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More thoughts about Food and Money

Friday, July 21, 2017

Part of our weight loss journey is learning why we eat the way we do. What triggers our urges, what food does to our psyche, and how to combat the cravings and binges.

This week, I had the chance to reflect one of my food foibles. Or was it a money foible? Actually, it was a combination. And that makes it doubly interesting, and doubly difficult to deal with.

I was on a work trip out of town. I thought I had prepared very well for the trip. I was able to take food along, and had healthy snacks, good breakfast choices, and even a few treats. I took a weekend trip last fall and took all my own food along, and felt like I was feasting!

The hiccup this week came at the evening catered dinner. The meeting fee included this meal, plus snacks and beverages for the two days. The buffet meal had some good choices, and some not so good choices. I ended up filling my plate with everything, both good and bad. Two meats - who needs two meats? Two creamy salads - one of them pasta, which I rarely eat anymore. Two starches, and two vegetables. It all looked too good to pass up. And yes, it all tasted really good, even the pasta "salad". And then cake for dessert! When I got back to my hotel room and put everything in the tracker, I had eaten two days worth of calories!

The first day, I didn't take many snacks. I tried a "new to me" flavored water (with artificial sweetener, so I didn't like it), and took a couple of apples (for later). The next day I took a couple more apples, and a small granola bar, which we all know is really more like a candy bar.

Now, I did get in a good walk to help burn some of the extra calories, and once I got home I got right back on track. But that evening, after I tallied my meal, I wondered what made me do it. I would have been happy with just one meat. Just the veg. One starch instead of two. I realized, after some thought, it was more of a money issue than a food issue. And also a control issue.

Because I was required to pay for this meal, and had no choice in what was being served, I think subconsciously I needed to eat everything in order to get my money's worth. Now that seems odd. It was no more costly than a restaurant meal. And at the snack table I thought - well, I paid for this, so I better take something, even if I don't eat it now. Saying that, it seems very stingy. But growing up financially challenged, it's just something you learn. Don't waste money, and try to get the best value or return for the price.

I wondered, if the meal had been free, would I have chosen differently? Perhaps. Had it been served to us instead of a buffet line, obviously yes.

I know that food and money are always going to be inextricably linked in my life. I take great satisfaction in making do with less, making something out of nothing, and not being wasteful. I don't know when a situation like this will present itself again, and I'm not sure that I'll handle it any differently. But maybe knowing what's coming will help me balance the days surrounding the next mandatory buffet and allow me to enjoy the feast without guilt.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great Writing and Great Thought Process! I, too, grew up in financial straights so if there is free food I "take for later". I am doing much better with buffets--they make money on me but I tend to front load protein (meats) and skip anything else but light vegs and salads. Glad you were able to offset with the walk!
    847 days ago
    for me when things are free I tend to eat more but when I pay for it, think of it like a restaurant that everything has a price
    848 days ago
    good for you for getting in a good walk.
    848 days ago
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