Friday, November 03, 2006

Freakin' Friday

It's to the point I almost dread Friday and the weekends. Friday night to Sunday night is without doubt the hardest part of my week when it comes to staying on track with food and exercise.

Monday through Friday (morning that is), I have no problem sticking to my usual routine, bouncing out of bed and hopping onto the treadmill. Then Saturday and Sunday mornings come; I want to sleep in, I want to lounge around, I don't want to sweat.

Then comes breakfast. Saturday morning comes and hubby's frying himself eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, whatever the craving might be, filling my house with the aroma of temptation. It's hard to look at my Eggbeaters, oatmeal or fiber cereal with the same gusto when daughter is slurping down the strips of bacon she steals off her daddy's plate.

Saturday is Mabel's acrobatics class. If I'm really good, I get on the treadmill at the gym where the dance studio is located and burn off a few extra calories while I wait. But like I said, it's hard to fight that weekend mode, especially if I have errands I can do. Class ends at noon, and invariably my daughter then begs for her drive-thru kid's meal. I know, if I was Super Mom I'd steer her away from the evil axis of the Fast Food Empires and take her home for carrot sticks and sandwiches with whole grain bread. She actually WILL eat those foods for me regularly (the child loves odd foods like lima beans, edamame, cauliflower), and the child is so extremely active that I don't like to be a tyrant about healthy foods. This is a kid who requests Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast (yes, there's sugar on them, but at least it's not Sugar Frosted Chocolate Bombs or something like that) and apples for snacks, so I think I've managed to teach her a decent balance when it comes to food.

Actually, I really envy some of her eating habits. She eats when she's hungry, turns down food when she isn't, and actually stops when she's full -- even with dessert! As I was dropping her off at her school bus stop this morning she handed me the tiny remainder of her "after breakfast snack" (one of Hungry Girl's delicious Krispymallow Treats) and I thought to myself, "It's such a little bit; why can't she just eat it and not make me drag it around in the car until I can find a garbage can?" Then I immediately had two thoughts in response: 1. Yea for me for not just absent-mindedly popping it into my gullet, and 2. Thank goodness I didn't argue with her and try to convert her into membership with the Clean Plate Club. We have enough members, thank you very much!

So anyway, back to the subject of weekends. If I can manage to wait until I get home from the drive-thru to eat a healthy lunch at home, I'm still not out of the woods for the weekend lunches. Because lurking around the corner is Sunday lunch, which is nine times out of ten with the in-laws. I've mentioned before how much this family I married into loves to eat, and Sunday is one of their favorite times to do it. The only thing they love almost as much as food and eating is driving, so they have no problem with driving 45 minutes, sometimes nearly 2 hours to one of their favorite restaurants. And it's usually either an all-you-can-eat buffet, a diner full of deep fried and gravy-covered foods, or sometimes the surf and turf or Italian places. There have been many, many Sundays that I've caved to the temptations and lack of healthy alternatives and eaten what I shouldn't. But I also have a nice catalog of days that I've succeeded in putting together a healthy meal and smiled to myself when everyone around me is opening their pants buttons and groaning while I feel satisfied and comfortable.

But wait, don't forget supper time! Weekends are when my husband gets the itch to go out for dinner, and we usually go at least once, perhaps twice if we already have plans with friends or family. And if we don't eat out, weekend dinners are usually thrown together or else high on the comfort-food list. Again, I have my triumphs and failures; the worst is when I struggle through Friday and Saturday without a binge and then completely fall off the wagon Sunday is some kind of rebellious-rebound effect.

This all leads me to this weekend. Saturday night, as I explained in yesterday's post, is the double birthday dinner at the surf and turf place. Well, I forgot that last weekend I promised Hubby I'd take him to Red Lobster for a late birthday present, and he wants to go tonight. So now I've got two dangerous dinners to deal with, and with my luck a big Sunday lunch to boot.

It's bargaining time. If I can really excel at one meal sometimes I allow myself a little leeway with another one. For example, Red Lobster has a great LightHouse Menu that I've eaten several times before and been very pleased. They even have a "Create Your Meal" feature online that allows you to pinpoint exactly what you're going to eat and know precisely how many calories, fat grams, etc., you're getting. If I can manage a 600 to 700-calorie meal there Friday night, maybe I'll allow myself to not worry about every single calorie Saturday night, since the restaurant is not a national chain and doesn't have "healthy" entrees and doesn't provide all the nutritional information in their menu or online. I can still steer myself towards healthier foods, but I don't have to spend the whole night estimating and calculating calories in my head. And perhaps that will keep me from going haywire on Sunday and blowing all my hard work out the window.

Besides, I have to be "good" tonight -- tomorrow is Weigh-In Day! It's gonna' be tough, though. In another crazy promise I made my husband last week (I must have been delusional from all the last-minute craziness before our trip), I ordered him a dozen of his favorite dessert, burnt sugar gobs. Have I mentioned these on here before? Our hometown bakery is well known for its burnt sugar cake, the primary ingredient being a carmelized or "burnt" sugar. This cake was always my Grandma's choice for birthday cakes, and to this day I must have one for my own birthday. In the last few years they've used the leftover batter to make gobs -- or whoopie pies, depending on your location and terminology. The two pieces of cake sandwich a layer of the burnt sugar icing, and the whole thing melts in your mouth like a slice of heaven (sorry, I definitely fell into some food porn there!).

Anyway, I've got a dozen of these evil little things in my house right now, taunting me! Yes, how quickly something can turn from heavenly to demonic! I thanked the girl at the bakery for sealing the box with cling film and tape, because, as I told her, "It'll keep me from sneaking into them before my husband gets home." Actually, I'm hoping to avoid them entirely today (that weigh-in is a powerful thing, my friends), and maybe allow myself one tomorrow. ONE. Not two, three, six... a dozen. You know how it goes.

This has been a long post! Let's hope it gave me extra fortification to fight the good fight this weekend. Wish me luck!


Lori said...

Wow, that's a lot of eating out and I can see why you dread it.

So you did a great job of looking up the lighthouse menu at Red Lobster. Keep the biscuits on his side and if you have to eat a biscuit, break it up in small pieces and eat it really slowly.

Maybe you can leave your husband and daughter alone to enjoy that breakfast and you could go do something while they eat. You'd avoid smelling all of that.(Maybe you can talk him into eating those cakes for breakfast.)

And it sounds like Mabel has a good handle on food.

Buffets. This book we are reading, Mindless Eating, says to only put two items on your plate when at a buffet. You probably already know the drill of going around and looking to see what's there and picking out what you want to eat beforehand.

The other thing to keep in mind is this: you've been faced with this situation now for a long time and you have managed to keep that weight off and lose weight.

Be a reporter and tell us where you ate and tell us what your m-in-law prepared and maybe we can come up with a way to pare it down even further. The exercise...well, I find it easier for me on weekends because I'm not at work and the gym is easier to get into.

Good luck on the weekend!

Grumpy Chair said...

Like Lori's suggestion, I always make myself scarce when my family does take out.

Thursday night, I was too tired to cook, and asked husband to pick up pizza for him and the kids. While they went out to pick-up the pizza, I ran a bath and soaked for an hour. By the time I finished my bath, pizza was eaten and any leftovers were put away - out of my sight.