I cannot tell you how many restaurants here in Texas serve a portion of chicken fried steak that's falling off of the plate, coated in cream gravy and served with a heaping (the size of a cheeseburger) portion of homemade mashed potatoes. Sound familiar?
But wait there's veggies there? But sadly, some customers choose (we see this FAR too often) to substitute the yummy, saturated in butter-veggies for well, another simple carbohydrate such as french fries, fried okra, or rice.
Now let's all be honest, you've seen this too?
Maybe you've ordered it and indulged a little?
However, the part that is NOT okay to me is the PORTION...and those that order this amount of food on a daily basis.
For a person like me that has always had an unhealthy relationship with food, this is scary.
If a person walks in and wants to order a chicken fried steak, they are going to (because let's be honest, not all of us can control ourselves and only eat a 1/4 of this meal) consume 3-4 times the amount of food that they should in one sitting. Especially when the meal is loaded with saturated fat and calories.
What about children? They wouldn't possibly order an adult meal this size and consume it? Don't fool yourself, I remember ordering things like this and eating the entire meal :(
BIGGER IS BETTER? I'd say not. With our children struggling with obesity, health-related illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes at far too young of an age. My heart aches for young people that are overweight in this society. Just because one child can eat huge portions and not struggle with their weight does NOT make it okay.
When I taught health education, I would explain to my students when asked, "What foods can we eat?" That's NOT what it's about, it's BALANCE. I'd explain, "It's not about what you eat, it's more about HOW MUCH and HOW OFTEN you're eating it"
But as a person who is always watching what they eat, you almost feel cheated. Almost like, "Here I am having to watch my foods and 90% of this restaurant is ordering THIS meal"...what gives! As I've said 1,000 times and must repeat to myself often, IT'S A JOURNEY. Never ending and something I will deal with for the rest of my life. BUT I can focus on knowing that meals like THESE made me feel empty...empty in a very different way. A feeling I never want back in my life. It's when I focus on those feelings, that feeling of sadness and helplessness that I feel better knowing the choices I am making today are helping me have a healthy future for myself and my growing family.
So what's the answer? What's that KEY to success when it comes to getting healthy?
I believe that when we focus on balance, meaning it is definitely okay to indulge from time to time, we set ourselves up for success. Too much restriction can lead to overeating at its finest, so be careful. It's a mind game and we have to tell ourselves we want to be healthy today and every day.
We are all different. We all have different relationships with food...and yes, I honestly had a relationship with food. It was there when I was happy, sad, lonely, etc...it gave me a false feeling of happiness. It never failed that the emptiness came creeping in EVERY time but I never knew that until I made up my mind to change that way of thinking, that former way of life.
For me, I must not restrict myself too much but I know that when I consume lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies and there's a day when I want to have a fatty meal, it's OKAY. It does mean that the next day, I will tighten up on my calories and fats, and will make sure I burn some serious calories! It works for ME and my struggles.
But if we're following some crazy "diet" and it requires everything coming from a package and one day we're out dining with friends...trust me, if you're anything like the old me you'll want to devour this chicken fried steak platter like it was your last meal! Anybody relate? It's why every "diet" attempt of mine failed throughout my life. The cabbage soup would taste fabulous for two days and Mmmm, those grapefruit were sure yummy and then after day 2, I couldn't find a McDonald's fast enough :( sad but true.