As I noted then, I'm no better than she is when I find myself in the grip of the food frenzy. There is no doubt that there are particular trigger foods that bring out the frenzy in a way that makes me feel like I can relate to meth addicts (this simile inspired by one of my fav shows, Breaking Bad, which is back on the air).
Last week, my youngest daughter was in town for a week between sleep-away camp sessions. We were doting on her with reckless abandon, and we had her in town to see some live music (Gomez). Her only request pre-entertainment was to go for a proper burger, so we headed off to a place called 5 Napkin Burger, just off of Time Square. 5 Napkin is not a place for PointsPlus lovers. All burgers clock in at 10 ounces, and something tells me that they are not shy about marbling their meat with fat. What's a man-on-maintenance to do? Lighten up, be a good sport, and make my perfect little girl happy on her night out in the town.
|The original 5 Napking burger: not for the faint of heart, |
but definitely able to cause the heart to become faint
I put my program-related reservations about restaurant choice to the side, fired up a beer and placed my order. I tried to tell myself that I wasn't being completely debauched by ordering the "Burger Salad" and the sweet-potato fies. I knew perfectly well that the dressing on the salad was worth at least as many PointsPlus values as the bun that they replaced. I also knew that the fried sweet potatoes were not really that much better, if at all, than their yellow Idaho counterparts. I was happy to bask in my delusions of health and pretend that I was being kind of responsible.
After the meal, I made it a point to think about how my brain felt while I was eating. The answer was that it was locked in a temporarily state that prevented me from recognizing any external stimuli not emanating from the food in front of me. Conversation and external noise disappeared from my consciousness. I felt like a Major League pitcher blocking out distractions while standing on the mound. My fork, knife and fork did not finish their furious dance until there was not even a tiny scrap of food remaining. I blew through it just as fast as my dog would blow through a bowl of her food.
I finished my meal with the slightly remorseful feeling of having gone through another food bender. I was irritated with myself for losing control and not pacing myself. I was again slightly frustrated that I could not remember to not finish everything in front of me and save a little for the restaurant trash can. I was bluntly forced to reckon with the fact that I didn't have the will power to master my situation. I put it all in the back of my mind and went about the rest of the night and had a good time. However, I wanted to make a note for myself to try to find the object lesson.
So what is the lesson? The lesson is that yet again, my belief in my willpower is my undoing. It's hard to fight the hot state. At least in my case it wasn't a hot state causing me to send an inappropriate text message (is sending a picture of a naked burger -- no bun -- inappropriate?). Nonetheless, I don't particularly like falling prey to the feeling of being slightly out of control.
In contrast, I was at a business dinner last week in Minnesota. I found myself talking quite a bit, as one does at these dinners. I ordered on-plan food, and I clearly had more on my mind than just eating. Lo and behold at the end of dinner I hadn't finished my entre. My mind never got into food vapor lock. Same basic environment, but a totally different outcome.
What are the lessons for me?
- Be focused on something other than eating. Examples might include socially-oriented activities such as taking an interest in the people around me. Engaging in conversation while eating seems to work well rather than pretending the food on my dish is slop in a trough.
- Know that certain foods will always bring out the worst in me. Saying I'm only going to eat half my fries just doesn't work for me. Better to not order them in the first place.