Putting it together

Practice, practice, practice … that’s what I’ve been doing.  Eat slowly!  Eat to 80%!  Add lean protein to every meal! And I’ve been doing pretty well at these habits.  Of course, staying on the right side of healthy is easier when you’ve got complete control of the environment:  my house no longer contains junk food to tempt me and no reason to shovel food in or overeat (though that doesn’t always stop me!).

But recently I’ve had a few opportunities to spread my Lean Eating wings and see if I could fly (or go SPLAT on someone’s windshield).  First was a BBQ at my brother’s house — starting with appetizers and drinks, ending with two different desserts and lots of good food in between the two.  My strategy going in was to just be incredibly conscious of what I was putting in my mouth because normally when I’m in front of appetizers, I can stuff myself full just from that — and still eat dinner afterwards.

So, I sat next to the vegetables on purpose and they turned out to be wonderful conversation partners.  I managed to mostly stay away from the chips and guac, which are my best friend and sworn enemy all rolled into one.  It’s funny, though — old habits die hard.  I kept finding myself reaching for them and then my brain would kick in; nope, not gonna do that.  But I had to very actively keep an eye on myself — it was hard! I’m tough to keep in line, apparently.

My next function was today — I met up with some good friends for dinner, carb-loading for my friend’s half marathon. We went to an Italian restaurant that I absolutely love and I knew it would be easy to indulge, indulge and indulge some more.

First, I opted for water instead of a drink — I was the chauffeur so that made it a little easier — but I still missed having a glass of wine.  And yes, I could have had it, but figured it was one thing I could do without.

The tough part?  Not having any bread — that’s like my gateway drug, without a doubt.  I could eat an entire loaf without even thinking twice.  Hell, I could eat it without even thinking once.

We ordered an antipasto salad for the table, and I had a little of that.  And then dinner — the waitress gave me a sales pitch that they had the best eggplant parmigiana in the city and I had to bite on it (heh.  See what I did there?). And it was tasty!  Even, ah-MAZE-ing, like the waitress touted. The best eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever had in the city (we won’t mention that the was the only eggplant parmigiana that I’ve had in the city)!  

Since I opted to not have any protein with dinner, I steadfastly implemented my other two habits:  eating slowly and not overeating.  Eating slowly was harder than I thought it would be.  It seemed weird to be putting my fork down and stopping while everyone else was eating away.  But it really did the trick — I ate half of my meal and was done. Could I have finished it?  Sure.  Did I want to finish it?  Heck yea. Would I have finished it before I started all this?  Without a friggin’ doubt.  But stopping felt really good.  My stomach didn’t feel like it was going to burst which is something that isn’t normal for me when I go out for dinner.  

So – two occasions and two relative victories.  What do you know:  it IS possible to go out, be social AND stick to some healthy habits.  Who knew?