Fancy Schmancy Food


Down 36 pounds

My husband and I took a beautiful trip to Portland Oregon last weekend. We left our daughter with family and had a romantic 4 days together. We called this our 30th anniversary trip, even though it isn’t until October. But hey, we someone to leave our daughter with, and Mac could take a few days off work so we went with it.

If I judge the trip by the romance factor, the weather, our beautiful hotel, the amount of activity we had, the relaxation, it was an amazing experience. We went on a 9.5 mile bike ride with stunning views all along the Willamette River. This is something I know I could have not done 36 pounds ago. We hiked 3.5 miles uphill to Pittock Mansion, then 3.5 steep miles back. It was challenging, but again, I felt pretty darn proud that I could do it. We even went on a Segway Tour. I am sure I looked like Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and I didn’t exactly love it, but my husband was so excited that I could DO it with him!

So a great trip. Unless I judge it by what I ate. Then it was just OK, I think.  I tried to make good decisions. It was hard, though.

For example, our first night there. We walked from downtown to this beautiful, great little restaurant inside of an old historic house in the Alphabet District called Paley’s Place. The walk took about 45 minutes, which was great. Part of the reason we picked Portland is that it is such a beautiful place to stroll. Back home in Las Vegas it was 110 degrees. So yeah, we walked everywhere.

For as much as I DID end up eating that night, I had to say NO over and over again.

NO, I don’t want more bread. NO, please take the free little plate of potato chips away. NO, I don’t want another appetizer (the one little scallop wrapped in bacon will have to be enough). NO, I don’t want sauce all over the fish. NO, I don’t want more wine. NO, I don’t want dessert. NO, I don’t want the free cookies you brought to the table after I had said NO to dessert.

I, of course, felt a bit sorry for myself. I know that’s gross: here I was, in this beautiful city with my sweet husband and a nice break from my girl and I felt sorry for myself. Because I had to white-knuckle it again through another nice meal, and even with all of the NOs I still ended up with a 934 calorie dinner!

I don’t see the problem as not being assertive enough; I was actually pretty good about that. It is the way I was LOOKING at it, I guess, that made me miserable. Or kinda miserable. We really had a lovely time; this was just the waa-waa-anxious-feeling-sorry-for-myself soundtrack playing softly in the background in my head.

OK: looking back over it I see one of the problems was that I was really really hungry. I didn’t realize it that night, but I see that willpower only goes so far when I am really, physically hungry. The service was slow, in that languid, lovely, on-purpose, fancy restaurant way. I had had some almonds before we left the hotel, so that I wouldn’t arrive hungry, but clearly they weren’t enough. The long walk there fueled my appetite even more.

Or maybe I was just triggered by the beautiful food, the romantic night, and my habit of always over-eating under those circumstances.

This is kind of maddening, but I see this as my growing edge. I HAVE to make some kind of peace and have a strategy for these kinds of situations. I thought I HAD a good strategy: looking at the menu online and making a plan, limiting wine, eating a snack beforehand.  I am going to look at that as a good start.

But I am grappling with the notion of a special occasion. My husband often travels for work and we get to tag along, so is that a special occasion? Or just our lifestyle? This trip was clearly a special occasion, but we had visited our family in Kentucky the weekend before, and I white-knuckled through a lot of grub there, and also had a few special occasion meals with my family, since I only see them a few times a year.

It is so much easier to eat at home. I control my choices and portion sizes. But coming to terms with eating out is something I am determined to do. I have to find what works for me. I told my friends Karen and Sue, in a moment of self pity: “Eating out is killing me.” And Karen said, “No, eating out is saving you.”

That is something to ponder. Because as I continue to figure out how to take care of myself in every situation, this will get easier. And I won’t have to hide out and say NO. I have been pretty good at hiding out. I am figuring out how to say YES, without leaving me behind.

And you know what? I was content with most of my other meals in Portland. And when I weighed in this week? I had lost 2.6 pounds. Go figure.

3 thoughts on “Fancy Schmancy Food

  1. The clarity with which you describe your growing edge–and your grit–are deeply inspiring. Makes me look closer at my life, at my growing edges. Thank you for sharing these incredible posts, Jen!


  2. Sounds like a wonderful time away with your hubby. You have inspired me this week a long bike ride, hiking, Segway touring and choosing a destination geared for walking. 🙂 Saying NO is hard, YOU WIN! 2.6 pounds down after week of travel and social eating, YAY FOR YOU!!! xo


  3. I’m glad you had a good little getaway – I’ve been to Portland a few times and it’s such a neat place. Someday I might be brave enough to try a Segway…

    I think there’s a balance between eating “worthy” food while on vacation (or at a special meal) and mindlessly eating whatever they set in front of you. I wish you didn’t have the stress that came alone with the fancy meal, but it sounds like you managed to make it work in the end.


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