I did an unbelievable thing last night. Something I’m quite sure I’ve never done before. Even now, hours later, I’m still surprised by it.
I went to dinner at the home of some friends. I’d not said anything to them about being on any kind of diet. That was quite deliberate, because I don’t necessarily want people going out of their way to feed me food they think will be okay, and then having them stress that I can’t eat whatever it is they’ve been generous enough to serve me. Besides, I know these people are pretty conscious about eating healthy food, and they grow almost all their own vegetables, so I knew that even if the meal was outside my prescribed diet, it would be good for me and it would taste great. Seriously, that’s all anybody should hope for in a free meal, right?
Dinner was a superb lamb korma, served with rice, papadoms and a wonderful yogurt, cucumber and tomato mixture. I’d brought a bottle of wine which complemented it very well. I enjoyed every mouthful of the meal – and even went back for seconds, although I struggled to finish the last mouthfulls (and shouldn’t have, really). Once the plates were cleared away, my host offered his home-made Sticky Date Pudding as dessert. My tastebuds shifted from delight into heaven. I enthusiastically nodded, that yes, I’d find room to squeeze it in.
We then chatted for a while, finished off the bottle of wine and then, out of the blue, without any warning, I said, “Actually, I think I might give dessert a miss. I’m more than full from that lamb korma.” My hostess was in a similar condition so her partner was happy not to serve it, but instead save it for later.
It took me only about 5 seconds to realise what I’d done. I’d actually turned down one of my favourite desserts, from a man who is a very good cook. I’d turned down a perfectly good excuse to eat ‘bad’ food – and I felt no dreadful panic, no sudden desire to change my mind. Instead, I actually felt a little relieved, as my tummy was really quite full.
I have to tell you, I’ve never done this before. I’ve almost never voluntarily turned my back on something like that, for any reason. On the few occasions I have done it, it was entirely under sufferance, with deep reluctance, and afterwards, I obsessed on the delicious food I’d missed out on, more than likely, getting some the following day. Okay, perhaps this time I’m also obessing – but not on the food itself, but on the act of choosing NOT to eat it!
This is a good moment for me. A small chunk of optimism that I can change a behaviour that has hobbled me forever. I know once does not a habit make, but all habits start with the first instance. We’ll see how I go next time.
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