“You ready?” he asked, as we drove down the dirt road to the paddle board pick-up location.
“Yes, uh huh,” I answered, though my mind was obviously elsewhere.
I was on a date with a blond-haired, blue-eyed trainer I had just met the week before when I was doing my morning fasted stair sprints.
He seemed like a nice guy, but I wasn’t quite convinced that he was worth missing a meal for. In efforts to stay on track as I felt this date out, I packed a protein shake in my purse so that at 2 PM, when I was supposed to have Meal #3, I could sneak off and drink it.
I also had a small Tupperware in my bag that had chicken and rice in it, just in case we were together for a really long time.
I was prepping for my first fitness competition and my laser focus looked like determination to outsiders, but deep down it felt more like prison. I really wanted to be present for this date, but if I slipped up on my meals I knew that the post-guilt would be too much for me to endure. It just wasn’t worth it.
Plus, if I missed a meal I probably wouldn’t win first place once the competition rolled around (even though it was still 6 weeks away). That’s what my coach told me at least.
“Pack your meals in your bag. Even if you don’t have a cooler to keep them cold, put them in your purse. Don’t miss your meal times, whatever you do,” he said over the phone.
The words of my coach were law to me. And I was not the exception.
The blue-eyed trainer, John, was taking me to go paddle boarding. It was going to be a hot Texas day, but I was excited to get out on the water for a little bit, especially since this could be considered an arm workout. I was always looking for opportunities to burn calories.
I wasn’t really sure how my oatmeal + protein powder + water shake was going to do in my purse sitting on the dock in the heat for a few hours, but that was the only factor of my control. I knew I would drink it anyways, regardless of its temperature, so I didn’t worry too much about that. I thought to myself, this will just make for a great story of my will power later on when I tell my Twitter followers!
John and I set out on our paddleboards, and conversed while racing down the river. We were having a great time talking about life, hobbies, favorite music, you know-the usual first date stuff- until he asked me the dreaded question.
“Are you hungry?”
Agh no no no! I thought to myself
“Mmmmm, I’m not really supposed to eat meals outside of my meal plan,” I said, hoping he would drop it.
“Well, we can go somewhere healthy,” he replied.
How do you possibly argue with that without sounding crazy?
I agreed to lunch, with anxiety-ridden fears overflowing my brain, and zoned out for the next ten minutes trying to get a grasp over myself.
I can do this, it’s just one meal, just one meal! I thought.
As we wrapped up out paddle boarding session, I told him I was going to run to the bathroom real quick, and I disappeared into a nearby hotel to use their restroom.
Inside the bathroom, I downed my warm, humidity-infested protein shake and started Googling restaurants nearby to suggest.
How do I avoid feeling this anxiety ever again? I wondered.
The only conclusion I could draw was to never put myself into another compromising situation so I never had to choose between my special foods, and an afternoon of aesthetic-morphing food for somebody I wasn’t even sure was “worth” it.
Moving forward, I needed to put my food and body first, and everything else second. That’s the only way I could ensure I stayed in control at all times.
Now just isn’t the right time to date.
But I’m not sure there will ever be a right time…
Have you ever found yourself feeling anxious about choosing between your diet and social events?
Have you ever caught yourself researching restaurants to find a meal that will fit your macros perfectly?
Do you feel like you are constantly battling with either the desire to relax with food or eat stricter?
I’ve been there. I get it.
It’s easy to jump into food restriction because it provides an instant feeling of control, which makes us feel comfortable. We all want to feel comfortable.
The hard truth is, it’s not about the food. It’s about the weight. Letting your weight be where it wants to be is the most uncomfortable decision to make, because you are no longer “in control” of your body. Your body is.
You, on the other hand, can finally start to enjoy life. When you begin to work as a team with your intuition, senses, heart, and emotions, then your mind can finally free up some space to think about other things, like having fun, dating, relaxing, and moving in a way that feels best for you.
Don’t you think it’s time to relinquish your tight grasp on calories, food, and diet?
Is it time to stop drinking warm protein shakes from a purse, and start sipping on a milkshake with two straws?!
Life is for living, enjoying and savoring. Let’s take advantage while we can.
Oh and by the way, I did end up eating at a restaurant with him, and it was a terribly frustrating event because I could not get my chicken cooked without oil, my broccoli was over-steamed, and the brown rice was suspiciously fluffy.
I never went on another date with him again.