While I was away in Thunder Bay visiting my mom, I gained 6.4 lbs over the course of 4 days. That seems impossible, but when I think back to how out of control I was with my eating, I guess I can see it.
I started off so well – I ate a healthy breakfast and headed to the airport. Despite the free snacks in the lounge and the cool veggie chips on the plane, I triumphed! I was satisfied with my breakfast and NOT HUNGRY so I did not indulge.
Then I landed in Thunder Bay and, in more ways than one, hit the ground hard.
My mother and sister met me (and my aunt) at the gate and asked me if it was ok that they had arranged to meet some friends at a Chinese food buffet for lunch. They were being considerate of how I like to eat and didn’t want to go if it was going to be a problem. I sighed (internally) and said it was fine – and I really meant it. “I have the ability to make good choices in hard situations” I thought to myself.
We went, I ate pretty well, choosing lots of fresh fruit, vegetables (yes, they were covered in oil but they were the least offensive item offered besides the fruit) and ONE chicken ball, and I felt good. This was how vacation was supposed to go!
Before I knew it, we were heading to a cooking demonstration that my mom had signed us up for. I had perused the menu online and it looked pretty good – Tomato Salad, Asparagus Soup, Salmon-Something, and Angel Food Cake with mixed berries. All healthy things, right?
These things might have been healthy in their original incantations, but all you have to do is add 35% whipping cream to everything and the healthy factor goes right out the window. And the salmon-something? Was Salmon Wellington – which I have never eaten and didn’t bother to look up, thinking it was just salmon and it couldn’t be that bad. Salmon Wellington, for those who don’t know, is a piece of salmon wrapped in puff pastry. Puff pastry is not exactly low-cal, but then the chef really made it better by stuffing it with butter-fried peaches and onions and then serving it on a bed of spinach that was sautéed in butter AND WHIPPING CREAM.
You know what though? I was fine with it. It’s only one day, it doesn’t change my dedicated mindset and I figured that I would get right back on track the next day. The only problem was that the portions were extremely small – and I’m saying that as someone who eats pretty small portion sizes as it is. It was made worse because I don’t like salmon and only ate half my Wellington. I left the stupid demonstration starving. I had eaten my small lunch and now my tiny dinner (that was a bazillion points/calories) and I was still hungry.
We walked by this totally cute coffee shop and I suggested going in, mentioning that I would grab a muffin or piece of cake. My mother and aunt reacted like I had just suggested I was going to BBQ the neighbours cat and feast upon it. The two of them yelled (pretty much simultaneously) “NO! YOU CAN’T! YOU’RE ON A DIET AND YOU’RE DOING SO GOOD!”
It was like a slap in the face. First of all, I’m was in total control of myself at that moment. I was LEGITIMATELY hungry. While they had eaten a huge lunch, I had merely nibbled. While they had eaten their entire main course, I left half mine behind. It won’t kill me to eat a muffin or a slice of cake if I’m hungry. My mother keeps absolutely zero food in her house (I mean it, it’s a condiment graveyard….with beer) so I knew that going to her house for a snack was not an option. Plus, and here is where the weekend turned for me, they made me feel ashamed.
They made me feel like I was a bad person for wanting to have a piece of cake. They judged me and my sweet tooth in that moment and found me lacking.
The last time I had cake before this incident was in September. On my birthday. Excuse me for feeling like it’s ok to eat a slice of cake every six months. I’m a grown woman, I control what goes in my mouth and if I want to stuff myself with crap, I can stuff myself with crap.
Those are just some of the thoughts that ran through my head in that moment. When they had finished their exclamations of horror that I would want to eat something when I was hungry, I reeled back like I had been slapped. I have one of those faces that can’t hide what I’m thinking, so my mom and aunt both immediately knew something was wrong but I backed away from them, turned and walked back to my mom’s house with them tagging behind me, asking what was wrong and saying “if you want, let’s go back”.
I cried later that night. I let them make me feel ashamed. I’ve had some time to reflect back on this and I realized that the issue is actually more about them than me. They both struggle mightily with a weight problem and I think they like to look at me and the way I currently am and think that it can be done. That they can lose the weight, because I’ve done it.
Where they both fail, and I’m only saying this because I know them well, is that they believe in order to lose weight, you have to be perfect. I’ve tried very tactfully to tell them that I don’t live that way, but they don’t really listen. To hear me say I wanted cake, meant that after all this time, I was giving up. I was not going to continue to bust my ass and lose weight, and I was on the downward slope to gaining it all back. Because that’s what having a piece of cake would mean to them if they were on a diet.
But I am not my aunt or my mother. I’m me.
I wish I’d remembered that during the course of the weekend. The whole time I was away, I felt bad about myself. Ashamed and judged. I even did something I have read that other people do, but never done myself. I hid my eating away from their prying eyes. I put myself in charge of cooking dinner on the Sunday night and binged in the kitchen the entire time, trying not to let them hear the crinkling of the chip bag. I was paranoid of every mouthful of food that I consumed in front of them.
It was an emotional weekend. I learned a lot though – I’ve had time to think it over and figure out how I’ll deal with these kinds of situations in the future and I’m ok with the weight gain. After all, I earned it and it is what it is. I’m glad that I know what triggered it and I’m glad that I’ve really mulled it over so it (hopefully) won’t happen again.
The only thing that makes me sad is that I allowed myself to feel that way. They shamed me, but I let them.