Dining with a Dieter

Foods that sound delicious right now.

All of these things sound good. Yes, even the salad afterthought.

Okay, I know a few of you that read this blog are also on your own weight loss journeys. I have a question for you: do you ever feel guilty about eating around other people?

Here’s an example: a few weeks back I had lunch with my Mom. She was asking me about what I am doing and how I chose what to eat. I mentioned that one of the things I’ve done was go to a few more large chain restaurants. Normally I love my local food scene, but when Julian was on hard core low carb and I was on low calorie, finding a dining choice was tough for us. Most of the big chains have their nutritional information online, so we would spend a little time before our date looking up the menu on our phones and making sure it met our requirements.

In fact, I told her, the reason I suggested we go to Chili’s that day was because I knew she liked it, and I knew I could look up my lunch choices before we met, so I knew what to order. Sadly, she looked down at her plate and said, “I probably shouldn’t have ordered this.”

I immediately felt like I had said something wrong. I don’t want anyone to feel bad about their lunch. The truth was, what she had ordered was actually pretty good for the most part, and I told her so. But, I hated that moment of feeling like somehow I had made her feel bad about herself.

More recently she and I went out to brunch. I knew it would be a calorie laden day so I planned appropriately. It was at 2:00, so I made sure to eat something ahead of time – but kept the calories light. Again, there was an awkwardness when we went to order. I felt like she was watching what I had. I found myself deliberately picking a high calorie dessert (it was a set three course menu) to prove… something to her. I’m not even sure what. That you can eat high cal food and still lose? That it isn’t all carrots and celery? That she should order whatever she wanted?? I don’t know.

It happened again the other day with different family members. I was at an open house for some family, and of course, there was tons of food. My uncle discretely inquired how much weight I had lost. He patted my shoulder with approval and went off to pile up a plate with spaghetti. Good man – that was perfect. On the other hand, I felt like my aunt was watching every thing I ate. She didn’t say anything, but I saw her noticing that I took all fruit and stayed away from the pasta and Alfredo sauce. I felt awkward, like she thought I was going to judge her if she ate it. Honestly, I couldn’t care less!

Have any of you experienced this? Any thoughts for managing it?

Photo credit: Alex Barth

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