This weekend, I headed down to Philly for a fantastic bachelorette weekend for my friend Kelly. Although Kelly and I both went to NYU for college and lived in the same dorm freshman year, we didn’t meet until we started our first post-college job and were in the same analyst start group. We immediately clicked though, and decided to live together a year later. Kel has since moved from New York to Chicago for b-school, and is now living with her fiance in Denver, so I don’t get to see her that often, but when I do, I’m amazed at how we still “click” and just get each other so well.
On Friday night, the three other bridesmaids in town and I took Kelly to a Phillies game – and consumed a bit more beer than we bargained for. (You know you’ve had too much to drink when a rain-drenched outfit doesn’t stop you from riding a mechanical bull and then dancing on bar tables all night long!) I, for one, woke up on Saturday morning vowing to be a bit more prudent about my calorie consumption. There’s a reason they call it a “beer belly” – the good stuff is not exactly low-cal!
But Saturday was Kelly’s bridal shower, and there was so much delicious food at the Italian restaurant where we hosted the event that I quickly let that vow go out the window. Even after I had eaten far too much hot bruschetta and decadent veal parmigiana, the dessert table beckoned. Cupcakes and cannoli and chocolate covered strawberries, oh my!
We had an amazing time at the brunch, but I left feeling a little bit sick to my stomach from all the sugar I had consumed. You would think that yucky feeling would have reigned me in from overeating later that night, but once again, the temptation proved too hard to resist, and I enjoyed plenty of flatbread pizza, steamed dumplings, and pretzel crisps along with drinks before we headed out for our “pub golf” night. Not the smartest strategy for staying healthy and losing weight!
Lying in bed at the end of the wonderful evening, Kelly and I started talking about diet philosophies. Like many brides, she’s working hard to look her best for the wedding (and it’s paying off, as she looked stunning this weekend!). But as we talked about our struggles in eating well, working out, and attempting to lose some “vanity pounds”, I realized that we shared a lot of the same thinking. I confessed that while I was snacking on all the munchies that night, I had wondered if my friends were noticing how much I was eating and being privately appalled at the quantity – but Kelly said that she was thinking the exact same thing, that she had been the glutton! I was so sure that I had eaten far more than my share that I didn’t notice that we were all doing/thinking the same. It made me feel a little better to know that we all face the same challenges and have similar struggles to stop eating when something is delicious.
I think the key, as always, is just trying to find balance. We all go nuts from time to time, but then there are days when I either get busy or am honestly not that hungry, and eat less than my target. I can’t claim to be an intuitive eater by any means (in part because I think the former types of days tend to outnumber the latter – oops!), but I realized that maybe my “gosh why am I so weird” thinking is what we all go through when faced with tasty treats, even if we know it won’t make us feel great later. While eyeing the flatbread that night, I knew I was going to regret eating it in the morning – but I decided I didn’t care and was going to eat it anyway. Sometimes we make bad choices like that, but discussing it with Kel made me realize that we all do it. It can be frustrating when you delay your ultimate goals, but it isn’t anything to be embarrassed or beat ourselves up about; it’s just part of the ups-and-downs that you have to accept and move forward.
On a slightly-related topic, that whole overindulgent weekend now has me contemplating a passage from a book I recently finished reading, Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Chef. While recounting a “food marathon” Ferriss did in NYC (eating the best dish at 26 different restaurants), he paused for an excerpt of another of his books, Four Hour Body. Ferriss describes a very specific protocol for eating a large quantity of food at one time without gaining weight – essentially, by trying to get the food to pass through your system as quickly as possible without settling into fat stores. (Here’s a blog post that summarizes the method.) I find it really intriguing (although more than a little gimmicky), and while I think generally we need to strive for balance, I keep wondering if strategies like this might be good to follow when we do indulge. The author of that blog post, Joe Garma, does a follow up where he concludes that it didn’t work for him… but he also notes that he didn’t follow the protocol exactly, so it’s hard to draw direct conclusions. My curiosity is piqued…