I Ordered A Salad. So There.

“You got a salad?”

The quizzical yet amused look on my husband’s face was priceless and disturbing at the same time. We were at one of our usual spots, not the wing place or the burger joint or the craft beer bistro, the other one where pizza with extra cheese and spicy sauce was the typical fare after a buttery bread stick snack. Extra napkins required. I was looking at the menu – that I could recite like the alphabet – and nothing looked good. Before I knew what I was doing, I blurted out “SARATOGA SALAD PLEASE” the moment the waitress came over.

I think there comes a time when your body and mind are both fried. Not only from the overdose of battered foods plunged into hot oil, but from the mental war waged on ourselves. Suddenly, you’ve had enough. You crave the taste of health. Your body wants to heal. Your head used to get in the way, rationalizing how one more order of cheesy bread won’t hurt, but now even your own brain can’t take your self sabotage anymore.

It feels good to let go of the inner struggle. To stop the munchie madness that keeps you fat. In the end, it’s always just a choice.

So yes. I choose salad.

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Rationalization Nation

Hey that person’s fat too . . . and so is that one!

I’m not nearly THAT big!

I’ve got a ways to go . . .

Screw salad. “I’ll have a cheese burger and fries, please. After the nachos come out, of course.”

That’s kinda how it goes in my mind when I am out at a restaurant and the mental tug of war between my gluttonous self and my know better self have at it. And it gets NASTY. When two out of every three people in the place are overweight, some super fat, gluttony wins out when I am not careful. The rationalizing that happens when I crack open the menu quickly turns to guilt and hand wringing once the last drip of sauce is wiped from the corner of my mouth.

It’s so easy.

No wonder Americans have problems losing weight. Just look around any store, eating establishment or gas station and reasons that we “aren’t that bad” are in your face. It’s like watching the television show COPS. You just feel better about your life because you aren’t trying to stick weed up your butt or run from the police in handcuffs.

Rationalization happens in other ways. In many other ways.

  • Ah well, I already had one slice of pizza. Another isn’t going to hurt. That much.
  • My nephew’s third birthday party is Saturday, I’ll loosen up my diet for the weekend and restart Monday.
  • That pumpkin spice latte only comes around once a year, I have to take advantage.
  • I had such a stressful day at work, I deserve to gorge as much as I want.
  • This cake is about to get stale. There are starving kids in China. It’d be inhumane to let it go to waste.
  • I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch, so depositing my daily allotment of calories into my pie hole at dinner is okay. Dang it.

But for me, it’s usually the COPS strategy.

However you like your rationalization, it’s usually just one of the stops in a vicious cycle. Once you’ve made the conscious decision to eat badly, to not work out, or to just not be good to your own body, shame, guilt and even anger can overwhelm your emotions. How do people stuck on fat cope? They eat. And so it goes on.

But it’s okay. At least I’m not as fat as her.