Do you all remember way back when, to the night I brought the B/F to a special screening of Discover Channel's Life series?
Part of that series featured a tiny little baby ibex, which is a kind of mountain goat that has an incredible ability to cling to sheer, rocky cliffs (places you would think no four-legged creature could climb).
The segment on the ibex, narrated by Oprah at her soothing best, was a bit of film that caught a Mama ibex trying to come down off a safe mountain cliff to a river below for water. Her babies were following her, but one got distracted by something, and fell behind.
Well, you know what happened - and it played out in a huge theater, on a massive screen with a live orchestra booming out a "Bum-bum-bahhhhh" soundtrack, right in front of my horrified eyes. Yes, a fox -- a wily, hungry predator -- came loping out of nowhere, looking to catch the baby ibex and eat it for dinner.
I was writhing in my chair, covering my eyes as much as possible, and gnashing my teeth for the baby ibex, which made a desperate, galloping run back up the mountain, away from Mama, as fast as its little legs could carry it.
According to Oprah's dulcet tones, the ibex was only two days old, and operating solely on instinct. Man..that fox had it almost in its jaws so many times. I was wrung out like a wet washcloth watching it all unfold.
Just when the starving red fox (and I felt bad for him, too, poor hungry thing) was about to snap its jaws on the baby ibex's neck, the feisty goat to a flying leap and ended up with all four hooves clinging to an impossibly steep bit of rock, jutting waaay far out over the cliffside. It was so vertical that even the lightweight fox couldn't get out there without slipping. The fox hung there, right above the ibex, just inches away from snapping its fangs around its neck, totally frustrated.
And that little ibex, quickly realizing that it was safe -- at last, after a heartwrenching, terrifying uphill sprint -- suddenly stamped one of its tiny front hooves several times, right in the fox's face.
"Bring it!!" the ibex seemed to be saying, taunting his would be executor with the evidence of his own sure-footedness.
I have always remembered the image of the baby ibex giving a big "eff you" to the fox. I try to think of it when I'm confronted by food I don't really want to eat but part of me wants to eat just for the heck of it.
It's a race for survival -- and to the victor go the stamping rights.
This weekend, while I have not been perfect, I have much to stamp my feet about.
On Saturday, I was preparing to go to work as usual, and packing some kiwi and a frozen low-cal burrito for lunch. But I had two burritos left over from what I'd bought for the week. Take them both, I suddenly thought. You always get hungry around 5pm -- eat the second burrito then.
Folks, I had them both in my backpack and was out the door. Then I thought, "Why are you bringing another burrito? You have one, and two kiwi, and you are going to a friend's house for dinner tonight, so why tempt yourself?"
As much as I constructed a narrative in my head for why I needed that extra burrito and how it would be ok to eat the extra 370 cals because it would keep me from overeating later, I knew it was just a lie.
I took it out of the bag, put it back in the fridge, and went to work.
Later, I went for a drink after work with friends to kill sometime before the dinner party. I had one glass of wine, and split a plate of sweet potato fries. I did not order a second glass of wine even though everyone else got a second round, I did not clear the plate of sweet potato fries even though I wanted to, and I did not touch the jalapeno poppers that my friend ordered as a second appetizer. It took some concentration, but I just kept telling myself, "you are on your way to eat a dinner."
Finally my B/F arrived and we went to my friend's house. The irony here is that she is a great cook, from Italy, and since she moved to NYC 8 months ago we have been promised a fantastic home-cooked Italian meal. Yet every time they invite us over, it's take out. Go figure!
I was prepared last night to FINALLY get this gorgeous Italian pasta meal...only to be served once again takeout sushi and Chinese food! I had to laugh. It was really very good though, and I ate carefully and slowly. I had more sushi than Chinese food, but I limited my intake of both since I wasn't really starving anymore(because of the sweet potato fries).
I would change one thing: I ate too much avocado dip with tortilla chips (it was on the table when we arrived). I didn't eat a lot (compared to a year ago), but I wasn't hungry enough at that point to justify eating them when I knew a meal was coming. I ate them b/c they were there.
Our hostess served four desserts, but everyone just got a small bite of each. I liked that -- way to make it easy to portion control!
This morning I had to go to brunch with an old friend. I didn't snack beforehand, ate only a garden omelette (lot of veggies) with one piece of multigrain toast, no butter, and only a few bites of the hashbrowns that came with the eggs.
I left a piece of toast and 90 percent of the potatoes behind - and it really wasn't that hard to do. Unheard of for me!! In the past, I'd have been salivating constantly about the food available to me that I wasn't consuming. It would have been painful to leave it behind. This time I was able to disengage without too much effort -- it cost me a bit, but before long I was happily chatting with my friend, and then we were gone and the food was left behind. Sooooo much nicer than what would have happened before.
Now. Let's put all the cards on the table. It suddenly occurred to me that I've been able to hew to small portions so well recently because I haven't been working out a lot -- maybe appetite is easier to control when you aren't burning all those extra calories? I scared myself a little, thinking of what would happen when I do go back to the gym (tomorrow, by the way)...? Will I be ravenous and unable to control what I eat?
I hope not. I hope to be an ibex, clinging to my rock in the face of deadly destructive fox fangs and sending out a big "screw you" to those who would knock me off my perch.
October 20th, 2017 Daily Practice
18 hours ago