Today was a Savannah Saturday. This week was Fall registration at my wife's college, and she had to pull a 10-2 Saturday shift. I drove in with her and then went over to their library where I hung out with the laptop. After 2:00 rolled around, we went to grab some lunch.
Well, not exactly "grabbed", but instead we "buffet'ed" our lunch. We ate at Ryan's, this being notable for it being the first time I'd darkened the door of a buffet restaurant since before joining Weight Watchers. My last visit to a Golden Old Ryan's Country Corral Buffet was Saturday, May 3 - at the Golden Corral in Bluffton. It was a melancholy meal, because that pigout was my final free-for-all. ("Free" being a relative word; dem places ain't cheap)
There's no ambiguity about my feelings, dearfolk -- I was afraid. Afraid, when faced with the steaming pile of fried chicken in the bin, that nearly four months of good behavior would shatter. And, once I fell off the wagon, it'd be easy to do again.
It's ironic, you know that? My wife is the one who first joined WW and wanted to change her habits and drop some pounds. Seraphim joined up late in March, and many of you remember I was going to "mooch" off her literature. I looked at the point values, realized what I was going to be missing out on, and said - in the words of my friend Lance from college - "F(BLEEP)k this s(BLEEP)t." My eating habits, most of you know, were more embedded than those graffiti-covered Cadillacs along Route 66 in Texas. I knew I too badly needed to shed some lard ... just that I had zero confidence I could pull off the changes in food regimen. I loved my cashews too much. I loved my Coca-Colas and Squirts too much. And I loved my Golden Corral too much.
For six weeks I tried a few changes, like drinking tea at restaurants and cutting out Coca-Cola altogether. Eventually my brain's "cosmic tumblers" hit 7-7-7, then issued the memo to my body, and on 2008's Cinco De Mayo, I joined up and "went on program", as they like to say in WW.
And I'm proud to say I've largely stayed on the wagon. It's MY WIFE who's tumbled off the Radio Flyer a few times. I figured I'd be the one to bend, twist, contort, sneak, cheat, fudge and otherwise pull a full frontal Bill Clinton on the Weight Watchers plan. No, my wife has done the "misbehaving", such as it is. To her credit, she's done amazing well, considering. She's dropped around 36 pounds, more than she's ever done - not counting that disastrous flirtation with Medi-Fast back in the '90s (before I knew her).
Have I been 100% Boy Scout-like in my behavior? No. I've "bent" a time or two, usually a point here and there, saying I'll "walk it off" later in the evening and end up not doing so. Since May 5, I'd say I have consciously fudged between 5 and 10 points. That's for 16 weeks. I don't count the popcorn miscount back in June, nor the back-to-back meals at Bennigan's and Logan's Roadhouse, when I had to guess at most everything I ate. Truth is, I guessed as honestly as I could.
I've been amazed at myself that I could pull this off. What I find most interesting is that I don't feel as hungry during the day as I used to. Popcorn in the morning helps a great deal. The breakfast of champions, boy! It's a long way from cashews, frosted cherry Pop-Tarts and Lay's Stax, washed down by Coke after Coke after ice cold Coke. Things go better with Coke. Or used to.
All these thoughts were at the front of my mind as we entered Ryan's. My hope was to consume no more than 50 points (all 38 daily + 12 points drawn from the weekly pile), leaving enough for something from Subway for supper later in the evening. Could I do this?
I knew this really was a brand new era when I ordered water. Total cost $0.00 (instead of the outrageous $1.69 for sodas and tea). And it being Saturday, the total tab was $17 and change.
What did I have? Well, I went wild with the fried chicken, as I usually did. Had four breast pieces (it was 2:30 and I was, like, starving). 8 points per cluck ta-ta. Then I had corn (1 point), half a cup of rice (2 points), and about 6 ounces total of baked fish (damn good, and 4 points for that spread). My total pointage for this meal at Ryan's? 39. My daily allotment of points is now 38, and I'd already accrued one (1) point of activity for 15 minutes' worth of walking to and from the library. Zero sum. So I did a buffet restaurant pretty much within the daily limit.
It's an event of seismic change. I did a rough total of what I'd put away at Golden Corral or Ryan's in times past. Usually 3-5 chicken breasts, as many as half a dozen pieces of fish (fried, not baked), french fries (x2), two or more slices of pepperoni pizza ... and, of course, as many Cokes as the server could bring me (provided they actually remembered us!). What it amounted to was, on average, I figured I managed to consume as many as 75-80 points (sometimes more!!!) in one sitting at a buffet restaurant.
But you know what? I didn't feel any pining for the old habits as I ate. What I instead felt, as I looked toward the serving bars, was "I don't want to go back to those days." What didn't hinder that feeling was seeing two of the restaurant managers, both of who looked in their 30s. Both of them had massive guts. Of course, my commenting on "spare tires" amounts to something containing the words "pot", "kettle" and "black" ...... I'll just say that my gut at its worst (295 pounds four months ago) was no match for those managers.
The fact is, I can't - and won't - go back to that number again.
It also gives me hope for my upcoming trip to Birmingham at the first of October. That trip is one of two "backslide" weeks I've built into my weight-loss goal schedule; the other backslide being West Virginia this coming February. I won't go back into sugared drinks (I can never again do so), however I won't count points during vacation weeks. I'll consider anything less than 1.5 pounds gained to be a "success", and then back on program I'll go.
This foretells a week in Birmingham that won't be as off-the-chart as I've been afraid of. If I could behave myself in the Devil's living room, welllllll thennnnnn...... We'll have to see if this mindset holds up. As always, news updates at :55, bulletins at any time.
As for today, though, I defeated The Great Buffet Satan. I jammed that bastard's head right into the sneeze shield.
That meal was followed by us racking up 40 minutes' worth of walking around both Forsyth Park, then the Ogeechee Canal park outside Pooler. Later for me it was chicken sammichs for supper ... leaving me nearly 15 of my weekly points. I've done good.
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "Feeding Trough" Gleck
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