A year ago, me and two of my very dear friends/neighbors (we all happen to live in separate apartments in the same house) put on a series of monthly brunches for all of our wide circle of friends--most of them fellow bicyclists--to keep the community tight during the otherwise rather slow winter cycling scene in Chicago. We called it the "Skull and Crossbones Secret Society" (not to be confused with the "skull and bones" or whoever they are at some important university somewhere).
We had a top secret initiation that everyone was subjected to:
"We have cleverly poisoned all the food with a secret toxin that only kills the people who are not fit to be members of the Skull and Crossbones Secret Society. If you eat the food--and survuve--you are automatically a member for life."
The irony in this is that we didn't actually poison the food (surprise), but by serving them the food we offered, we were, in essence, poisoning them with "secret" toxins, and they did survive--for now, anyway. Mountains of waffles, donuts, pancakes, bacon, sausage, gumbo, goose (yes I even roasted geese one time), the list goes on and on. Fruit? Maybe a listless cantaloupe or off-season pineapple. Vegetables? Only if they are completely enrobed in eggs and cheese and cream, in the form of a quiche or fritatta or strata.
But offering that fatty, horrible-yet-so-delicious comfort food to our best of friends on cold winter mornings was such a wonderful opportunity to sustain relationships and comfort one another with cammaraderie and companionship during a time of year that can often seem so isolating. I've missed the brunches lately, and there are people I haven't seen since the summer who would have been here if we'd been doing them still.
So, tonight I discovered in my inbox an invitation from two of the former attendees, a married couple who just had a baby in October (my birth month too). It seems they decided to end their long hibernation with the newborn this Sunday by appropriating the Skull and Crossbones Secret Society and making it their own.
I'm virtually compelled to go, and I really really want to anyway. Certainly the food table will overflow with nothing good for me to eat. I do have choices, but I also have a tendency to be an all-or-nothing kind of guy, and moderation is NOT my strong suit. (This is why I tend to avoid drinking alcohol--even for the health benefits--because I usually find it difficult to stop at one 4oz glass of wine, and it's just better if I don't start at all.) So here's how I see my choices:
- Go to the brunch, eat ad lib, and enjoy myself and the feast of badness as a "special occasion;" plan to try to make up for the claories later.
- Go to the brunch, eat nothing (unless there's some fruit to nibble on)--and hope no on notices
- Make a dish to contribute that meets my needs, and eat only that--and hope no one notices
- Don't go to the brunch. People WILL notice this for sure.
I know ultimately I'll end up doing whatever feels right in the moment, but if I at least walk in armed for whatever battle I choose, I'll stand a better chance at not being thoroughly defeated when it's over.
I also think my two ad lib days last week should demonstrate that all is not lost when one has a "bad day," particularly given my otherwise pretty low calorie levels (for a man of my size) for the past two and half weeks. The scale this morning tells me I've lost nine pounds since I started CR on January 1--well over my target, and probably too fast, based on the counsel I've recieved so far from CR experts.
So, I guess I'm looking for someone to tell me, "You know what Chris? By Sunday, you will have been doing a great job of CR for three whole weeks, and if you wanna cut loose just one time, enjoy it, and just try to make up for it later." That's what I really want. I want permission. I want someone else to tell me what to do, but I want their advice to be what I want to hear! At least I'm honest about my denial...