Weighty Matters

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Social Eating

on March 13, 2012

I’m going out to dinner with friends tonight.  It’s the first time since I’ve been on “solid” foods and only the second time since the surgery almost seven weeks ago.  Most of the time I either eat alone at home or here at work which are not exactly social occasions.

I’m confident that I will find something on the menu that I can eat.  Even though I’m ostensibly on a solid or “regular” diet now, it doesn’t mean that I can pick anything that I want.  The nutritional guidelines tell me to gradually reintroduce my body to different foods, preferably at the slow rate of one “new” food every few days.  My stomach is not yet ready for me to feed it filet mignon or a pork chop.  The guidelines suggest starting with flaky, mild fish (I hate seafood.) or dark meat of chicken.  The dark meat is more juicy and tender and they tell me I can ingest that more easily.

I know the restaurant where we’re going.  I know I can get a chicken dish, even if I’m not able to specify thigh or leg meat.  That’s okay, I’ll make sure to eat the chicken breast slowwwwwwly so it doesn’t stick anywhere.  Oh, the things to think about!  Actually, I hope that they still make their pistachio encrusted chicken wrap.  If I remember correctly, there are spring greens inside the wrap and serve it with rice and black beans.  If that’s on the menu, I can deconstruct it by picking out the cut up chicken and adding a small dab of honey mustard if needed to moisten.  I couple of modest forkfuls of beans (more protein) and rice with some spring greens and I’ll have a more than satisfying meal.

As long as I pay attention.  Social eating is a challenge to mindful eating.  It is hard to focus on what’s on the fork while simultaneously chatting and laughing.  So, that’s the big reminder that I need to take with me to the restaurant.  Whatever I order to eat, I need to still concentrate on what and how I’m eating in the moment.  I can stay within my guidelines and food plan and not overstuff myself.  Can I do it and keep up with the conversation?  I guess I’ll find out!

Since I don’t plan to live the rest of my life as a food hermit, I need to begin learning how to mindfully eat even when I’m out with others.  I know it can be done.  It’s just another new experience.  Hopefully it will work as another tool to put in my kit!

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6 responses to “Social Eating

  1. londonmabel says:

    Having supportive friends is important. Whenever I’m around someone who’s dieting etc. I try to be very conscious of not sabotaging them! Anyway, good job.

  2. Renee says:

    YAY – glad it went well and you came away with a good sense of accomplishment. You can do this, I have no doubts!

  3. Mary Stella says:

    Everything went great at dinner tonight. The friends I was with know all about my surgery and what I need to do when I eat. I’ve been pretty open and honest with the people in my life. When I ordered we talked about why I’d chosen the dish.

    As planned, I picked out all of the chicken from half of the wrap and ate each bite slowly but with great pleasure. I tried some of the spring greens. I ate a couple of forkfuls of beans and rice.

    One great suggestion from the nutritionist is that it’s good to stop eating before I feel completely full so that I don’t overeat. When I assessed, based on the portions I’d eaten, that I’d had enough, I asked the waiter for a to-go box and packed the rest away. That way there wouldn’t still be a plate of food in front of me while my friends and I chatted. It would have been all too easy, and “normal” behavior for me to keep picking. So, I followed my new normal and got the leftovers out of my sight and reach.

    I feel great about this foray into social eating! It’s an NSV for me tonight.

    Thanks for your support!

  4. susan lindley says:

    I m sure you did fine. First of all you are planing ahead. Secondly, you are a great person to be with and can handle dinner out without it being a big whoha (is that even a word?). You have it down pat what to do and how to handle meals. It is not a diet,really, we are changing eating habit that,with time, will be part of your life. You control what you eat,and you do it all with confidence and positive attitude, then it will become habit. I say all this because i believe it, and try to follow it everyday. If i slip get back up and move forward.
    I cant wait to hear how your night out went, i am sure even the left overs you with make something yummie for another day.

  5. Rebecca (one of them) says:

    Social eating can be hard, Do these people know you are on a diet? That can make it easier, but sometimes it can feel harder if you feel you are being judged.

    Good luck. One step at a time.

  6. Kate George says:

    Good luck Mary Stella. I know you can make this step with grace and ease. Just remind yourself to focus on the fork every time you pick it up. You’ll do fine.

    I, however, would be a mess! If it were possible to be a food hermit with six people in the house, then that’s what I should be.

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