Yesterday, I made an executive decision. i had been eating clean for two solid weeks (except for the occassional snack here and there). So I decided to reward my efforts with what we all refer to as a cheat meal. In reality, I failed to plan anything for dinner for that night when we did the weekly gorcery shopping, and leftovers just didn’t sound appealling. I had been solid all day and felt good aboupt my progress over the last few weeks. Unless I ate some bizarre man vs. food 10,000 calorie challenge I was in pretty safe space.
So I went big. I went for the gusto. I had a “Garbage Plate”. For those of you who went to college, grew up around, or otherwise spent any of your formative drinking/partying years from your 20’s into your 30’s around Rochester NY, you know exactly what I am referring to. That pile of meaty, carb and fat filled goodness, covered in hot sauce…served with a roll. ohhhh my. If you are not from around here, it sounds gross. It looks worse. It’s traditionally only served in greasy spoon late night diners. Usually served starting at closing time, when the bar crowd is headed home and they want something in their stomachs to sponge up the alcohol. Many of us have partaken in this ritual. Sitting crammed into a booth with our friends, re-telling the nights activities, voicing our regrets or our triumphs. all the while shovelling down this perfectly timed culinary creation. It is also a welll knwn fact this prevents hangovers (maybe).
Let me break it down. Take a plate. Drop on a generous scoop of macaroni salad. next to that, your choice of homefries or french fries. Pretty good so far right? on top of that place your choice of two of any of the following: hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, or even italian sauage. Wait for it……….now cover the whole mess in a ground beef-based tangy, yet sweet hot sauce. You will also have the option of adding chopped onions, and then drop on some ketchup/mustard. I like to add a little Redhot at that point. There it is in all it’s glory.
Guys/girls, if you are on a date, this is the “good night kiss” kiss of death. Don’t even consider trying it, unless your date ate one too, in which case it is totally cool. The perfect after-drinking food. NYC may have the moster slice of greasy pizza, we have this. I also recommend it post-race for you 5k runners.
So I saddled up and had at it. It was magnificent. I think at some point a single tear of joy may have rolled down my cheek. Normally, I would crush one of these in one sitting. The new me however had other ideas. I made it halfway through and had to call a stop to the festivities. I was a little shocked. My wife was too. My new relationship with food, eating and portion control has apparently re-aligned my body.That to me is surprisingly good news. I didn’t try to push myself, even though it was hella good. They got the hot sauce just right. I just dropped the rest into a container and into the fridge it went. It ended up being a late night snack. They are even better when you let them sit for a bit.
So here I am the next day. My body is asking me “what the hell just happened?”. Slightly bloated but otherwise no regrets. I am fasting a little longer than usual today. Lots of water to help flushnthe system of all that salt, and lunch was a double scoop protein shake. Cheating can be done. It’s a nice safety-valve so to speak. It keeps you from feeling too deprived and helps your body sort of reset itself. It should not be used as a reward for eating healthy or going to the gym, as that alters our relationship with food and or working out. It should just be something that you do. almost a scheduled activity once in a while. It shouldn’t be a whole “day” and it should be book-ended by healthy behavior.
You gotta find your joy where you can. being helathy doesn’t have to be one continuois “suck”.