It was tough to get out of bed this morning after last night's late on-air weather coverage. I was getting up early to help some friends load their moving truck. I'm so glad I did because it felt good to help and it was one of the best workouts I've had in years. I made sure to take time for breakfast preparation and preparing a sack lunch for the inevitable lunch time break.
Lunch ideas were tossed around. Fried chicken? BBQ? Pizzas? It didn't matter to me, I had planned, prepared and packed my lunch. I was hoping they would order out and everyone eat at their house, but the decision was made: The lunch break would be at the pizza buffet place.
At first I agreed to go too, taking my food with me. Then suddenly I started worrying about what might happen if I took my outside food into this restaurant. Would I be told I couldn't by the manager? Would people look at me in a strange way? Everyone was already in their vehicles when I decided I just couldn't do it. I asked my friend, "Do you mind if I stay here and eat my lunch? You guys go ahead and enjoy, I don't mind. I just didn't want to take my lunch into the restaurant." He understood and said he didn't mind and we parted ways. I decided to drive home and eat lunch. I was almost to my apartment when I had a revelation.
I'm going to the pizza buffet place!!! I'm going to enjoy lunch and conversation with my friends. Part of the freedom included in the epiphanies discussed in the May 15th post involve caring much less about what others think of me. I'm confident in who I am. There was a respectful way to handle this restaurant situation without creating stories in my head about how the management and diners would react to me bringing in my own food. Who cares? If it's an issue, I'll leave, I thought.
After accepting then abruptly declining the lunch invitation, then having a sudden change of heart and going anyway, I kind of felt like I was in the middle of an internal tug of war. But now I felt empowered and determined to enjoy my lunch while visiting with everyone else. I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed my lunch bag and without hesitation, headed for the door. Instead of sitting down and feeling like I had to conceal my "outside food" that was possibly breaking a common policy many restaurants maintain, I went straight to the counter. I was greeted by a very nice lady, I asked if she was the manager--she said yes, and then I explained what I wanted.
I opened with a compliment: "I love how you've remodeled the place! I'm with the party of eight in the room over there, but I'm on a special food plan. Would it be okay if I eat the food I brought while they eat your buffet?" She replied with a smile: "That's fine!" Okay, that went way better than I imagined. I added, "do you mind if I use a plate and order a water? I'll be sure to tip!" Again, "that's fine, no problem."
I immediately walked past the hot buffet line full of almost every kind of pizza you can imagine. Hot pastas full of sauce and cheese, garlic bread--they had it all. I grabbed my plate and headed to the table where I assembled my sandwich, logged the food in MyFitnessPal, took a picture and sent the Tweet:
Roast beef w/2 LC light creamy Swiss wedges spread onto a Joseph's Pita. Pineapple (13 oz) & Beanitos chips. 572 cal. pic.twitter.com/fByaQLvmyO
— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 28, 2014
I didn't make a big deal about it. I didn't talk about my food until someone at out table asked me to describe what was on my plate. Honestly, I don't think anyone else away from our table even noticed. I quietly took care of me, doing my thing as everyone enjoyed wonderful lunch conversation. I participated in the fantastic conversation too and as I did, I couldn't help but smile inside because I felt wonderful about my decision to join the group for lunch. And to think, I almost didn't because I was allowing my imagination and fear to mix into an unrealistic expectation. There wasn't a stern manager telling me to leave...I didn't get strange looks at me or my food...just a wonderful lunch experience with some of the best people I know.
What also stood out in a profound way, was how content I was. There wasn't a struggle passing by the above described buffet line. My mouth wasn't watering at the site of other people's food. I didn't feel deprived in the least. It wasn't will power. Will power is when we're exerting a large amount of energy in an effort to keep ourselves from doing or having something we really want. It didn't require will power because I didn't want. That's a big difference. The key to this difference is found in focusing on the perspective that says, isn't it nice to have such a wonderful visit with friends? Isn't this lunch delicious and satisfying? And not: I can't have what they're having. Because clearly, I could--and for free, my friend's were picking up the tab.
And that's an important distinction. It wasn't that I couldn't eat what they were eating, I could have easily. I didn't want to for very good reasons. Just to clarify, had it been a restaurant with items I could order and feel good about, then I might have returned my prepared lunch to the fridge, saving it for later. My recovery from food addiction is something I take very seriously and if I'm ever in doubt about what's available where I'm headed, then I'll always be sure to bring something with me or wait until I have access to something I can accept. I had no idea of the lunch plans today, so I adequately prepared myself, and it paid off handsomely.
I managed my calories with intention and deliberateness today. I did well. My workout was the moving experience. I prepared a very nice Tilapia loin dinner with asparagus, zucchini, pear and fresh strawberries and I enjoyed a wonderful visit tonight with my oldest daughter Amber at her place across town. Her and I have some pretty powerful conversations! Both of my wonderful daughters remind me of me in various ways.
I even took some time during a break in the move to tweet some humor:
I'm wearing my new "World's Greatest Grandpa" t-shirt. I was hesitant at first because it's a few sizes too old for me.
— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 28, 2014
Thank you for reading,