Monday, April 26, 2010

'Twas quite good, yes.

Another issue I have in restaurants is the concern the server has about my uneaten portion of the meal. I assume that on the server's part, he/she is doing some kind of damage control, just asking if my meal was alright. I usually say "yes," then ask for a to-go box. Yes, it looks like I didn't eat even half of my meal, but it's all good! And, by the way, relative to the portion size...I mean, dang, what am I supposed to do?!

Well, what I am apparently supposed to do is clean my plate. You know that whole "clean your plate" thing? Taught to young children without the added warning that heartburn may be a side effect of the good practice of eating everything that is served to you.

Often noted as a factor in our national obesity, the ever growing portion control sizes of restaurant meals may have led to people feeling as stuffed as they do at Thanksgiving every time they went to Applebee's.

And you know what? I don't want to do that anymore.

It wasn't just about the servers. I mean, damn, it almost doesn't even matter if the server asks how my meal was because even if it wasn't the best, I would say it was fine (unless I suspected bacon, of course). For me, for a while, it was also about the company I was with. For a while, I was eating out a lot with my boyfriend's parents who would always pay the bill. I made the effort to choose something on the menu that I figured wouldn't be overwhelming, that I figured I could comfortably finish. I didn't want his parent's to plop down 10 or more bucks for me to just be picking at my plate.

I am totally not blaming portion sizes (aka, the restaurants themselves). You can do whatever you want with the food you (intend to) pay for. Even of the portion sizes were smaller, I have found that as an individual, I just can't eat a lot.

I sure don't look it, but I have a small appetite.

I had to realize this. After problems with heartburn, breathing, and knowing that I wasn't chewing effectively (which was even harder when I got braces), I decided that I needed to take a chill pill and start paying attention to my body. And responding to it.

I don't have to clear my plate. I don't have to eat until I feel 100% full. I am sure I have a pretty smart brain and my systems can signal me that enough is enough.

Again, I am totally not blaming portion sizes because I, myself, am often to blame. I do this thing where I indulge. I get a bit more than I think I want. I take a bit of this, walk on, then step back to take a bit more. I am terrible with this at buffets. First of all, I take a bit of everything which I know just ends up as a plate of vastly different flavors melding with each other; what's the point of that? Second, I don't trust my first instinct to stop adding to my plate. My survival mode is kicking in at the wrong time...

It's almost sad, but figuring out how much I want/need to eat at a given meal has made me focus more on breathing, too. Breathing. It seems like something we're all good at...or maybe not. Maybe it's something we just don't think about since we kinda don't have to. But as I try to pay more attention to all parts of my meal--looking at what I eat, chewing effectively, eating slower and stopping at the first feeling of satiation--I am more receptive of one of the basic rhythms of my body: breathing.

Yes, the meal was great. Excuse me while I step out for a breather. | Why portion control matters
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