The Quintanas, Week 19: Back Away Slowly

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

dessert quintana family picture

Yes. And no. Credit: Michelle Quintana

Does anybody else remember being taught to "just say no!"?

No to drugs, no to strangers, no to ... fill in the blank.

Why were we never taught to say no to buffets?

Something that Su-Nui Escobar, our nutritionist, explained to us early on was that just because it was in front of us, we didn't have to eat it. She said we should eat until we were satisfied.

I'm not sure satisfaction was ever satisfactorily explained.

Quite frankly, I happen to find ethereal satisfaction from an unlimited supply of french fries.

As if that situation wasn't bad enough, there is that overwhelming sensation of guilt, when you go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, that convinces you that you must consume enough to justify the price of those unlimited options.

Or, in my case, unlimited french fries.

Such a wealth of edibles apparently not only has that effect on me, but on my children, too. Aaron, my oldest, did the best. He ate a taco salad, a steak and a small scoop of ice cream with gummy bears. Elizabeth, my second oldest, downed three steaks, a full plate of shrimp, pizza and two ice cream cones. Christian, my younger son, ate two steaks and a bowl of gummy bears, after claiming upon arrival that he was going to take it easy because his stomach hurt. Chloe, my youngest, well, let's just say that her feelings towards mashed potatoes and macaroni-and-cheese mirror my feelings for french fries.

David, my husband, will need time to forgive me for the bright idea of taking his mom to the buffet. David, up until today, had been angelic, only suffering in that he could not get to the gym as often as he liked -- which means working out three or four days a week, instead of five or six -- due to his awkward work schedule. He managed to down a steak, a plate packed with popcorn shrimp, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and a piece of sugar-free apple pie.

As for me, I ate mashed potatoes, french fries, nachos with cheese, taco-seasoned rice, corn, and an ice-cream sundae. Other than dessert, I had seconds of everything.

What can I learn from this? That I am an addict. Food -- especially the kind that shows up on giant restaurant buffets -- is my vice.

I came up with that all on my own, with no help from the experts, but I think they will see where I'm coming from. Apparently, I have an issue with turning down that which is appealing to my belly. Even when it's not really appealing!

That's right: The buffet was super expensive for the quality of the food. The fries were soggy, the steak was fatty and I could not find any fried okra anywhere! In other words, all that Healthy Families Challenge work sacrificed for lack of flavor and a huge dent in the budget.

And we behaved like beasts, anyway.

For those of you who think I'm making light of a serious situation, I don't agree. I truly do not know how to walk past food. If I had an issue with any other behavior, I would stay away from whatever encouraged that behavior. I cannot go to Starbucks during the Saturday morning sample hours, or to Costco when they do the demos! All I do is grab the food and stuff it in my mouth.

The first step to resolving a problem is to realize you have one. I, Michelle, do.

And the eating isn't my only problem: I have the hardest time getting to the gym, and I always claim that tomorrow is a new day. I excuse my erratic eating with my busy schedule. While I watch the other families speak of all of their accomplishments, and even as I watch my own family advance, I feel pangs of guilt.

This is my promise -- seriously -- as of today. I will hit that treadmill this week. Going to yoga twice a week is not enough. I will make sacrifices. And I will post my weight every week, beginning now. I am back to 142.5 pounds, and terrified of ever seeing the 50 pounds and nine (yes!) dress sizes bigger I once was about a year ago.

And I will most definitely stay away from the buffet.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.