felt good about the choices you made. That should strengthen your resolve.

  20. Aarrgh, had a whole post to this which I think I somehow deleted, but anyway, I meant to say you did a great job resisting temptation, and I am sure you were not the only one in the room struggling. It’s not as easy for many people as it looks from the outside. And thanks for visiting my blog with your well wishes!

    • Karen

      I sometimes wonder about what is doing on in other people’s heads. This is a small group and everyone else is very trim. I would suspect they have no issues with food but maybe they do. Who knows.

  21. Yes!! Progress indeed! Fantastic!

  22. I could have written this post … not as well, of course. Oh the games, dieter’s play now! Hey, we all know them. Good for not eating the cupcake and taking it out on the bubblegum instead.

  23. Oh wow. WOW! My book club has been very symbolic of my own eating journey over the years…it used to be a free-for-all…then became a guilt-ridden event and now is just…book club. Although, there are times when I find myself falling back into the free-for-all mentality. I tend to catch myself pretty quickly though.

  24. I step towards progress is a step, no matter how small or large it is.

  25. Congrats on your progress at book club! Don’t know if I would have done as well if cupcakes were right there in arm’s reach. BTW, I am really enjoying the Deliverance Dane book you recommended and know that you would love A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Thanks!

    • Karen

      Glad you like it. I am usually hesitant to recommend books because everyone has such different tastes. I’ll check that one out.

  26. I have done the same things at book club, I avoide the food table completely or nibble on the healthy choices. Also, I have made such an issue of my no-sugar rule that no one expects me to eat the dessert and I would feel awkward if I suddenly indulged!

    We do actually read the books and discuss. We have a 30 minute social time before the discussion and then linger over dessert and social time as long as we want to afterwards. Thought I had to resign from my club because of my new work schedule…

    Just finished The Imperfectionists – very good. Now reading the new Anita Shreve – Rescue.

    • Karen

      My mom has a very serious book club. She did a whole lot of research when it was her book. Our group never reads new stuff – we are too cheap to buy hardcovers. It has to be paperback or at the library:) I am off to look at those books now…

  27. i say that’s progress, good for you! one thing i’m (slowly) learning is that you can’t tell yourself to *not* think about things. otherwise, that’s ALL you’ll be doing. 😛 you’ve got to actually replace that thought with something else (now if only i could take my own advice…sigh…)

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