the trouble with home-cooked meals

7 Aug

A multiple choice question for you.

When trying to maintain a healthy diet, which would you prefer:

A.  a home-cooked meal

B. eating at a restaurant

Prior to last week, I would have chosen (without a second thought) choice A.

With “A” I have more control and much less temptation.  There are no surprises, and I know exactly what I am about to eat and how that might affect my progress on this weight loss journey.

The sad realization is that there is a BIG problem with choosing “A”.  “A” not only includes a home cooked meal prepared in the safety of your own house where you can read labels and substitute less than desirable ingredients with higher fiber/lower fat alternatives.  No, what lurks in the “A” category are home cooked meals made by our friends and family.  Meals cooked with love and all the good intentions to leave you feeling satisfied.  Meals that unfortunately also  threaten to sabotage your efforts to eat healthier.

Think about this for a second, because this is a rude awakening that I had last week.  TB had family in town.  When family is in town that means one thing…a lot of  family meals and gatherings.  Restaurants, our house, his parent’s house, his brother’s new girlfriend’s house..you get the picture.  It’s what I could best describe as a “Taste of” festival of nonstop eating, drinking and reckless abandonment of the rules I’ve learned and the path I so desperately need and want to take.

By the time this love fest ended, I was left feeling sick and less than satisfied.

I hoisted myself onto the scale to see digits that had disappeared weeks ago.  Oh…SO NOT WORTH IT!

Which is why I am asking you guys this very important question.  What do you do when faced with a home-cooked meal at someone else’s house?  Do you just go with the flow in fear of insulting them?  Do you mention that you’re trying to eat healthier and imply that they clearly are not.  What an awkward situation.

I tried to make healthy decisions as much as I could, but honestly can say I was simply not prepared for what was transpiring.  The thought never occurred to me that having people in town could get me so off track.

The nights we went out for dinner at local restaurants were much easier than those nights of sitting around a table with Thanksgiving like portions of lasagna, cheesy garlic bread, caesar salad with loads of dressing and vegetables dripping with butter.  Good Grief!  Not to mention the desserts, wine, and sugary after-dinner coffees!

At least at a restaurant I can plan ahead, try to find the nutritional value of the meal prior to leaving the house and have a tight game plan.

The only thing I know now is that after last week this girl desperately needs an action plan for these dangerous home-cooked meals.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Longing for a way to see the glass half full, I did see one tiny silver lining in this past week.  I felt miserable.  I was bloated, my body ached and I felt absolutely BLAH!  It literally felt like I was hungover from food.  I know it may seem weird that I am calling this my silver lining, but it really is!  I’ve eaten like this before (too many times to count).  The difference…I can recognize that it makes me feel bad.  You see, prior to this journey I thought that blah, bloated feeling was normal.  At least it was MY normal.  Feeling sluggish and tired and just all together crummy was status quo.  This realization gives me hope.  I can literally feel the damage that I am doing to my body.  I feel as though for the first time I am aware of bad decisions and can hear my body talking back.  And believe me…it is NOT happy!

So, my point (600+ words later) is to warn you: Don’t be fooled by a home cooked meal.  They are not all created equal…and some are much worse than what you’d find at a restaurant.  But seriously, if anyone has any suggestions on how to handle yourself when faced with plates of calories and evil temptations…please let me know.  After this week, I’ve decided that I want a solid holiday game plan.  I know we’re months away from the holidays, but never too early to prepare!  I’m going to need some preparation and LOTS of practice to say no thank you, no sir and no ma’am!

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6 Responses to “the trouble with home-cooked meals”

  1. Fit B August 8, 2010 at 4:54 am #

    I agree a home cooked meal is not always the best choice! I love to cook though and prefer it over eating out any day!
    I have made my journey public to friends and family so they know not to force me into eating bad food and usually there is always a healthy alternative where I am going. But it is vital to plan ahead sometimes I bring my healthy snacks with me.

    • oddsagainstme August 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

      Hi Fit B! Thanks for the comment! Yes, I am beginning to think in order to cope with these situations I probably do need to get to the point where I feel comfortable telling everyone about this journey. Part of me hesitates doing this because I sometimes get discouraged by the unpaid/unasked food partrol that typically emerge once you declare you are trying to eat better. Although their intentions are good, it sometimes causes more stress.
      Although The Boyfriend’s family is unaware, I’ve told my family and they are supportive….gotta love friends and family that root for you!

  2. Dee Dieter August 8, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    Great point. I would also pick the home cooked meal, if I was cooking it. I know that restaurants pour on extra oil when we’re not looking (lol). At my sister-in-law’s house for dinner one time (skinny, by the way) I thought I would do well and, you’re right, all she had was KFC (yuck) and baked beans and potato salad…everything high calorie that you could possibly imagine. I certainly wasn’t prepared for that. So in that case, a restaurant would have been a better choice.

    How to handle this…difficult? I don’t like to draw a lot of attention to myself about “dieting.” Yeah, who wants to hear about that again. I think eating a good snack (mini-meal) before you go would help and BYOF (offer to make something and at least there will be something you know is healthy). Hmmm, what else? Avoidance (lol). If you are comfortable with “coming out” about your healthy eating, that’s probably the best thing … that way you won’t feel the pressure to eat and you are also accountable then because all eyes are on you 🙂

    Thanks for the great read.

    • oddsagainstme August 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

      Dee Dieter, I KNOW those restaurants are SUPER sneaky! 🙂 It’s like everyone is out to get us, right!?! LOL! I don’t know why I am surprised though. When I am eating at someone else’s house, we are usually celebrating something or it’s a special occasion. So I shouldn’t be surprised that there are going to be devilish food options, right? After all, when people come over to dinner at my house, it’s not like they are being served guilt-free salad wraps!
      What a wonderful suggestion to BYOF! I do it with my family (mom and sis) all the time…I could have totally done that with the boyfriend’s family! Afterall, I LOVE sharing my healthy finds with other people! Secretly, between us girls, I also like your idea of avoidance, but something tells me they’d catch on after a while! 😉

      You and Fit B are so right…at some point, I need to “come out of the pantry” (lol). What would be great is if by the holidays it was so obvious to people what I am doing that are able to see the difference! I think I might make that my goal –along with the goal of creating sinfully healthy dishes to bring along with me! Thanks so much for the wonderful comments!!

  3. Angela (the diet book junkie) August 10, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    yeah….it’s not easy when everyone around you is eating in reckless abandon. eating is such a social thing, that’s why weekend are the death of me! (well, at least my diet anyway.) lucky for me, my friends all know my diet so if they ask me over for dinner, they always ask what to make first. but if you don’t have that luxury, my advice would be…hmn….smaller portions? and avoid calories in your drink. OR if that’s asking too much, vodka/diet coke is good 🙂 and stay away from red wine, it’ll sparks your appetite.

    • oddsagainstme August 14, 2010 at 5:23 am #

      Hi Angela!

      Great tips! Weekends are rough for me as well! I’ll admit that I get on the scale WAY TOO MUCH and every week I see a dip by the end of the week and a spike on the weekends! It’s crazy!

      I did have the opportunity to practice eating at someone else’s house again this week. My options: Grilled pork chop, grilled sausage or grilled steak and mashed potatoes w/ butter on the side. My choice: 1/2 of steak trimmed of fat and I ate half of the mashed potatoes (no butter)…drank water and FELT GREAT! I did it! I found better choices without it destroying me! Although, I did have a glass of red wine later in the evening…so interesting you should make that comment because I was feeling quite hungry by the time I got home. I drank a glass of milk and went to bed! Crisis averted! So is it sugar in red wine that sparks the appetite? Rats!!!

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