January 12, 2013

Panda Epiphany....

I had an epiphany last night. At the Panda Express on McLoughlin. And yes, it was slightly painful. But let me explain first how I wound up at Panda having epiphanies in the first place.

See, Friday night is usually date night for me and the Old Curmudgeon (which is my new blog name for my significant other... he'd get a kick out of that, trust me. Also "Mr. Cranky-Pants", which is what I usually call him to his face, is harder to type for some reason). The reason date night is on Friday is that the Chamaco generally spends Friday nights at my mom's house, and it's cheaper to eat out when there are only two of us as opposed to three. Yes, we are jerks like that, thank you.

Anyway, the Old Curmudgeon had a burning desire to go to Panda. Something about Shanghai steak. Me, I can take or leave steak, and I was sort of "meh" about the idea of going to Panda, but I didn't have a strong inclination to go much of anywhere else either so I figured I'd humor him and went along. This is called "keeping the peace", and I don't think I had much of a knack for that a decade or so ago when I was last in a serious relationship. Of course, I was 19/20 then as opposed to 29/30 too.

So anyway, back to Panda with a minimum of side trips now. (Hopefully.) I got the 2 entree platter, and I had fried rice, mandarin chicken, and honey-walnut shrimp. Anyone who has been to Panda ever can now probably picture exactly what was on my plate. On a whim, I got 3 potstickers as well. (Usually I get the chow mein instead of the fried rice, but I was feeling a little weird last night anyway, which maybe should have been a warning about the epiphany.) We filled up our drinks, sat down at a table, and started eating.

I compartmentalize, and tend to eat one food at a time for some reason. So I polished off the mandarin chicken and was probably about halfway through the honey-walnut shrimp when I had the epiphany. I felt a slight nudging in my cerebral cortex (or somewhere in my brain anyway) and looked around to see what was going on. My digestive system timidly raised its hand and cleared its throat. "Excuse me, Lord Brain," it said hesitantly. "We're... we're all full down here. We actually sort of don't need to eat the rest of that."

I paused in my eating to listen in on the conversation as my brain sputtered about in surprise for a moment, took a quick peep out through the eyeballs to survey the contents of the plate, then bellowed, "Nonsense! The shrimp isn't gone yet! That stuff costs an extra dollar, you know!"

"But... but... there's... no more room in the stomach!" my digestive system stammered. Clearly it was terrified of incurring my brain's wrath but for once had decided to stand up for itself.

"We haven't even touched the potstickers yet! And the shrimp's not gone!" the brain said firmly. And it ruthlessly shoved my digestive system's voice back to wherever it had come from. And just to spite the little upstart for daring to speak out of turn,we finished the shrimp. And the potstickers. And the fried rice. Because we are a fat slob, that's why. And no, we didn't feel too great about it afterward.

I bet you're wondering where the epiphany was in that. Well, I don't know if conversation was just sparse since the Old Curmudgeon was busy filling his face with Shanghai steak or what, but this was the first time I'd actually heard that conversation take place between my brain and my digestive system. And yes, I dramatized it, but that's what they would have been saying had they been speaking with words. I assume this conversation happens pretty much every time I eat a meal and I never do hear that voice, which is why I'm as big as I am. It wasn't until I was lying in bed last night reviewing the day's events in my mind that I thought, "You know, if I paid more attention to that voice, I might not be as fat as I am." (This was ephiphany #2.) And I resolved to start trying to listen for that voice.

So this morning after I climbed out of bed around 10:00 (hey, it's Saturday and I don't have to work until 1, so there), I took a bath (again, Saturday, don't judge) and wandered out into the kitchen to find foodstuffs. I am not real fond of breakfast foods in general, and I tend to have either fruit or something more lunchy for breakfast. Today it was the latter, as I settled upon a can of Campbells vegetable soup. Maybe you will all think I'm a disgusting fatso after reading this, but I generally have no trouble putting away an entire can by myself. With cheese and crackers. Today I heated up the soup, put some crackers in it (decided to skip cheese) and headed for the table.

I was eating in rather contemplative silence (Chamaco is at my mom's, remember?) and sure enough, just about halfway through the bowl of soup I get a weird sensation in my stomach and a little nudge in my brain again. "Hey... we're done down here. No more!"

I took one more bite, which I chewed very thoughtfully for longer than was probably necessary, and looked down into the bowl and contemplated the soup. No, I decided, it actually didn't look as appetizing as it had ten minutes ago. And if I really thought about it, it didn't quite taste as good either. I have read before that these are both signs that you're done with the eating thing, so I put the bowl off to the side and reached for my laptop.

And this is where I sit right now. At my kitchen table, half-eaten bowl of soup to my left, laptop directly in front, and glass of water to my right. (Glass of water, by the way, was refilled 3 times during the course of eating half a bowl of soup, for some reason. Am I dehydrated as well?) And I don't quite know what to do with said half-bowl of soup. No one else is around to offer it to. Throwing it out seems kind of wasteful, but I know that if I cover it and put it in the fridge, it will probably just grow mold and no one will eat it, and then I will throw it away. (The Chamaco, for whatever reason, does not like to eat leftover anything.) However, I do not really want to eat it just so it doesn't go to waste, because my stomach told me pretty clearly that it didn't want anything else. (Traitor.)

So maybe I've stumbled upon a breakthrough in my lifelong (and by "lifelong" I mean, "since I was about six") struggle with food and weight. Maybe I've just got to listen for the little voice that tells me, "Hey! No more of that, jerkface!"

The Old Curmudgeon and I have been spending some evenings lately watching a British TV show called Supersize vs. Superskinny. Basically the premise of the show is that they get one hugely obese person (usually close to 400 lbs. if we calculate out how many stone that is, because they do weight funny in Britain) and one underweight person (usually 110 lbs or less... lowest I've seen so far was 85), and they put them in a house together for five days. During those five days, the fat person can only eat everything the underweight person would normally eat (which is sometimes nothing at all for some meals), and the underweight person has to eat everything that the fat person normally eats at every meal (or give it their best go, anyway). It's sort of a mutual learning thing... usually by the end of the 5 days the fat person has learned that they can get hungry and they don't actually die, and they have learned by watching the skinny person attempt to choke down their meals that they have been eating WAY too much. The skinny person, meanwhile, usually learns to try new foods (the skinnies tend to have extremely limited diets like only fruit, or even in one case only chocolate... generally there is at least one food group they've eliminated completely) and eat somewhat larger portions. It's sort of weirdly fascinating, even though having watched most of two seasons now I'm sort of getting to the point where I want to see someone fail... come back after the 12 weeks of following the doctor's eating plan and not be fatter/skinnier than they were before and glowing with good health. Of course, I'm a jerk like that.

I'm also doing karate classes with my son on Tuesday nights and have finally found a Zumba class that mostly works within my schedule (I have to go there directly from work, but I can do it). I've already got the exercise piece falling into place nicely, so maybe if I can figure out the stupid food part, I might start seeing some changes. Who knows?

Song o' the Day: "End of Time" by Lacuna Coil. The video for which (viewable by clicking on the song title over there) was cleverly released right before December 21st, 2012. Not on the 21st, of course, because if the world had actually ended nobody would have seen it. Can't take that chance! This is a slower song for Lacuna, and definitely not their most exciting video, but I still like the song.

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