Buffet restaurants are fabulous for the heavy person! I loved buffet restaurants when I was obese. Given the choice between my favorite Mexican restaurant, which was great, or Ryan’s buffet restaurant, I’d choose Ryan’s almost without fail. The anticipation of unlimited, uncensored food was like heaven to me. Driving to the restaurant I’d think about what I was going to have, and how much of it. “Only 2 pieces of fried chicken, because of the grease. A salad swimming in bleu cheese dressing for health. Green beans doused in fat for my daily veggie serving, and rolls, and cookies, and ice cream, and baked potatoes, and french fries.” You might think I’m kidding, but that is really what went through my mind when I was driving to the restaurant.
Once there, John and I would stand in line with the children, waiting our turn to order. Sure enough, the cashier always said, “I guess you want the buffet today?” We’d affirm her assumption, pay for our meal and weave our way around the crowded restaurant to a good table. A good table was one that was near the buffet. That way, as I went back and forth numerous times, I didn’t have to negotiatie my big self through the restaurant. And also, perhaps no one would notice exactly how much food I was selecting.
The first trip through the buffet line was for the “healthy” portion of my meal, the fried food, fattening green beans and salad. The subsequent trips were for the “fun” part. Rolls slathered with butter from those cute little cups, french fries “for the kids”, and dessert. Of course dessert was my favorite part of any meal, but especially at the buffet. Not only was there regular, boring food on the buffet line, but there were desserts of all kinds. Cobblers, cakes, four different kinds of cookies, and an ice cream bar. Ah, the excess. The possibilities were endless.
I’d grab a little bowl, put some vanilla ice cream in it, top it with chocolate sauce and a cookie. I’d eat that first bowl, look around to see if anyone was watching me, and go get a piece of cake and another cookie. After that was done I was usually feeling a little embarrassed, and a bit full, so I’d send John to get me some cobbler and a cookie. At this point I wasn’t feeling so well, but that didn’t stop me from clearing my dessert plate once again. To add to our overindulgence, as we left the restaurant, John, the kids and I would all take a cookie to go. But we wouldn’t let the kids eat another cookie, so we’d save them to eat for our midnight snack, crushed over ice cream.
Yes, I loved buffet restaurants, but I shouldn’t have. One thing I quickly changed when I decided to lose weight was my behavior at buffet restaurants. I didn’t stop going, but I did stop ordering the buffet. I’d buck the cashier’s suggestion and order something healthy from the large menu behind her head. Sometimes she’d even question me, “Are you sure you don’t want the buffet? It’s a better value.” I’d reassure her that I was certain in my choice, but I’d also be thinking. “Yes, it’s a better value from a monetary standpoint, but it’s not a better value for my health.”
As we visited buffet restaurants I’d find myself watching the overweight people to see what they did. Sure enough, they hopped up and down from their chairs like jack-in-the-boxes, refilling their plates over and over. “That used to be me,” I’d think to myself. At first it was a little bit hard to only eat my chicken piece with a dead pineapple on top, while the rest of my family enjoyed the abundance of food, but as my weight started coming down, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was make it go back up by eating 2500 calories for dinner.
Eventually we stopped going to buffet restaurants, and made different choices. We still went out to eat, but just not there. Looking back, I’m embarrassed by my own gluttony. There wasn’t a reason I needed to much food, I just wanted it. I had no brakes on my food choices, and no stop signs loomed in my mind – only Go! Go! Go! Once I lost my weight I knew I’d never overindulge like that again. For one thing I’d probably get sick, and for another thing, I no longer had the desire to eat so much at one time. Food is lovely and wonderful, but not in unlimited quantities. As you think about your food choices, I hope that you are past the buffet restaurants, and are onto making healthy selections both while eating out and at home. After all, no one needs “All You Can Eat!” Diane