Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dinner at the Buffet

Last night, I had a success. Two of my kids and I ate at a buffet restaurant (you know the type: a salad bar, a bunch of fried chicken, fried clams, fried okra, french fries, macaroni, and a million desserts). I normally avoid buffets, but we were some distance from home and I knew if I drove home from our appointment without eating, my daughter would fall asleep and then end up in bed without supper. Given the choices of Arby's McDonald's, Burger King, and the buffet, I chose the buffet. I was hungry for vegetables anyway, but not feeling up to the prep. You see, I have been coming down with a cold for a couple of days. A bit of headache and unwellness coupled with a sore throat. Anyway, a little background on the buffet.

When I was morbidly obese, one of my favorite places to eat was the buffet. When we went there, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. All of my favorite, artery-clogging choices spread out for the taking, just a short waddle away from my table! I always started with a "salad": iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, tons of grated cheese, bacon bits, and several ladles of fatty, hellishly heavenly blue cheese dressing. I would eat two plates of this "salad" and have a large dinner roll slathered with butter with each plate of "salad." After my "healthy starter" I would hobble up to the hot food bar for my main dish: usually, a large spoonful of every single item that looked remotely yummy (except, of course, for the vegetables...eww!) My first plate would hold fried chicken, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, deep fried okra, macaroni and cheese, french fries, and, of course, another big white dinner roll covered in butter. My second plate... more macaroni, more bread stuffing, and some sliced roast beef with gravy. More fried okra. Oh I bet I would eat as much as 2 cups of fried okra alone. And if they had deep fried clams, I always ate a ton of those too, with tartar sauce. Usually my third plate was a little tamer, as I was getting full: a few fried tater wedges with that fake orange cheese sauce all over them and a dollop of sour cream on top, sprinkled with bacon bits. Ahhh. Wash it all down with several glasses of Coke, of course. Then it was time for dessert. That place is a binge eater's dream! I have never had access to so many cookies, cakes, and pies as I have at the buffet. And let me tell you, when I was 278 pounds, I really loved that dessert bar. I would get a piece of cake. Then some pie. Then maybe some pudding and whipped cream with oreos in it. I always pretended I was getting the extra cakes and pies for my younger kids. I would put it in front of them and then when they didn't eat it, I would. Then I would send my older kids up to bring back cookies... and eat 4 or 5 of them myself. Of course I always had to finish off with my favorite: ice cream with hot fudge. After all that, I was painfully crammed with food, but never too crammed for one more chocolate chip cookie before I left.

Sometimes I really think I was trying to hurt myself. What kind of normal person eats like that??

I have seen morbidly obese people eating like that at the buffet. I always hurt for them. I was pretty oblivious when I was eating like that. I didn't care what anyone thought. I was just in heaven, me and my food. It was the best part of my life.

Now things are different. I like the buffet, NOT for the volume of food it offers, but for the fact that I can get a huge variety of veggies and protein and not have to prep any of it myself! Yesterday I ate healthy all day. For dinner at the buffet, I had:

A large salad, comprised of field greens, baby spinach, lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, tons of broccoli and cauliflower, green peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, red onions, black olives, cucumbers, sliced egg whites, and a few (like 4) croutons. I topped this pile of vegetable goodness with some reduced fat ranch dressing, and about a tablespoon of blue cheese dressing for flavor. I allowed myself one dinner roll, no butter. I sat and ate my salad S-L-O-W-L-Y, savoring every bite... especially the bites with roll! One of my very favorite foods in the world is salad with a roll. Something about the combination of cool, crisp veggies and soft, warm bread, mmmm. It was great. I sipped my unsweetened iced tea between bites.

Entree: a baked chicken thigh, a piece of baked fish about 1" square, about 2 ounces of baked ham, a spoonful of steamed spinach (cooked without sauce or anything), a scoop of cooked carrots, two spoonfuls of plain cooked green beans, and about one tablespoon of bread dressing.

And yes, I had dessert. This is my major victory. I have never, EVER eaten such a small dessert from this place, ever. I walked up and down the huge dessert buffet. I talked to myself: "No, I know that fluffy pie stuff is not very flavorful, it's kind of waxy. No, I don't really like their cakes, they taste like boxed cake. No, I can make better crisps and cobblers at home than they can. No, I better avoid the chocolate chip cookies since they are such a huge trigger for me. What do I REALLY like? Ice cream!" I got one of those tiny dishes, cut a 1" piece of brownie and put it in the dish. Then I added about 1/2 cup of soft serve vanilla/chocolate swirl ice cream, and topped it with a half squirt of hot fudge. I sprinkled on a few crumbs of chocolate crunch topping. I took it back to my seat and enjoyed every taste. I took a long time to eat that treat, and it was better than all the piles of dessert I have ever eaten at that place. When I finished my meal, I was completely satisfied, comfortably filled, and not stuffed or feeling sick.

I am really proud of myself for being able to do this. I feel wonderful!

Yesterday I biked for 30 minutes and strength trained as well. My calorie total was right around 2000 calories for the day. I am keeping up with my Monthly Calorie Budget and things are looking good! I am down to 231 pounds, which is 3 pounds down from the 1st of the month.

Today I have a headache, sore throat and general aches and tiredness. I am taking care of myself with hot teas and soups and vitamins. On the bright side, my two sick kids seem to be recovering.

Have a great day. Let's get the weight off for good.

32 comments:

ChristinaJane said...

wow. this was a great account of a meal full of successful choices. there were a couple great ideas here that I hadn't thought of. thanks!

Honi said...

this is what success is.. look at that thats so awesome.. I am like you my favorite dessert is icecream and its driving me nuts that Ben and Jerrys is giving away free scoops today lucky for me .. I am not going to drive that far.. I told myself that tommorow after Pt and exercising I can get some fatfree frozen yogurt at the club.. for my treat..and that seemed to make me happy lol.. but again congrats to you for your buffet success!

Notyourchelle said...

That is wonderful! I had the same kinds of behavior at buffets myself, and not terribly long ago, so it was quite heartening to see your good choices. Congratulations!

RACHEL! said...

Man, you do a wonderful job of describing the food - both the bad stuff and the good stuff! Congratulations on your buffet success. I haven't been to a buffet since I started watching what I eat - a hard test to pass, I bet. I admire yoU!

Dinah Soar said...

Way to go Lyn!

I love buffets for the reasons you mentioned..tons of veggies, lots of healthy salad stuff and no prep.

I always go for the baked chicken and the plain veg plus a plate of salad...and I let myself have one roll with some of the honey spread. Then for dessert I usually just choose one thing. It's almost without fail one chocolate chip cookie and a little soft serve ice cream. All the bad food does not tempt me for some reason and you can't find the veg variety at fast food establishments.

For eating out I always feel the buffet offers the best choices.

Christine said...

Wow, awesome!!! I hate going to buffets because of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and dinner rolls. You did so well!!

Misty said...

Congrats on the buffet victory!

I think you're erring a bit on the side of fat hatred with your descriptions of your 'before' times. The table being a 'short waddle away' and 'hobbling' between the stations. I think such language encourages making fun of fat people.

Lyn said...

Misty~

I do understand your point about the language. But for me, it is a valid, essential description of MY life as a morbidly obese person. I literally hobbled. I did waddle. It's not that I hate ANYONE who is obese (including myself, as I am still saddled with quite a bit of excess weight). It is that for me, THAT is my best description of my reality at the time. I don't hate who I was... and the words are not meant to convey any comtempt towards my fatness or situation. It's just... I hobbled.

I hope that clarifies a bit. I do not believe in any kind of hate, rudeness, name-calling or hurtful teasing directed at any person (including ourselves)!

petunia said...

WOW -- total buffet makeover!

I used to eat like that too, it's nice to make a change and get in touch with being hungry / full.

Great job!

Ceres said...

Yay for the buffet victory! Hope you feel better soon!

Miranda said...

I swear, I could have written that same experience word-for-word! I know when I was eating like that, my joints hurt a lot more, which made movement difficult. Seems like it may have been caused by all the sugar I was eating or something, because my joints started feeling much better before I lost any weight.

Anyway....grats on the successful experience. You're an inspiration! Hope you feel better soon =)

E said...

Great job, congratulations!
The buffet is the ultimate test!

Roder said...

Well done Lyn.

Kimberly said...

Congratulations. Those sort of victories add up in the long run to building lasting, permanent changes in your diet.

~TMcGee~ said...

I can only speak for myself (someone who is fat) but hobbling is a big part of my life. It's due to plantar fasciitis. I have learned over the last 7 years to not take everything as a criticism towards the "fat" me.

Good job on conquering what sounds like a former demon. I'm not personally a fan of buffets but it's only because of the germ phobias I have. lol

Lauren said...

Hi Lyn. Sounds like it was a great experience for you. Congratulations. I love reading your posts, you are so well written, but sometimes I wish you would be nicer to your formerly fat self. Describing yourself as waddling (while it may very well be accurate) just seems sad.

Heather said...

you did great!!

debbyweighsin said...

What a great victory at the buffet! I still don't have that kind of control when I go to a buffet. So I don't go anymore if I can help it.

bbubblyb said...

Lyn, hope you get to feeling better soon. Way to go on getting through the buffet.

Skinny Inside said...

Awesome! You're really doing great! Keep it up:-)

Diana said...

Wow, major NSV (non-scale victory)! You went to a buffet and ate totally healthy. I'm very impressed!

MizFit said...

such a great success...buffets are hard for me as if I love a food I LOVE A FOOOOD & watching everyone else go back and back and back is like, well, a magnet to me as well :)


see you soon!

Miz.

Jayme said...

I can totally relate to being overstuffed at a buffet,, to the point of feeling sick afterwards and ready for bed from the overeating!!!

You did great!! Excellent accomplishment:) keep it up:)

Tina said...

That is such a huge victory in so many ways. Now you know you don't have to fear the buffet and that you can still enjoy it, just in a different way. Congratulations. You're doing great!!

Hide those cookies said...

Awesome job! I've had a lot of similar buffet experiences with multiple desserts and fried items. It's amazing that before I became more conscious, I didn't even notice that there were vegetables at the buffet. Good for you!

Sheri said...

WTG! I personally avoid buffets. It doesn't seem to matter for me, because multiple food combinations just aren't kind. My stomach bloats to the nine months mark and is as hard as it would be if there was a child in there.

Juice said...

Lyn, Great job! Very inspiring - buffets are on my no-go list because I lose control!

Angie said...

Good for you! I dread the buffets! Hopefully soon I'll be comforable going knowing I could make ok choices.

Karyn said...

I'm so happy for you Lyn! Isn't it wonderful to realize that YOU are in control?

There'll be no stopping you now!

Anonymous said...

I am small now(5'4 and 112 lbs) and I still have binges occasionally and I can also put away that much food.especially sugar-I have recently eaten 6 cc cookies,5 mini candy bars,a pear,bowl cereal,bowl chili,cornbread,cherry bagel with pb-all in one evening.It is possible and I that is why I keep coming back to your blog-you understand.

Lucie-Blue Two said...

Wow, you are so inspiring!

Thanks x

Kathy said...

Congratulations on your buffet success! I too use that dessert strategy - pick one thing I really want, serve it in moderation, and enjoy every bite slowly.