It is fashionable these days to blame the Chinese for many things in some circles.
Let me add to the chorus with yet another reason: their food is too damn good.
It was Chinese New Year last night and our family decided to celebrate by going to an authentic Shanghainese restaurant close to home. China is a big place and the cuisines vary greatly from region to region, the cuisine from Shanghai is somewhat less exotic than some of the dishes more south of the region, yet different from the north, which seems at times more conservative in relation to some other regions.
While I have been told that the Chinese zodiac says it will be an auspicious year for me – I am a tiger and in the Chinese zodiac there are certain positives and negatives associated with the interplay between the given year’s sign and your birth year’s sign – it was a bit of a horror show in terms of the diet.
All kidding aside, I can’t blame anyone but myself here. I had a very stressful week in work and comforted myself with food as I frequently do. Even though I crossed a major milestone in work that leaves me feeling I might *not* have to dust off the resume this weekend for an update, still, the residual effects left me burnt like a used match head.
Friday was not a good day for my diet by any means, and I spent some time Saturday morning telling myself that if I was circumspect on this day, I could recover.
I was hungry in the early AM probably from the junk the night before screwing up my hunger signals. I felt noble and in control as I had my perfectly acceptable Greek yogurt…then not so noble and in control when moments later I ate the leftover grilled cheese half my daughter had left from the night before. “Well, I can recover from that.” I lied to myself, as I began my day of cleaning and shoveling snow. All these chores made a guy hungry…and pick, pick, pick in between chores adds up.
Slowly the nibbles went from ‘well, at least it’s relatively low carb’ to ‘what is that? I’ll eat that. Wonder what it is?’ This last one might sound strange, but my wife had taken a ride to Mitsuwa, the Japanese supermarket and bought something called ‘hoshi gaki’ that looked like dried fruit. These were absolutely awesome and I ate 2 of them before looking up exactly what they were. A note to less adventurous foodies: unless you are open to eating things you never thought of as food, do not eat unknown foods from Asian markets before finding out what they are. With few exceptions these days, I’m almost always game to new food experiences, but once having been rather fearful of new foods, I understand how this might freak some people out.
It turned out to be dried persimmons, a fruit that I could never fathom the reason why anyone would like because I found them horrid. Now I knew why – dried this way, with the lightest dusting of powdered sugar, they were awesome.
I the foodie in me enjoyed the fact I had tried and liked a new food – the dieter in me saw another day going down the shitter.
The rest of the afternoon continued in this fashion, but with more mundane fare: strawberries, some breakfast sausages, some american cheese on a slice of bread, some tuna with mayo, some salami. There were also some wasabi almonds that were hot as all get-out and delightful because of it.
All the while, I dutifully recorded in my calorie-counting app the mounting damage. Even before we went to the restaurant, I was already over my daily total of calories – and my carbs were to the moon.
I was also still hungry. The eating today did nothing to still the hunger, only to whet its appetite for the New Year’s feast to come: “what interesting things might I get to try?” It inquired.
There’s your diet – and there’s your life. I was at a decision point: which would I ditch for the evening? A few years ago I had a turning point in my thinking regarding this. My diet had ruined an evening with my family. I had let my diet make me bitchy and miserable, and went to the restaurant reluctantly with my wife who so much wanted to have a pleasant Friday night meal out, shared with her husband and kids.
I wrote a lot about it then. It was a turning point for me. It calmed me down immensely. I decided that when your diet comes in conflict with a joyous moment, the diet can go hang. You can only be happy – and make happiness – in the moment. The diet could wait.
I went and enjoyed the New Years meal immensely We had lobster and these most wonderful crab dumplings, along with a thick soup with egg, chicken and corn in it. There was also a fresh fish with a delicate flavor cooked to perfection, and garlic sprouts with beef – and went wonderfully over the 3 bowls of rice I had. There were also these tofu-wrapped spring rolls filled with seafood that was complemented nicely with the Chinese vinegar put out for the dumplings.
Everyone was hungry and everyone ate to bursting. We laughed and talked and enjoyed each other’s company. Some moments come only once – we must be present and allow them. My diet will always be here – no worries here – it just wasn’t present this night.
The next morning I knew I would pay for the previous night – but how much? I trundled to the bathroom and got on my scale.
I was not surprised to see the first 2 numbers – 2 and 0 – but bleary-eyed, I couldn’t make out the third. Was that a ’1′ or a ’7′.
My eyes cleared: it was a 7. Holy shit – this is one for the record books. I gained over 6 pounds in one day!
I was proud of myself in a sick sort of way. Mediocrity bores me. If you’re going to do something – good or bad – don’t do it half-assed. Go big.
I tried to tally the damage using similar items off of PF Chang’s menu as an approximation. My totals for the day were:
Net Carbs: 595 grams
Protein: 244 grams
Fat: 254 grams
I am also impressed at my sodium intake: 15,000 grams.
I have been playing around with charts a bit this week, trying to come up with a cool way to represent carbs, fat, protein in relationship to my weight and came up with the following, which illustrates nicely just how awful a day it was for my diet:
For those of you not data nerds, the left vertical axis labeled ‘grams of food’ represents the total number of grams of net carbs, fat and protein stacked on to of one another in the pumpkin, blue and pink solid colors. The line corresponds to the right axis labeled ‘weight in pounds’. The point here is to try to show how the relationship between the proportions of what I eat impact my weight.
What we can certainly see from yesterday is that eating a few week’s worth of carbs in a single day for a low carb dieter can result in some staggering weight gains.
No regrets. It’s back to the grind. It’ll come off – I’ll just have to wear my fat pants this week.
Filed under: Food, Food Journaling, Goals, Hunger, I Suck At Low Carb Dieting, low carb, Mindset, Personal Journal, Scenes from a low carb life Tagged: | chinese zodiac, Food, greek yogurt, hunger signals, restaurants