Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For A Bloomin' Onion

Tonight I went out for a birthday dinner with my boy. His choice... Outback. Ahhh, yes. Outback, home of the dark brown honey bread with whipped butter (Free! All you can eat!), the Bloomin' Onion, the fried mushrooms, the prime rib with a baked potato oozing with butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream or huge piles of golden fries ready to be drowned in Ranch. Oh, and don't forget the huge chocolate cake with hot fudge and ice cream. Yeah. THAT Outback. I know Outback well, because before I started this journey to better health, I'd go there and eat All Of The Above without a second thought. I looooved it. I loved fried food, greasy food, super-salty food, and sugar. It was an hour of heaven going there. My only worry was how I could get the people I was eating with to order enough appetizers (don't forget the Aussie Cheese fries with Bacon & Ranch) and how I could get away with eating way more than anyone else without looking *too* crazed.

Tonight, it was a little different. Oh, the booths were the same (or did they seem a little roomier?) and the menu hadn't changed, but something had changed. They brought that same warm, crusty bread and soft butter. I sliced it for my son, but I didn't want any. Actually, I didn't even think about trying it or wanting it. It was just an object on the table, like a rock. I scanned the menu and then we ordered. I had:

unsweetened iced tea with fresh lemon slices
a side House salad (mixed greens, cucumbers, sweet little juicy red tomatoes) with no croutons and no cheese, and a side of blue cheese dressing
a Seared Ahi Tuna appetizer... except I ordered this as my main dish
a side of plain steamed broccoli (no butter, no salt)

As I sat waiting for my food, I glanced at the table next to us. Just a few feet away, a lady sat. A very nicely dressed lady with long, wavy hair. A lady who was morbidly obese. I never saw the front of her, as she was sitting facing her dinner companion, but I did see (and smell) the dishes that the waitress brought her. When I saw the Bloomin' Onion placed in front of her, I had this very odd twinge of jealousy. It was a thought, though... not an emotion, if that makes sense. I thought something like, "gee, I wish I could sit and eat a Bloomin' Onion and not care what it did to my body." And then I realized, no, I didn't wish that. And for that matter, who knows whether that woman cares or not? Yes, I was a little envious of the flavors in her mouth right then... of the experience she was having with her food... the experience I used to savor. But I saw the way her body spilled over her seat. It looked absolutely uncomfortable. I saw the way her clothing was stretched. I saw a woman who I would estimate to be 350 pounds, and I didn't really want to trade. Not for the loaded baked potato soup she ate after the Bloomin' Onion, not for the great big prime rib and fries she had after that, not for the cheesecake she had for dessert. I did *not* want to trade.

Don't get me wrong. I was not looking at her in any sort of a judgemental way. Hey, she was pretty from the back, and sounded happy, and I have no idea how wonderful, horrible, happy or sad her life is, nor would I try to speculate. What I was noticing was MY responses to the food that wafted past my nose every time the waitress came by for that table... and how deeply connected we are to what we eat. How every choice leads to *something.* And my *something*, right now, is making me very happy, because of choices I have made. And no matter how wonderful that lovely lady's life may be, I don't want to trade.

The tea was refreshing, the salad crisp and flavorful. The ahi tuna was served with a Romaine heart and a side of soy ginger sauce, making a wonderful combination of hearty, spicy, cool, and crunchy that was a delight to partake. The broccoli was steamed perfectly: tender and delicious. And when I put my fork down, my body was singing because it was happy with what I put in it. I do not want to trade that for a Bloomin' Onion.

Yes, something at Outback has changed. It's me.

29 comments:

Autumnforest said...

It sounds like you woke up and that woman at the other table is still sleep walking through life, not tasting the food, swallowing without chewing, gaining and gaining and falling into low self-esteem. You were experiencing the sober person at the drinking party syndrome--you watch the entertainment and realize in your sober state how stupid people sound and act when drunk. You were having the food equivalent. Congrats!

RoSi said...

RE COMMENT ABOVE i think its a lil unfair to gather the state someone is in mentally from what you see them eat. one doesn't know where's she's been.

Fat Grump said...

You are right Lyn. Practising restraint can be hard when there is temptation all around you. You decided not to 'reward' your efforts with foods you used to eat. That takes some doing but you seem to have control of your emotions now. What a great bonus to weight loss! Good for you :)

Karen@WaistingTime said...

Good for you! I admit that I have been pretty good at restaurants but I sure do feel some envy when my fellow diners eat the bread and the dessert and whatever they want in between. But I know that when the meal is over I am glad I didn't succumb. And no guilt the next day when I face the scale.

Aylilth said...

Awesome job resisting the temptation's!!

She woke up FAT said...

What a great post.
Today I don't think I could survive the outback and not cry if I didn't get a blommin onion.

fatlittleblackdog said...

Way to go! But you made it seem effortless, just another mark of how far you've come.

BD

Anonymous said...

I just want to tell you that I LOVE your blog....it seems that everything you right could have come from me....I identify so much with you but you also inspire me. I don't have much weight to lose but its not about weight is it? Its about accepting yourself for who you are and finding peace with that. Thank you so much.

Ms. PJ Geek said...

Wow! big temptation place. I've been there when I wasn't on a program to be healthy and lose weight and I've been while on a program. I can't fit in the booths well , or at least I couldn't on one of those first visits. You did good. you enjoyed what you had and reflected on how the old Lyn might have been. That's great

Leaving Fatville said...

I wish I had your resolve! What a great blog post. You must be so very proud of yourself and how far you've come!

I'm still working on not letting the food get to me. Every day is a little better, but I have to remember not to flog myself for any little missteps.

Kyle Gershman said...

I loved this post...why? Because I ordered the exact same meal when I went to an Outback with my parents and had many of the exact same revelations...unfortunately it was my mom eating what she shouldn't be.

At least Outback has a pretty detailed calorie breakdown tool on their website.

As always, you bring insight to your posts that are very revealing.

Thank you!

mbm1forever said...

It is funny, but I have to notice people blindly eating around me and instead of thinking I am deprived, I think of what the choices of others are doing to their bodies. It isn't just the weight, but the lack of nutrition that sort of "food" is doing to their bodies. No judgement on my part, just observations as I was once a person doing the same thing. I feel like I woke up and smelled the roses so to speak. I go to Outback often and order the 6 ounce steak with steamed veg and salad no cheese no croutons. It is my lean and green and works great.

Laryssa said...

You are really an inspiration ... and you were able to get up this morning without the upset stomach from eating foods your body is no longer accustomed to.

Food addiction is like any other addiction. I was a smoker for 23 years and now, 2+ years after stopping, I still sometimes think about having a cigarette, usually when I'm out having a drink. It's not that I'm craving one because my body isn't asking for it; it's the habit ... my mind remembers what the feelings were like and it wants to relive the memory; knowing that helps me "just say no". I've realized I have to treat those unhealthy foods I spent years eating the same way, as a bad habit.

Thanks for continuing to share your days with us. I know it helps me.

Dinah Soar said...

Your food choices sound wonderful. And after eating them you felt good. I've noticed when I eat the typical fare you used to eat, while it tastes good going down, afterwards I don't feel well--I feel sluggish and weighted down. But when I eat the nourishing foods I feel good. My point is this knowledge of how food makes us feel, how it affects our bodies is very important for us to study, to journal. Failing to take note, to figure out what we need to be healthy leads to failing in our goal to achieve it. You have realized this and are using your knowledge to your advantage. If you keep using your brain you will succeed--you will lose and not regain.

Hope's Journey to Healthy said...

What a great post, Lyn.

I'll admit, I still have moments like that too, where I see what other people are eating, and I wish that I could just eat without worrying about what goes into my mouth. And usually it's someone who is over weight too.

I also agree with you that food is tied to so many emotions. Even after losing almost all my weight, I STILL have SO much work to do on that. We're all in this together. :)

Hope

Thrice Blessed said...

Good for you! I know for myself I have to make that mental "switch" from wanting to overeat to loathing the thought. I think I've made that switch recently, I hope I never switch back.

Carly said...

Lyn,
Posts like this are why you're such a big part of why I keep on keeping on. E and I both have moments like this, and it's crazy to realize that we were those people, months ago.

beerab said...

Great choices- I find if you look hard enough you can pretty much find SOMETHING you can eat at places. The ones I know there really is nothing- I just don't go.

You are amazing girl!

The Chubby Girl Diaries said...

Lyn,

I admire you for making those choices! I still struggle with going out to eat (if they offer free bread... I am all over it).

I hope one day to be able to get to where you are now!

Congrats!! :)

~Kellie

Katie J said...

I love their Ahi Tuna. I have suggested to them more then once that they make it a little bigger and make it an entree.

Amanda said...

Hey just came across your blog. Love it.

good job at Outback! I recently went there (I hadn't been there in years) but I went online beforehand and they have their nutritional info online. It was great b/c I was able to make an informed decision before going!!

Julie said...

I wish I had your restraint, I'm still working on that. Good for you!!

spunkysuzi said...

Sounds like your in a good place right now! I'mm so glad :)

Emily said...

Lynn, while I applaud your progress, you seem to still have pretty firm ideas of 'good' food and 'bad' food. Having struggled with eating disorders myself- both ends of the spectrum- I can tell you that in my experience, until you let go of the judgments (and, on the other side of the coin, the 'virtuous' feelings) regarding food, you are setting yourself up for future problems. That being said, it takes a very, very long time (for me, 8+ years) to get to the point where food is just food. I am at a very healthy weight and personally enjoy blooming onions and prime rib every now and then. After all, they're delicious. Ahi tuna is also good. Both can be part of your life eventually. Keep up the great work, but remember that your ultimate goal is 'health,' which I think requires less focus on food.

destinationathlete said...

I absolutely LOVE the ahi tuna...yummy!

Lyn said...

Emily~

I judge my food based on the effect it has on my body.Having been through many years of food addiction where I felt completely out of control when eating certain foods, I know there are some things I never want to be part of my life again. A Bloomin' Onion is one of them.

I don't think any food has a morality of 'good' or 'bad'; however, there is 'nutritious' and there is 'harmful' and there are all sorts of things in between.

I will certainly enjoy ice cream and cake again in moderation at some point; however, greasy, fried, salty foods have no place in my life again. Ever.

screwdestiny said...

Go you for being healthy at Outback!

I don't like the Bloomin' Onion. I think it's disgusting. My downfall would be that bread with whipped butter. I could eat the whole loaf if I wasn't careful.

Tammy said...

Hmmm...Outback. Let's see...the last time I was there was last July...about a month or so after I started my blog. Dwayne took me for my birthday dinner. I had one slice of that awesome bread w/ no butter....side salad w/ no cheese and a vinaigrette on the side...3 grilled shrimp, 1/2 a grilled chicken breast, & 1/2 of the rice pilaf...no dessert..water to drink.

Dwayne had 1 1/2 loaves of bread slathered in butter...couple of beers, biggest steak on the menu and a big ol' pile of french fries.

I wanted to stab him with my fork, lol.

Grace said...

Ah!! I love the way you've been referring to food as an object "like a rock."
Its brilliant. I love your blog!! :)