Muy Bueno Eating

Last week was my husband’s birthday.  He chose to go to dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant.  I chose to eat well:)

Usually, Mexican food means lots of chips and a very fattening, overstuffed, cheese topped entree.  Yumalicious.  But not this time.  No chips for me.  Not one.  For my entree I chose fajitas and ate them with only one specially requested low-carb wheat tortilla.  Hubby got my old favorite:  a chubby burrito.  It lives up to its name, as would I if I kept eating them like I had in the past.

After dinner we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory to pick up some decadent dessert.  (Hubby chose that over me baking something that would be around to tempt us for days.)  He chose some amazing looking layered chocolate cake with mousse.  I chose to get nothing.  He told me, “You know I’m not sharing with you, right?”  I replied, “Yes.”  And was glad that he was being unusually selfish as the birthday boy.  (Typically he is an awesome dessert sharer.)  Our teen, who has no food issues and only eats when he is hungry, was full from a double order of fajitas and got no dessert either.  Oh the things we can learn from our kids!

A few days later I went out to lunch with some friends.  I chose the same thing I choose every time I go to this particular little “ladies that lunch” spot:  curry mango walnut raisin chicken salad.  It’s served on a bed of greens and I got the vinaigrette on the side but ended up not using any.  And I literally did not even touch the freshly baked breadstick that came with it.  Ah, social eating success!

And a few days after that we went out to dinner with friends.  This is a couple who we have been going out with about once a month for many years.  We love to try new restaurants.  We love to indulge from start to finish.  And I’m the only one in the group who is sometimes watching what I eat while I am watching what THEY eat!  So I decided that I was going to enjoy the meal but do it with moderation.  (Yes, the dreaded “M” word.  I was facing it with unusual optimism.)  I had a small portion of both appetizers that we ordered for the table.  I chose a sensible entree, a stuffed chicken dish with lentils and carrots.  And I had my husband’s asparagus since he is not a fan.  Instead of ordering my own dessert, which everyone else did, I had a couple of small tastes of two of the others.  I did it all feeling relatively no guilt.  And then there are the things I did NOT eat.  Or drink.  No martini for me (but I did taste the berry-tini that someone else ordered) and not one nibble of fresh, hot, crusty bread.  And, on the way out the door at the end of the meal I did not slip my hand into the bowl of Andes Mints sitting on the hostess stand.

So I’m going to summarize like this…

In one week I had three social eating engagements at three different restaurants.  I handled each differently, depending on the situation.  At the end of it all. the best thing, and this is a biggie for me, is that I feel like I ate normally.  Not normal for me, necessarily, but like a normal person.  A person who can go out to eat now and then and enjoy herself without overdoing things or feeling particularly deprived.  A person who can handle moderation.  A person who doesn’t pre-cheat or post-cheat or let social eating start a week-long binge of off plan overeating.  I can’t think of the words to describe how I feel about this as I sit here typing, the morning after, filled with no regret but instead, a sense of calm.  Normal?  Well, I’m not sure I’d go that far yet.  I mean, really, does a normal eater find something to write about in the fact that she handled social eating?  Me thinks not.  But I’m inching my way closer:)  One mouthful at a time.




Filed under restaurant/social eating

52 responses to “Muy Bueno Eating

  1. Miz

    you KNOW im cheering this post, too.
    it is all a choice here and that’s what makes me “ok” with everything in my world. Even when the choice is, say, junk food at a movie (or whatever :)) as long as it isnt mindless—IM GOOD WITH IT.

    This line:

    I handled each differently, depending on the situation.

    completely agree with as well. from meal to vacation it all depends on the situation.

    • Karen

      It was a bit of an internal debate before the last dinner. The others were easy. And I heard some blogger voices in my head that would have told me not go off plan at all. But I went with what felt right and it still does, days later:) I can picture living life:)

  2. Glad you’re feeling so positive!

  3. Lee

    Good for you enjoying your dinners out!! I’ve been making different choices at restaurants, too. And like you said-it is eating normal, just not what was my normal (and the normal that got me into the over weight situation I’m now facing!). And I notice when eating out–there are new ways to present the food that I can bring to my home meals. We went to the 99 Restaurant this past weekend and I had a 6 oz. steak with blue cheese crumbled on top. My it was so delicious. It was served with a grilled tomatoe and broccoli. Yummy. I’ve decided that eating out will not bring me down.

    • Karen

      Me too! Because I can’t go the rest of my life with only eating at home. Well… maybe I could, but you know what I mean:)

  4. Congrats! This is a BIG step for you, times three! I’m glad you are feeling so positive! 🙂

  5. Excellent work, as Miz said, if you’re thinking about every choice, then every choice is the right one for you!

  6. I love this post (as I love all your posts)because you tell us about a week in the life of Karen. These are all super accomplishments you feel good about and one week can easily lead to two, then three, etc. Hard work does eventually lead to success and I think this has been one for you!

    • Karen

      I think there really is something to momentum with this, Sharon. Maybe with lots of things in life, if I think about it. And right now my momentum is building in the right direction.

  7. LOVE! So great to read a post like this from you Karen! Maybe you finally understand how it works for you! OR. it just took time to get there.. and yes, it is all about choices & keeping honest with yourself! Yahoo!!!

  8. WooHoo way to go you did awesome as for me this has been another bad week but though the eating has been less then perfect i still exercised and didn’t throw the towel in completely. keep up the great work and keep inspiring me you’re awesome

    • Karen

      Kudos on the exercise! Someone wrote an interesting post once on how she was doing great with one or the other, eating or exercise, but not both. Time to bring it all together:) We can do this.

  9. I covet your travel in the land of normal and am hopeful that I will soon be able to make my own visit there. Does one need a passport?


    • Karen

      Funny thing is I have yet to figure out what one needs to visit there and no idea what it takes to LIVE there! Maybe some parts desire and some parts will and some parts of something else. But I am reaching out my hand and pulling you to join me, Deb.

  10. sunnydaze

    Yes! Sounds like you are in the groove – and what a great feeling that is!

  11. Congratulations. Those are huge successes!

    My nephews are like your son. They won’t eat, in fact, couldn’t be force fed if they weren’t hungry. Eating without huger is as foreign to them as passing up a decadent dessert is to me. They also have no problem leaving food on the plate when they’re full! Of course, they have no weight problems at all.

  12. I still need to work on social eating! Great job with yours. Social eating is unavoidable and it’s so important to be comfortable with it!

    Have a wonderful week and thank you for the post!

    • Karen

      I’ve struggled with it a lot in the past couple of years. And often really dreaded and resented it. I knew this was a steep hill for me to climb but finally feel like I might be making progress.

  13. Give yourself a pat on the back. I can just picture the smile on your face as you wrote this and the pride that you felt in making great choices!

  14. Yay for you. That is a huge accomplishment as far as I am concerned.

  15. I think it’s incredibly exciting that you handled each situation differently based on the particulars of each situation. This really is wonderful.

    And you always leave me hearing show tunes in my head. This time, it’s Elaine Stritch singing… “here’s to the ladies who lunch…”

  16. Jan

    Amazing successes!!!! All those delightful carbs and sweets and you ate none or in moderation and don’t sound as if you felt deprived at all. That is a huge step! BRAVA!

  17. Well done! I had a pretty dismal Friday and Sat. but am back on track. Your excellent experience here gives me hope for moi-self!

  18. Biz

    I loved reading this post – hooray for feeling normal!

    You know, my husband and I were talking about our childhoods recently – we both came from families who didn’t splurge on soda, cookies, sugared cereals, etc. And when we did have access to that stuff, we gorged ourselves silly, not knowing when we would get that stuff again.

    Our kids had access to anything, and you know what? They eat in moderation because they do have access to it. Cookies can be in the pantry for a couple weeks, no problem!

    Love all your success!

    • Karen

      It is interesting to think back. My house did have all that stuff but it was very much eaten in moderation. Everyone was thin. I do remember my mom dieting now and then but can’t ever picture her very heavy. But, I learned to like that stuff and have it as part of my life and then when my metabolism changed – yikes!

  19. I do the same but weekends are really hard for me. I did great over the past week with what I’m calling “mindful eating” and seem to have gotten right back on the horse today. I guess it is just so much easier to structure at work. Once I have a glass of wine on the weekends it is hard for me to only eat when I’m hungry. I had to laugh when I saw “Our teen, who has no food issues and only eats when he is hungry”. I just did several posts about this very thing.

    • Karen

      Weekends are harder for me too which is odd since I don’t work! Something about those days is less structured or stretches longer. I’m lucky that I’m not a big drinker. By that I mean I don’t even really like the taste much. But I can still remember a fruity concoction that was delectable!

  20. Roz

    WAY TO GO KAREN!!!! (that warranted ALL capital letters!)
    Have a great day.

  21. Lisa T

    Huge Congratulations! It is so nice to read about you having such success with your choices and feeling good about it.

  22. How cool is this? I found this post to be so inspirational, positive and forward moving!

    Can you hear me clapping for you!!!

    I am jumping up and down with excitement, doing the happy dance and smiling from ear to ear!

    You said, “the morning after, filled with no regret but instead, a sense of calm.” You know I love this!

    • Karen

      Ah but there was that little inner Tami voice telling me the same thing she always tells me – I won’t regret not eating something. That still resonates over and over with me.

  23. That is so great! I KNOW how hard it is to eat well for a diet in social situations. I usually only go out to eat one meal/week and will get what I really want and just pay attention to my hunger and the portion. This week, though, I have three social engagements and plans for a lunch next week mid week. Definitely going to have to have a moderation plan of attack.

    • Karen

      I think that once upon a time we ate out more, as a family primarily. Over the years I got cheap and it was easier to eat healthy at home. So now my husband goes out with his brother every so often and I am happy to eat something on my own in front of a chick TV show:)

  24. You did an AWESOME job!!! I’m proud of you! I definitely couldn’t have done that well! Keep up the good work!

  25. That is fantastic, Karen! The ability to achieve the same results multiple times with multiple temptations (The Cheesecake Factory??) is really impressive.

  26. Got to celebrate those small nutritional milestones!

  27. Karen, I am SO proud of you!!! Whoo! hooo! Great choices will have great results!
    Have a pretty day!

  28. Great job resisting bread and tortilla chips- those are definitely two tough ones! 🙂

  29. Congratulations! Eating socially is probably one of the biggest hurdles and reworking one’s relationship with food.

    Hold on to that feeling of calm and pull it out when you find you are struggling.

  30. Anna

    I’m so proud of you! I too struggle still with what is “normal” eating. In some ways I think I still do and may always have a skewed perception about what is normal its relationship to food…

  31. No doubt that felt good. You must be so proud of yourself. Social eating has always been challenging for me. Well…since I started losing weight. Not so much before. LOL

  32. Discipline during mexican and the cheesecake factory?!! That’s awesome! I couldn’t have done that.

  33. You did awesome, Karen! This is where I trip every single time. It’s what happened last weekend…I am doing amazing then we eat out and I have this mindset that I deserve to eat more than I should. Ugh.

    I will think of this post the next time I eat out!!!!

  34. Congratulations! Way to handle some serious challenges. 🙂

  35. I’m a horrible social eater. Just yesterday, there was an unexpected trip to a mexican place for lunch because all us teachers didn’t get a chance to eat since school was closing early. By 1pm, we were ravenous and inhaled as many chips and burritos as possible.

    I’m bookmarking this post and keeping it close to me. I so need this one.

  36. Karen

    I read about another blogger who would order coffee when she sat down at the table so she could drink that instead of chips. I’m not much of a coffee drinker so didn’t try it myself. Maybe gum chewing would work too:) LOVE the fresh chips.

  37. Cheesecake Factory, ugh that place sucks. I keep telling myself so I stop going there. Sucks sucks sucks; right?

    When we come away and can say we acted like ‘a normal person’, I believe we should feel good about ourselves. Certainly the way I acted on the way to obesity was not normal. I am good with being a normal person, well; lets say a normal person with a touch of not so normal attitude 🙂

  38. That’s fantastic that you did so well. I love how you put that your husband chose a Mexican restaurant and you chose to eat well. Because really, it’s about the choices we make, isn’t it? Great job.

  39. I loved reading of your social eating successes. You go girl!

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