3pm – Lunch:
1 chip shop Veggie Burger with salad – medium portion
Chip shop chips – medium portion
Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied
830pm – Dinner:
Veggie noodles – very small portion
Green beans in garlic – very small portion
Malaysian Vegetable Curry – very small portion
Mattar Paneer – small portion
Paneer Tikka – small portion
Bombay Aloo – very small portion
Mixed Veg Curry – very small portion
Plain naan – small portion
Satiety Level: Pleasantly Satisfied
Woke up late. Had some running round to do. So didn’t get to eat lunch until quite late. And a full 17 hours since my last meal! And, yes, I was definitely pretty hungry by then (hungrier than I have been in a week.) And, yes, I felt the best solution overall was to venture into a chippy on the way home. (Not my local.) But, in spite of all that, I did manage to restrain myself very well. My ordering was modest and my demolition of the order was incomplete. I could, easily, have polished off all the chips (I only had a cone, which is the smallest portion available anyway.) But I stopped well before I was full. In spite of the deceptive photo, my burger was smaller than the veggie burger I usually have from my local chippy. And, even though I appreciated this meal enormously because I was so hungry, I have to say that it disappointed in terms of sheer flavour and satisfaction. That I only seem to be able to get from home-cooked, wholesome food.
In the evening, we had some out-of-town friends visiting and we all went out to a Pan-Asian buffet restaurant. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be at all hungry and might have to appear impolite by not eating anything. As it happened, our guests had also had food from a chip shop for lunch and were having similar reservations about the evening meal. But we did all manage to eat anyway come 830pm! (Although, if we didn’t have this social engagement, I probably wouldn’t eaten until about midnight!)
Having said that, in spite of my family and guests going up for multiple rounds of food at the buffet, I only took small or very small portions of a few items (as listed above) and never got up again during the evening. That is a record for me! I have been known to go up for 4-5 rounds at this (and other) buffet restaurants before! But I ate as consciously as I possibly could in this environment with constant conversation and laughter and noise. And I chewed my food industriously. And I stopped well before I was full. One friend – who is a self-confessed sweet and dessert junkie – went up for two large rounds of puddings alone! I’m not judging him (who is very slim indeed) any of them. After all, I was, by far, the fattest person at our table and most in need of restraint. But, even so, I am enthused that I pigged out the least! (Actually, I didn’t pig out at all.) I’m willing to bet that I ate less than practically all the other diners in the buffet.
And while the food was decent (the paneer and naan were particularly good) I can’t say I was blown away by the experience. In fact, I’d say that I am beginning to lose my taste for restaurant and takeaway food. I felt almost as disappointed in my evening meal as I had been with my chip shop lunch. Not that there was anything especially wrong with either of them. But they lacked the flavour, the freshness, the vitality and – yes, I think I can say this without being overly poncey! – the love (my own, or that of my family members) that goes into homemade food.
And, I believe, there is the rub. The specifically targeted love of a home-cooked meal (made with loving intention and, therefore, acting as a conduit for that love) simply cannot be beaten; no matter how fancy-shmancy the restaurant or how skilled the Michelin-starred chef is! (Erm… not that this was anything more than an above-average establishment!) I get the feeling that this insight is likely to be very important for me in my fight against flab. If I keep this is mind whenever I am tempted to eat out when I don’t really have to, I think my health goals will be easier to achieve.