|Photo courtesy Mike McCormick, licensed CC-BY-NC-SA|
This past weekend we took some friends out to a Mexican restaurant, as mentioned in a previous post. This morning I weighed less than I have weighed in literally years. Inconceivable!
Not quite. In the past I would have eaten a meal much like the one pictured here, with lots of fried food, cheese, sauces, and huge portions. Even looking at the picture makes me salivate.
This weekend, however, I ordered a small fried appetizer (of which I only ate two of six pieces), and I had the fish as my main course. I was not overful, and I stayed on my plan. I also religiously tracked my food consumption and planned my meal before going to the restaurant, so that I would know what I could eat before stepping in the door. Would I have preferred to eat the cheese-smothered fried stuff? Yes. Did I? No.
And this is not the only time that I have eaten out since embarking on this journey. A couple of months ago we went to that barbeque restaurant, and last month we went to North 44, a gourmet restaurant in midtown. A couple of weeks ago we went to an Italian restaurant, and last weekend was Mexican. And if we're not eating out, the Nerd and I are entertaining - - a couple of weeks ago we had a friend over for lamb chops.
The thing that struck me last night is that I don't feel deprived. I am not changing my habits, in that I am still going out for dinner and still having friends over. What is different is how I look at food. I plan my day's food consumption before going out for dinner, so that I know how to balance the intake for the day against my plan. I enjoy delicious food that I love - - but I enjoy it in sensible portions.
Truffle risotto is delicious, but I can only have 1/2 cup instead of the 1.5 cups on the plate. No problem. I still get to taste and enjoy the risotto, and I get to stick to my plan as well. It's a win-win, the best of both worlds.
I have to admit, the Italian and Mexican restaurants were both tough, mainly because of the nature of the food served, and how high many of the dishes are in carbs. But they were doable, which is important. Because if I start feeling deprived, then my food plan begins to feel like a diet rather than a lifestyle change, and that is simply not sustainable in the long term.
I like being able to budget for delicious food, and I really like having the discipline to stop eating at a serving. It is still a tough thing, sometimes, and I still get the desire to eat my way through the fridge, but luckily, I no longer keep most of my trigger foods in the house. That's important, because it's when I'm weak that I'm most likely to stray off plan. And given my past habits, I would be likely to stray in a big way.
This is a long term plan for me, and there will be some days that I am not successful in my fight to hit plan every day. But if I keep my eye on the long term goal and don't beat myself up too badly for the occasional mistake, I am confident that things will work out in the end. And I like the thought that when I hit my goal weight, I can celebrate by going out to dinner.