Old Habits Die Hard

Yesterday, my sister and I decided to treat our mom to a Mother’s Day brunch buffet.


I found myself surrounded by masses of food – everything from cheese and crackers to pastas to roast beef.  Then, of course, there were the breakfast items; you had your scrambled eggs and bacon in addition to made-to-order omelets, waffles, and french toast.  Please don’t even get me started on the dessert table.

It was all so elegant.  And yet – for someone like me – it was also very, very dangerous.

After I circled the buffet for my first round (for lack of a better word), I came back to our table with an omelet stuffed with ham, tomatoes, and onions, a piece of french toast served with dried fruit, a mini Belgian waffle topped with strawberry and blueberry compote, and a sliver of plain angel food cake.  Not too bad, considering I had somehow summoned the strength to bypass the greasy goodness of sausage links and bacon strips.

Halfway through my first plate, I was experiencing signs of fullness.  Yet I proceeded to polish off every last bite.

Then my family went back for a second helping.  And then once more for dessert.

I wish I could report that I remained seated at the table, keeping an eye on the purses and enjoying the satisfaction of knowing that I could actually control myself at a buffet.  I knew I was legitimately full on what was already a more-than-adequate breakfast.

As you may have guessed, however, that would be a lie.  Instead, I proceeded to follow my family right back to the buffet line.  Long story short: I ended up gouging myself until I could hardly move.

Chocolate chip cookie (times two) aside, for the most part, my selections were fairly innocuous – I also tossed my own fruit salad from big bowls of pineapple, tangerines, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries on the dessert table.  Still, I was forced to face the reality that when faced with temptation, it remains incredibly difficult for me to ditch my old habits for good.

I even caught myself relying on my old excuse for stuffing myself silly at a buffet: “I paid for this, so I might as well get my money’s worth.” For shame.

Worst of all, I find it especially difficult to stick to my healthy eating habits any time I’m accompanied by the people who care for me the most: my family.  Unfortunately, it has become a rule that whenever I’m dining with my parents or my sister, I tend to eat at least twice as much as I would while eating with my boyfriend or any one of my girlfriends.

Whether I’m grabbing lunch with my mom, or my dad pulls up to the Taco Bell drive-thru and calls to ask if I want anything, it’s suddenly as though I’m the old me.  More often than not, I give myself permission to eat what I actually want.  As if no time has passed, no weight has been shed, and I’m still the same old Jen who tears through food with reckless abandon.  Maybe it’s because there’s no fear of judgement, as there would be if I ordered a greasy burger with the works while all of my  friends order salad-with-dressing-on-the-side.

I often joke with my sister that she forces me to revert to my old ways.  When she’s home from college and we’re spending time together, I find myself saying “yes” to that dessert at the diner, or trading in my afternoon workout for a marathon of Family Feud: Wii Edition.  She has had a front row seat to my life-long battle with my weight, and nobody understands me better than she does.  Plus, the fact that she shares the same struggles – and is now also a fellow Weight Watcher – affords me the luxury of having someone with whom I can commiserate over calorie counts and stretch marks.

The trouble is that so much of our relationship has revolved around food, and it’s hard to break that pattern.  Before either of us started Weight Watchers, our typical summertime weeknight consisted of a trip to Baskin’ Robbins for a large Oreo cookies ‘n cream milkshake – a decadent treat I later learned contained more than two full days worth of my daily POINTS allotment.

Our choices may be a bit better now, because we’ll head to Rita’s for their “Slenderita” fat free custard and sugar-free ice…but I still find myself ignoring my conscience and opting for a large instead of a small, or giving in to dessert at a restaurant so we can “share.”

It’s a vicious cycle that I’m going to have to work harder to break.  Spending time with the people you love isn’t about the sumptuous meal you’re eating or the decadent dessert you’re diving into together.  It’s about enjoying that person’s company.  And that is all.

In other news, I was down a whopping 1.2 pounds this week.  Which, of course, is huge for me!

Loss to Date: 92.4 lbs

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Old Habits Die Hard

  1. hamiltonmka

    It’s so frustrating, isn’t it?! Well first of all, BRAVO on the 1.2 loss even with your Mother’s Day adventure. And, congratulate you on the fact that you’re aware that this is crazy thinking and eating. As long as you get back on track with your weight loss, you’re doing great. What do they say: you lost the battle (the buffet) but winning the war (you’re still losing!). I too have to remind myself that getting to goal and I presume staying at goal is not going to be perfect. Life happens and some times we make good choices and other times it’s impossible to overcome old habits. We just need to keep moving past it though. Closer to our goals. It’s going to be so sweet when we get there!

    Is your WW leader still giving you a hard time about still wanting to lose more weight?

    Keep writing! I love your writing and your thoughts. It’s like you live in my head!

    • That’s such a great way to look at it: losing the battle, but NOT the war! Thank you, as always, for your support! It really does help.

      I suppose it just really scares me that it’s still so easy to revert back to the “old” me. Granted, I behave myself much better at buffets than I used to, but why is it still so easy for me to ignore that little voice in my head that tells me I’ve had enough?

      I know the right choices to make, and 99% of the time I make them…but then on days like Mother’s Day, or my sister’s birthday (last night!), I elect to throw caution to the wind and order apple pie a la mode instead of the watermelon sorbet for dessert, or the steak with sweet potato fries in lieu of the grilled chicken entree. I tell myself it’s a “special occasion,” and while it’s fine to indulge once in awhile, I know that excuses like that are a really dangerous road for someone like me.

      Whatever the case, I’m still paying for my not-so-healthy choices today – physically, I don’t feel well at all. But I’m officially back on my usual menu and working out and meticulously counting every single POINT!

      Since I told my WW leader that I WAS going to make it to 100 pounds lost (no ifs, ands, or buts!), and that I’d see where I wanted to go from there, she has been pretty quiet about the whole thing. I was adamant that I’m not where I want to be yet, and reaching that 100 pound mark is something I just have to do for myself. So far, it seems like she got the message!

  2. Felisha

    Eek! I sympathize. I feel very in control most of the time, but there are moments where I do the most absurd things. I tell myself, even, that I’m NOT hungry. 🙂

    Congrats on your loss. That is great!

    • Thanks so much, Felisha! I know exactly what you mean, and it’s so scary to lose that control. It feels wonderful to be able to finally take ownership of my body and how I treat myself, so when I hear myself start making excuses like “I have to get my money’s worth” or “it’s a special occasion” just to stuff myself on things I know I shouldn’t be eating, it’s a very, very scary thing for me!

      All we can do is chalk it up to experience and get right back on track, which is exactly what I’m doing! I try to keep things in perspective, too – it was just ONE meal, or ONE day of poor choices. There’s absolutely no need to undo almost three years of progress for a couple of minor slip-ups, right? 🙂

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