I’d like to tell you I spent last evening exercising and eating right. I’d like to, but I can’t. After five months and eleven days of following Optifast to the letter with absolutely no cheating, I purposely plunged off of the wagon and straight through the doors of my favorite seafood restaurant.
Deciding to eat a “regular,” uncensored meal was a choice that I didn’t take lightly and one that my dietician didn’t discourage during our last meeting. After all, vacations aren’t weekly occurrences. I just wasn’t completely sure that it was something that I wanted to do. Would indulging, and possibly overindulging make me feel like I’d failed? Would eating at a restaurant be the gateway meal leading to old habits that I’ve tried so hard to break?
I ordered a good glass of wine and my husband ordered a beer. The waiter brought our salads with homemade ranch dressing on the side, and a basket of the restaurant’s special hushpuppies. I slowly sipped my wine and carefully dipped the tines of my salad fork into the dressing before I gently stabbed my romaine. The hushpuppies were crispy and sweet and by the time my entrée arrived, I was noticing the first signs of fullness. My plate was adorned with a lemon wedge with its edge dipped in herbs nestled by a well-portioned, broiled crab cake, six perfectly broiled scallops and a serving of steamed, baby string beans. It felt amazing to have no restrictions. I’m sadden to say that it felt normal, sipping wine, chatting with my husband and actually eating the foods whose aromas had tempted me for so many months. As we finished with a homemade brownie and cup of coffee for dessert, I realized that though it was delicious, it wasn’t the food, I’d missed. It was my husband’s blue eyes across the table and the way our feet touch underneath of it. It was the ready laughter to his silly jokes and the friendliness of our waiter. It was the relaxation that comes with taking a break from something that requires constant thought, monitoring, effort, and willpower.
Reflecting on my experience today, as I sip a delicious strawberry Optifast shake (and they honestly are delicious) mixed with my 1/2 cup fruit serving of blueberries, I’m glad I indulged. One unrestricted meal won’t cause me to gain the weight I’ve lost back. I was certainly satisfied by eating the foods that I craved, but I also realized that the main thing I was seeking was for my meal time to be more relaxed and natural. That’s something that I think will only come through fully accepting that I have to eat differently than I used to if I want to be healthy. I have to embrace the fact that this change in eating isn’t a break from reality–it IS my new reality. The good news is that it’s doable and manageable. Today I feel focused, back on track, and ready to return to my “new” old way of eating.
If you’ve made a dietary change, how long did it take you to adjust to a new way of eating? Do you still crave some of the unhealthy foods you once ate? Do you “cheat” every once in a while, or have you lost your desire to?
Most importantly, are you all disappointed in me for veering away from my plan for one evening? 🙂