relationships

A Tale of Cheesy Enchiladas and Tears

Michael and I had a moment of conflict recently. I will preface this story with a yes I had a minor meltdown and yes I was already feeling overwhelmed and overstressed leading up to this “moment.” (Note to Self: listen to my body and my stress and do more self-care, perhaps verbalize some of the frustrations before they become overwhelming!)

It was a Rest Day for me and all week long I’d been doing my best to cut down my calories. I wasn’t restricting myself drastically, I was just being mindful of just how MUCH I was munching on the “extras” throughout the day. You know those extras–they are the bites, nibbles and tastes that we fail to count during our day. Sometimes we forget to record them, sometimes we trick our brain into thinking that they don’t count. For whatever reasons we do it, those calories do count and they do add up. I was trying my best to become more accountable to myself.

After a crappy day at work, an even longer week of exhausting obligations on top of cutting down on my sugar intake, I just snapped. We were in the kitchen making dinner together. Michael decided we were having veggie enchiladas–which was awesome because I’d been craving Mexican food for awhile. He cooked down the spinach and onions. I chopped the black olives and jalapenos and got the sauce and black beans ready.

We began assembling the enchiladas. Stressor #1 – I realized that we bought the much larger tortillas than normal and they were 210 calories each. I shuddered as I started to add up the math in my head and realized I could only have one enchilada instead of the two that I really wanted.

Stressor #2 – Michael was stuffing the enchiladas with shredded Colby Jack cheese. Handful after handful went into them until it was heaping.

“Can we put less cheese in two of those for me?”

Michael said no. “Stop it. Lots of cheese is what makes these good! You can have cheese.”

I felt annoyed that he was dictating what I should and could eat. I said it was too much cheese. His response: “If we ate this in a restaurant it would be twice the amount of cheese.”

“But we are at home and I can make it healthier.”

“Come on! That’s not fun!”

This was the breaking point. There were tears. I was frustrated and angry. I felt like a huge, wet blanket because I couldn’t “have fun” with my food. I said, “I need you to stop belittling my food choices and making me feel guilty for how I eat. I have been living a life of moderation for years now and I will always count my calories and be concerned about my intake. It will always be a struggle for me. I will always want more food and I make choices every single day to stay on track. I am aware that my food is not fun or gluttonous. But I need you to be supportive of me and not push food on me. Please don’t make me feel guilty for trying to be healthy.”

Michael apologized profusely. He admitted he made a mistake with trying to pressure me and apologized for adding to my stress. He was compassionate and understanding. We resolved it and made up. There were hugs and then we enjoyed our cheesy enchiladas.

Michael isn’t normally a food-pusher but every once in a blue moon we do have this conflict. Michael can only relate to my struggles so much but he’s never been obese and never knew me as That Girl. He didn’t see how hard I worked to lose the weight. He didn’t see the process of working so hard to lose one pound after another. He’s proud of my accomplishments and supports my efforts but he really can’t relate to what my struggles are with food.

It sucks that the argument had to happen at all but once in awhile it’s good to remind our partners if we need help. Please don’t push food on me. Please keep my triggers out of the house. Please support my efforts. Don’t feel like you can’t speak up and ask for support!

We enjoyed dinner. The veggie enchiladas were delicious and pretty big. I was full but definitely wanted to eat another one. I resisted. I recognized that I did NOT need a second one, I WAS full and satisfied. The conflict isn’t always there, but in times of stress it’s easy to turn to food, or to revert back to old habits. Sometimes those old habits lay dormant for years, and then boom! Stress, or something happens and it’s harder to resist those temptations.

QUESTION: How do you handle food conflicts with your significant others/family/friends?

F is for Fast Food and Fine Dining


F is for Fast Food and Fine Dining.

As a single girl living alone that didn’t cook, I ate a lot of crap. Fast food was a staple for me because I didn’t like cooking and didn’t do it very well. I didn’t eat fast food every day but too often. On the nights I didn’t get fast food for dinner I would eat the pre-packaged dinners. Things like frozen pizza, frozen pot pies for example. I also made a lot of stuff out of a box. I liked those “Helpers” where you just cook the box. Mac n’ Cheese from a box. Lots and lots of processed foods!

I had my favorite fast food places. I loved the Dairy Queen Blizzards. I’d get several a week–and not the small ones either. My favorite flavors were Butterfingers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’ve talked ad nauseum about my addiction to Pizza Hut. Sometimes I’d get a pizza once a week.


I loved Taco Bell. Soft Taco Supreme baby! Taco Time was good too. When I lived in Portland Burgerville became a favorite. I didn’t eat meat all that often but if I did, it was the Burgerville Tillamook Bacon Cheeseburger with fries and an enormous seasonal milkshake (theirs are pretty fantastic):


Do we even have to speculate why I weighed over 250 pounds? The diet in combination with no exercise did a number on my body and my brain. When it became time to lose the weight I stopped eating fast food. Cold turkey! It was hard. I wanted pizza so badly but I resisted and the only “fast food” I ate was Subway. Or was it?


NOPE! I was still eating fast food–just in a different form and in lower calories. For three years I ate Lean Cuisines in order to lose weight and yes, I realize they aren’t healthy. But it did the trick. It was portion controlled, low in calories, and honestly didn’t taste that bad. It was also good because I hated cooking. Funny how things change, huh?

Then something happened. I met this guy:

Michael is a foodie. He taught me to become a foodie. He was all about eating real food. He nagged me to no end about the “crap” I was eating and how it was poison to my body (so true). The other thing he taught me was fine dining. Before, “fine dining” meant Red Robin, Azteca Mexican Restaurants and Chevy’s. Hmmm. Not quite.

Chez Machin

Michael exposed me to REAL restaurants. Not chains. Not fast food. Fine dining doesn’t have to mean expensive, either. One of the things I love most about the hobbies that we share is that we can go out to restaurants and try new things. I found that I loved trying new restaurants! It became a thing to do.

Gruner

And we are lucky to live in Portland where there are some pretty amazing restaurants here. In three and a half years of being together we still have not tried all the fantastic restaurants here yet. We have some favorites and I have to admit, the highlight of going out is trying somewhere new.

Meriwether's

The way Michael first exposed me to fine dining was in Vegas, honestly. I was there with a friend and he was there with a friend playing poker and the four of us went to Tao in the Venetian. It was one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had. I wasn’t a huge sushi fan then yet so it was a completely new and foreign experience for me.


It opened my eyes to another world, though. There was something better out there. There was a reason to eat food! It tasted GOOD! It didn’t have to be crap ordered from a window. Or something frozen and reheated. A year later when Michael and I went back to Vegas together as a couple he surprised me yet again with the best meal of my entire life:

Craftsteak

Craftsteak in the MGM Grand Casino, owned by the awesome Tom Collicchio from Top Chef (my favorite show)! I was floored by the surprise and completely blown away by the food. This is what food tastes like. Wow. It changed my palate. I suddenly became picky about eating crap. I wanted to eat REAL food. The kind of food that was healthier; whole foods, fresh foods. It was a huge, eye-opening experience for me.

This also lead me to want to make better food. I started practicing in the kitchen. With Michael’s help I learned how to cook. They aren’t all winners, of course, but most of the time the meals I make turn out pretty good. Michael is a patient teacher in the kitchen. He understands that good food takes patience and practice. I’m learning that. Now if I’m given the option between quickie meals from the freezer or something fresh and lovely, I’d rather spend the time cooking that instead.

It’s been a life changing journey.

QUESTION: What is your experience with fast food and fine dining?

 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency *