Friday, August 28, 2009

Fairtime Again

Yesterday, I took my youngest two kids to the county fair. Taking the kids to the fair has been an annual tradition for the past 12 years. I've written about my fair visits before, in 2007 and 2008... about how I used to go and send the kids on rides while I wandered the food area buying enough food for an entire family and then shamelessly sitting at a table by myself eating plate after plate of deep fried crap. I didn't care about the looks I got. I didn't care about the grease on my shirt. I didn't care that when I sat down at a long, metal table my weight would bounce the entire table up about an inch, disrupting everyone else who was trying to eat. All I cared about (after enjoying the art displays and the animal buildings with my children) was the FOOD.

The fair IS all about the food, isn't it? I mean, where else can you get beer-battered corn dogs the size of you arm? Or deep-fried Oreos, or Twinkies, or those sugar-coated elephant ears the size of your head? How about the sausages? The huge burgers? Homemade ice cream, snow cones, whole smoked turkey legs, and burritos that weigh 5 pounds each? And then don't forget my all-time favorite, Piggy Wiggly's stand with the battered french fries, deep fried zucchini, and huge onions rings. Oh yeah. The fair is an assault to the senses... one I welcomed every year. It was a binge eater's paradise. I could eat and eat and eat and never get tired of eating.

For the last two years I have gone to the fair and eaten reasonably. It was still about the food... somewhat... but I tried to be moderate. This year, it was completely different. It was unlike any other fair I have ever experienced. It was NOT ABOUT the food! Oh sure, I ate. I thought about what I ate. But I really didn't care too much about it.

We spent a few hours looking through the exhibits when we got there, and then we went through all the animal barns as is our tradition. My daughter had so much fun petting the chickens, goats, and bunnies! It was hot, but we had a great time in those barns! Then the kids said, "Let's go on some rides!"

In the past, I rarely, if ever, went on any rides. I am afraid of heights. Ferris wheels terrify me. Feeling out-of-control movements as my body flings left and right, up and down is NOT my idea of fun. I was always afraid I wouldn't fit when the bar went down or the seat belt would be too tight. I worried what everyone would think. I was way too fat to squeeze onto a lot of those things, anyway. So I'd buy my kids an armband, send them off to ride, and I'd spend the evening gorging on fair food.

Yesterday, I got MYSELF an armband. I went on rides with my kids. I got to see my daughter laugh and shriek with joy. My son smiled at me across the rides. He laughed when I clutched the pole in the center of the Ferris wheel seat, closed my eyes and mumbled, "its gonna be ok. It's safe. It's not gonna break. Oh my gosh. What am I doing on here? Why is this ride held together with twisty ties? What is that cracking sound? Are they going to let us down now?" (Not doing that again, but hey, I tried!) We spent the whole afternoon and into the evening going on rides, walking around the fairgrounds, enjoying exhibits. We stopped at every water booth for a drink. It was great!

In one building, there was a fruit stand. I've never seen a fruit stand at the fair before. My son, the veggie-lover, went over to investigate. "Mom!" he said "Buy me a peach! Please?" I joined him. I checked for prices. They had apples and peaches... for a DOLLAR EACH! What a rip off! A dollar for ONE peach?? Never!!

Then the light bulb went on. All these years, when my kids asked me for an elephant ear, I said yes. Didn't matter that it was five bucks, I said yes. They asked for a corn dog, and I paid $4.50 without a blink. Three bucks for a Coke. Three bucks for a scoop of ice cream. I never thought twice. It was the fair, after all. A special treat. Overpriced, but special. And here I was going to begrudge him a PEACH because it was a BUCK??

I pulled out my dollars, got him his peach (which he said was delicious) and bought myself an apple. I munched it as we walked. It was great!

After awhile we were pretty hot and tired and ready for a break. The kids asked for Snow Cones, so we headed to the booth. I asked, "do you have any sugar-free flavors." "Nope," she said. "Diabetics won't get by HERE!" So I got my kids each a grape snow cone and passed on one for myself. Instead, I had a few bites of relatively plain ice from the top of my daughter's.

In the evening, after many rides and much walking and enjoyment, it was time for dinner. I had it all planned out. I'd get the kids what they wanted, and for myself, I'd head to the Teriyaki Chicken stand. I'd gone there before and gotten a nice bowl of *just* chicken, no rice. It was really good.

I got the kids set up with their meals, and then I headed over for my chicken. It went like this:

I look at the menu board.
Chicken & Rice Bowl: $7
Chicken & Rice Wrap: $7
Chicken & Veggie Wrap: $6

Me: What kind of veggies are in the chicken & veggie wrap?
Girl at register: peppers and onions
Me: Can I get a bowl of JUST chicken, with onions and peppers? No rice? No wrap?
Girl: Sure! Just chicken and onions and peppers?
Me: Yes.
Girl: Ok! That's $6. No rice, right?
Me: Right. No rice.

She hands me my covered bowl, I pay, I go off to eat. I get to the table and open the bowl. What is this? Looks like mush, kinda like oatmeal. There's 2 tiny specks of green pepper the size of a pencil eraser on top like a mini-garnish. I stir it. I look for chicken. Maybe the onions are mushed?? I find about 4 tiny bits of chicken and eat them... maybe an ounce at best. I taste the mush... it's rice!! The entire bowl is RICE... overcooked, glistening with GREASE... not an onion or a recognizable veggie to be found. I close the bowl and go back to the stand.

Me, holding the open container: Is this rice?
Girl: Yes.
Me: I ordered chicken with onions and peppers, no rice.
Girl: It comes like that.
Me: But I said, No Rice.
Girl, shrugs: Well it comes that way, you can't just get chicken and no rice.
Me: What? It comes mushed together like this?
Girl: yep

Silence. I consider arguing, trying to get my money back. There's a line of people. The girl is oblivious and there's no adult/manager around. I decide it's not worth it. I briefly consider eating it, but instead, I walk straight to a trash can and throw it out.

I go back to the table with my kids. I'm annoyed, but I decide to just drink my unsweetened iced tea, have one bite of my child's corn dog, and get over it. Then this guy comes and sits 2 inches from my face with a HUGE plate of gigantic, hot, crispy battered onion rings. The ones I used to binge on. Maybe my favorite fair food EVER. He sat there eating them slooowly. I had a moment where I *almost* sent my son to go buy a plate of those for my dinner, but I told myself I'd wait an hour and have them later if I still wanted them. An hour later, I didn't. Well, I did, but I got over it.

I love myself too much to let some random, snotty teenager dictate my health.

After the fair, we came home and I mixed some protein powder in a bowl of yogurt, ate that, and went to bed, exhausted.

I feel great! I did NOT eat anything junky at the fair! My "mushy mindset" interjects every so often saying, "Go back, there are two more days left of the fair. You can still have those onions rings! You can still have all the yummy foods you skipped!" But hopefully that's just fantasy talking. Hopefully, I can hold out til they're gone and will be safe for one more year.

My feet are killing me today. I walked in my Sketchers but obviously I need some better shoes for when I am on my feet a long time. I have large (size 10) slightly wide (but not wide enough to need a 'wide' size anymore) feet. Anyone have a good, comfortable sneaker recommendation for walking?

I really hope if I keep putting good moments together, they'll become good days and weeks and months and years. I want the weight off. I want it more than onion rings. Let's hope it stays that way.


Ashley said...

I can't believe how amazing you are! I definitely would have given in and just eaten the stupid, greasy rice. Especially considering the price!

I just bought some Dr. Scholl's tennis shoes from Walmart, and they are fantastic! I'm a size 9 with wide feet.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You did absolutely *AMAZING* at the fair!!! I hope you gave yourself a big pat on the back!! :) Very inspiring post! Keep it up!!

wahoostampingirl said...

I love this post. Especially the part about the peach and apple. Many times when I stop my McDonalds to get myself a Diet Coke, I'll ask my kids if they want a lemonade or sprite. My daughter usually wants a bottle of water. I don't know why, but it is much harder to shell out the money for the water than for a sugary drink that is more of a treat. Just this summer, I've gotten past that kind of thinking and now I can enjoy the fact that she is making good choices for herself.

WTG on throwing away the stupid rice bowl!

Jodie said...

Great job at the fair. I couldn't do that...NOT eat something fried. You are very strong. Don't deny yourself every good thing though. That's how I've ended up binging everytime...when I deny myself over and over the one thing I really want..i end up saying "screw it" and pigging out on twice as much as I would have if I hate just given in to the desire. Great way to be strong! Keep on!

Rebecca said...

I am a New Balance shoe fan. You can find them at pricey shoe stores or Fred Meyer here in Alaska. Do you have Fred Meyer where you are? They run about $35 on sale or about $50 full price. They are great shoes (my dh used to be a shoe salesman, an honest one). They are a little wide in the toe (as walking shoes should be), and have great cushion. New Balance also makes cross trainers and running shoes. Cross trainers tend to have a wider base, running shoes are lighter, and walkers have a larger toe area.
I'm so glad you had a good day at the fair. I did too this year!

Anonymous said...

I have gotten very good service out of Reebok Walk and Nike AIR shoes. They both have lasted well and are nice and squooshy (Reebok Walk are my 'going to the mall with my teenaged daughter' shoes).

Well done on avoiding the crap foods.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing it is possible to not give in!

I just tried out MBT shoes. THEY ARE great. I am 275 pounds and it feels like I am 130 wearing these. I dont have a car and walk everywhere and they are the best.

antgirl said...

You're a warrior! Great job!

bbubblyb said...

Way to go on staying clear of the fair food. Bummer about the chicken though but glad you at least found an apple.

I love how riding the rides makes me feel so alive. The kids loving hearing me scream like a crazy person too lol.

Glad you had a good time at the fair.

Anonymous said...

Love asics....come in wide widths and have great support.

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Lyn, Glad you had such a great time at the fair. Things really are changing for you.

I can't cope when people are eating really nice stuff near me and I can't have it. I think you've dealt with it very well. You weren't going to let anyone else put you off your path.

And think of all that exercise you got walking round the fair!

Another Happy Day!

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

Tony said...

I'm looking so forward to the state fair.

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

Yes, the good moments will add up to more, and then you will look back and think, "I DID IT!" I made it the whole way, and I've changed my life!

I'm so proud of you. I still remember the first time I turned down a dessert that I didn't really want. (Well, I did want it, but I didn't need it.) I never forgot the feeling, and I still remember it 12 years later!!

♥ Dee ♥ said...

Holy crap am I PROUD OF YOU!!!

NaN said...

Great job! New Balance tennies for me- I've been wearing them for over 6 years now and find them to be the best (size 9-10 here too). I don't miss any fair food but I LOVE onion rings and Outback/Chili's blooming onion/blossom. I really avoid the places that serve them...I've found some lower fat recipes that one of these days I will try at home.

Anonymous said...

You could try Dr Sholls inserts for shoes.....the gell ones....they take some of the impact off your feet and they are like less then $10....@ walmart....really amazing!

screwdestiny said...

Wow, you're doing great! I think it's true that the fair mostly is about food, at least for adults (really, how much fun is a lame ride and looking at a bunch of stinky animals?). So that's awesome that you managed to resist it all. I must admit that I give in to the funnel cake with peach fruit topping. Oh, and good for you for going on the ride with the kids. Sorry it was so scary for you.

rmslil said...

Girl, you did great! I would have had to have the fried zucchini at least. Well, it is a vegetable, right.

Becky said...

Good for you!! What a huge step! I haven't been to the fair, but lots of friends are talking about it lately. The deep fried stuff never did anything for me, thankfully, but the ice cream/sweet things always did. What a confidence builder, though, and a great example of "I can!" Thanks for sharing!! And I'm totally proud of you riding the rides---you'll kids will remember that forever!!

Fat Chick said...

Congrats, I just went to our county fair as well. I was pretty proud of what I ate as well. :) I still want the Funnel Cake, though. :( I might join a friend out there this weekend and I might decide to get one. If I do I'll make it work in my day and I won't be bothered throwing some of it away if noone wants to share. :)

It's fun being able to make conscious decisions to eat what you want, when you want, and be happy with the results.

Rachel said...

Fantastic! What a perfect day :) Gushing with pride for you and your focus on health and family.

I LOVE all my Earth and Simple brand shoes. They can be pricey, but sometimes or have good deals. The Earth shoes are especially great for your feet and posture and come in lots of styles - even the sandles are comfy to wear for hours.

Tammy said...

I've worn Reebok and Nike's in the past...liked the Nike's better...but about 10 years ago I bought some New Balance, and they're my all-time favorite. That's all I'll buy now. I am a size 10 wide width...they have awesome support...try'll love them! :) I buy mine at Famous Footwear.

And I am just tickled pink over the peach and apple...and throwing away the bowl o' grease...I bet that felt great!! :)