Today, at a business lunch (which sounds much fancier than it was – we were five ladies at a pub!) I ordered a side of greens with my sandwich, instead of fries. Everyone looked at me with a combination of guilt and bewilderment. Now, look, I can’t tell what people are actually thinking, but given that people remarked on it right after as something strange, but also good, I think they were kind of thinking I’m a little odd. Also, I will say, I am (*gasp!*) about five pounds over what I consider to be my “ideal” weight. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that I have been gaining some muscle from a new strength training routine I’ve been doing for the past couple months, but I also know that I’ve been eating more than usual the last couple months as well. I’m doing better! I’ve largely stopped eating out at sit-down restaurants and, when I don’t take my lunch to work, I try to get salads so at least I’m not cramming burritos in my gaping maw. I also have, largely, quit drinking beer. I have had 2 beers since Labor Day, 2! And 1 mixed drink. I’m big on the grain, but the grape has been treating me quite well, so I’m sticking to it for now. BUT, I will say that until today I had been doing somewhat badly on the “quantity” end of the spectrum. Frankly, I got into an odd pattern where I was eating too much. That is my curse, I love food, and so want to eat a lot of it, even if it’s good stuff like veg. and lowfat yogurt and beans.
This brings me back around to the side o’ greens today. I had a salad for lunch yesterday, and some stir fry for dinner, so I’m beginning to be back on the right track. I didn’t want to derail with fatty ol’ french fries (especially because I’d fallen victim to that weakness on Tuesday), and, frankly, I actually really like salad a whole lot. This is why I’m kind of puzzled by why everyone got so weirded out by me ordering some. Yes, french fries are good and, yes, I LOVE them way too much, but so is spinach, and so do I love spinach. And broccoli, carrots, celery, beans, onion, water chestnuts, and all the other good yummy vegetables. Just keep your cauliflower and squashes away from me… Maybe they just felt guilty over the choice they made in that moment, and turned it back around on me, but I still sincerely don’t understand why people still thinking choosing a vegetable over anything else is a strange choice to make.
I was a heavy kid because I hated vegetables and loved carbs, and no one tried to restrict me eating the latter or force me to eat the former. When I got to college my palate exploded, and suddenly I was eating everything, including greens, beans, and other fun stuff that grows from the soil. What I learned in the dining halls was this: I LOVED FOOD. Not ALL of it (aforementioned squashes, cauliflower, mushrooms, and some greens – I can’t get into collards, man), but suddenly a TON of things were on the table that weren’t before. Brussels sprouts. Canellini beans. Tomatoes. Red cabbage. Arugula. Kale. I suddenly felt like I could eat whatever I wanted and not feel that terrible about my body and my food choices, since I was choosing vegetables fairly regularly. Also, I had a MUCH better metabolism back then, so there was a lot more Chinese food and pizza floating around than there is now. Since then, it has almost never been that I’m eating too many bad things (except for when I was dating my ex, who often refused to touch a vegetable in my presence, but claimed to shove them in his face when he was at home), but that I’m eating too much to begin with.
Anyway, after my week plus a few days of falling off the good eating wagon a bit, I was feeling guilty about my choices. When I do that, my strategy is to a) go over what I’ve been eating for the past few days, to see if my choices really have been all that bad, and b) do differently going forward. I’m not going to tell you I’m going to not eat pizza this weekend, because that opportunity might arise, and I try not to look a gift pizza in the crust (too much?). But, I am going to make some bean burgers with arugula tomorrow, eat some whole wheat toast for breakfast, and go to the gym. So, now, really, I don’t feel as bad, knowing that I can change the amount of stuff I’m putting in my body at any time (within reason, obviously), and that what I have been putting in there thus far won’t kill me. I’ve been struggling with weight gain and food issues since I was a kid but being able to think in these ways, and not just get emotional when I think about the two cinnamon buns I ate Tuesday night (my dear friend made them for my D & D group! And it was amazing! And I felt a little terrible!), feels like some progress. But, I’m still going to do an hour of cardio at the gym tomorrow.