I swear sometimes I think I must LIKE being fat. Because every time I work myself into a tizzy about how I'm going to lose weight and how egg whites are my friend, I almost immediately am overcome by a overwhelming neeeeeeeed for Target's brand trail mix. You know, the kind with the peanuts and raisins and chocolate chips and M&Ms. And every time, I am somehow able to find a way to rationalize it, or just block it out. "Well, each piece of the mix is so tiny, it can't possibly add up to much, right?" Even though I read the nutritional information and know full well that their 14 servings equal 3 of mine and that I'm fulfilling an entire day's worth of fat intake as I drive between Target and home, I am somehow unable to keep my hand from blindly reaching back into the bag, carefully feeling for the smooth, cool surface of M&M, because every bite MUST have the crunch of hard candy shell.
What the fuck is wrong with me??!!
This evening I dined at Cheesecake Factory with two of my friends. I should have been home eating a chicken breast, skinless and baked, accompanied by steamed broccoli, but I had a baby shower to plan with the other girls, so we opted to dine out, sans toddlers. So, I was faced with that menu--the bible of the Fattie. I no longer even allow myself to look at the dishes laden in butter and oil, dripping with cream sauces and fat. No, I go straight to the "Weight Management" section.
If you've ever dined at Cheesecake Factory, you know the menu is a short novella of choices. There are no fewer than six pages of options, the vast majority of which could easily feed a small village of orphans in Central America, and make several of them look at their profile in a mirror after eating and say, "Wow, I shouldn't have eaten all of my portion. I'm chunking up!" You've got two pages of "appetizers" (read: this will only feed 2 people, so don't rely on it for your entire meal...), followed by a page of sandwiches, a page of pastas, a page of specialties, a page of "salads" (read: a head of lettuce doused in a pool of enough dressing to drown a small child), and the list goes on. My memory is weak on this because it's been so long since I've allowed myself to peruse.
The great minds at the Cheesecake Factory decided to brainstorm and come up with tasty menu items that actually won't contribute to coronary artery disease and they came up with FOUR choices for those of us who don't want to kill ourselves slowly with food. FOUR. Four salads.
And no matter what you do, no matter how subtle you try to be about the fact that you're ordering from the fat lady's section, the waiter ALWAYS has to make a point of saying, out loud, "You want the weight management salad?" Um. Yes. That's why I asked for the Spicy Chicken Salad (which is NOWHERE else on the menu) AND why I pointed to it on the menu while ordering. But PLEASE, by all means, highlight for everyone else at my table that I am going to eat a head of lettuce w/ my lo-cal dressing on the side, while they enjoy Thai (tub o' peanut butter) and Cajun (pint o' cream) pastas. Is there a spot under the table where I can enjoy my shameful fat-girl meal in peace? Thanks.
Tonight I experimented with being very open about my fatty-fat-fatness and got all self depricating about my attempts at weight loss (what with the move to LA, the land of the beautiful skinny folk). I learned quickly that people don't know what to do with you when you make jokes about how chubby you are. Nervous laughter and another glass of wine pretty much sums it up. Oh how I love being the source of social awkwardness.
Talk about awkward, when the waiter came knocking to see if we wanted to get dessert (um, YESSSSSSS, PLEASE!!!! I love no dessert more than Cheesecake Factory cheesecake), my skinniest friend, who happened to be sitting to my right, said, almost Pavlovianly, "Banana-cream cheesecake, please," and sigh....
I had to sit next to her while she ate it. Injustice, thy name is cheesecake!!! This girl is so thin, her triceps are easily the size of my pointer finger. She has the metabolism of a hummingbird and a heart of gold. I love her, but sometimes I secretly loathe how easily she seems to be/stay skinny.
Thankfully there was nothing remotely chocolatey about her dessert or I don't know that I'd be able to report, as I can now, that I did not eat even tiny one bite (even though, out of the goodness of her misguided heart, she offered me a bite every. other. second--I think she might have offered because of all the drooling and staring I was doing?). It's actually not surprising that I was able to abstain, considering I was still feeling nauseaus from the M&M trail mix that was churning in my stomach, now mixed with lo-cal vinaigrette. Delish.
At the end of the meal, I marched out of the restaurant with my "to go" bag of salad (I even went so far as to ask for the box before my salad came so I could take 1/2 of it out of the plate before starting to eat), feeling pretty good about myself. I did have a glass of Pinot Grigio, but NONE of the tasty bread they put on your table and only half of my WEIGHT-FUCKING-MANAGEMENT salad (which is 590 calories if you eat the whole thing). I felt light and only half-full, as opposed to some of the people I saw at their tables, leaning back and sweating a bit as they tried to get through their heaping bowl of creamy pastas (you know when you have to take a deep breath and blow out through puffed cheeks that maybe it's time to stop, right?).
Of course, an hour later, I am madly trying to convince myself that since I was so good at dinner, I definitely can afford to have that vanilla slim-a-bear ice cream sandwich in the freezer that is currently SCREAMING at me. This is why I stay the same 162 pounds forever and ever. Every time I do something that MIGHT lead to me losing and ounce or two, I reward myself with a food-related treat.
Dumb, dumb chubby girl....