Thursday, December 30, 2010

Decision Time

I was thrown a dieting curve ball yesterday, with a simple emailed notice from our favorite local restaurateur. 

We have a very unique local neighborhood restaurant, that grills everything over hickory wood.  No fryers, no oven (except the wood-burning pizza oven) ... the food is delicious and fresh.  The chef is a master at making unique combinations and the food is savory and mouth-watering. 

The owner made the announcment yesterday (my curve ball), that they are going to close down after Friday night's service. 

We're devastated.  Even "modified" - for my diet - the dishes there are fantastic, and there is so much I can eat on plan.  Mostly, though, it is home to my all-time favorite sandwich on earth.  It is a vegetable concoction, with peppered goat cheese and balsamic vinegar ... it is just a big plate of love - and all for just over 400 calories, if I go for the wrap version (without the cheese, of course).

The sandwich, as it was intended (with crumbled peppered goat cheese) is my ideal sandwich.  I've been having the modified version of it, knowing I can always have the full monty - as a treat - once in a great while (eventually).  Well, that is, as long as the restaurant remained in business. 

That is my curve ball.  We plan to dine there this evening, a chance to say good-bye to people who have become friends, and half the neighborhood will be there today and tomorrow. 

So, what do I choose to do?  Do I have my modified sandwich, as usual, or do I order it full monty, the way it was originally created - for one last taste of my all-time favorite sandwich? 

The question I am asking myself today is this:  Do I indulge in my favorite sandwich, with cheese, knowing I can't have it again?  Or do I remember the higher priority of my health, and have the modified version? 

Not so easy to answer, knowing how long forever is, and that this is just one single meal and a one-shot deal.  How will I feel afterwards?  Food is never that important, after the fact.  That bears keeping in mind.  Still, no slam dunk resolve is forthcoming.  Forever is a long time, to never enjoy a favorite anything.

So, I turn to math.  There simply isn't much goat cheese used in the wrap.  Less, in fact, than an inch-cube, crumbled into the masterpiece.  I looked up what a 1" cube of goat cheese has for nutritional value, just to be conservative.  Perhaps I can compensate elsewhere for the added calories ...

I am on a low-fat diet, so I know the added bit of fat won't be bothersome.  I remain way below the maximum allowed of fats on my plan.  The calories are, conservatively, 100, but even if I double that number, I can compensate for that readily.  No issues there. 

The bigger picture will be, can I handle introducing my beloved cheese back into my diet?  In other words, will just one visit to Cheese Land do it for me?    I don't need a taste sending me to Cheese R Us tomorrow, to stock up my arteries.

How well do I know myself?  No BS, no justifications.  I'm sitting here, deciding how to handle this little test.  I think my resolve is quite strong.  It is actually getting easier, as time goes by, to pass on certain things.  I got past my birthday without my favorite (off-plan) birthday meal.  I didn't even have a sip of wine on our anniversary.  (I toasted with water, what else?)  I didn't have a single bite of candy during Halloween weekend, despite the perfume of chocolate filling the air at every place we went.  I did have traditional Thanksgiving food, but in a much more health manner - still lost weight that week too.  I  even passed on the fattening food and traditional treats of Christmas, with a meal of homemade vegetable soup.  Healthy won again!  But this?  This is forever.  This is a one-shot, do-I-do-this thing. 

I believe I can manage it, objectively.  I know it won't derail my week, diet-wise.  And I have only consumed 470 calories today so far - plenty left for tonight's meal, whichever way I go.

In the end, I decided to get my favorite sandwich full monty tonight (that means, with cheese).  We'll dine earlier than usual, I'll keep calorie counts in close check, and that will be that.  I'll savor my last taste of my favorite sandwich, and it will be gone - just like some of the beloved family recipes that died with the passing of my grandmother.  I'm confident it won't lead to any off-plan behaviors, and that is the key for me.  I don't use food rewards, and this isn't some compensation or rationalization for my diet.

When you are eating healthy foods, in correct proportions, consistently and persistently, these types of opportunities can be enjoyed.  If I had indulged in other areas throughout the week, this opportunity wouldn't even be an option for me.  As it is, I have 730 calories to play with, in a sandwich plate that will probably barely kiss 600 calories.  The math was my friend today.  So, I get to send my tastebuds one last heavenly tasting sandwich.  I hope they appreciate it.  LOL


  1. Awwww, too bad they are having to close. So many businesses around here have had to shut down this past year. I say, find out the recipe so when you are at goal you can make one for yourself sometime.

  2. I was going to say the same thing, get the recipe...

  3. Hey, take a picture of that sandwich... I am so curious to see what it looks like! Enjoy and then back to business girl!!

    Happy New Year!!


  4. dude, it's one eat it, get on with it. enjoy it. move on.
    that's all.

  5. If I knew that tonight was my last chance to eat pizza...? Forever?? I would eat the pizza. ;-)
    (And I am NOT coddling you. Do it!)

  6. Maybe it's time to learn that eating one sandwich isn't the end? What we need to learn is that it isn't an all or nothing approach that works.

    I was watching a show about addictions, and I heard that people who are addicted to things, be it alcohol or food, tend to look at the world in black and white terms--all or nothing. But that's not real. Be real my friend.

  7. I'd eat the sandwich knowing that the place is closing down. I'd also ask for the recipe! Save your calories or plan an extra work out session. I understand the need for iron walls for self protection against falling down the slippery slope. So if you don't feel you can let yourself then that is ok too!

  8. And I hope you'll enjoy your sandwich!

    (Ask them for their secret!)

  9. I agree with Christine. This is a SANDWICH. This shouldn't be cause for a life long memory. Mouth or health. Which is more important to you?

  10. Enjoy your sandwich. Do you think they'll give you a recipe or two since they won't be in business anymore? That way you can make it at home but healthier style. :)

  11. I had a favorite was a ham and cream cheese hoagie. The ham was grilled, bun warmed, with cream cheese, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, onion, lettuce and italian dressing. This was without a doubt the best food I have ever tasted. It was at a mom and pop shop in my home town. Whenever I would travel home (300+ miles) I would make sure to fit this place in. The owners retired last year and I never knew until my trip home this November. Talk about devastation. I never had my last chance meal. If I had the choice you do, I would go for the full monty and have no regrets about it.

    I'm sorry to hear the place is closing down and hope you enjoy it one last time.

  12. Thanks for all the comments. Goodness, I didn't mean for my post to come across as all about one little sandwich! YES, it is just one sandwich (and a veggie based one at that). It wasn't so much a self-debate on whether I could swing the calories, but about how I now approach food - the decision process applies to any "special" situation, and mostly centers on how well I know myself now, and whether this would be a spring board to other non-plan eating (it wasn't).

    I enjoyed the sandwich immensely. The chef wasn't giving away any secrets, though I'm not surprised. Anyway, it would be hard to replicate unless I went out and bought hickory to burn, just to begin with. LOL

    I had lots of water to wash everything down. And I ended the day with a very slight calorie deficit, even with my evening snack.

    You know, I never realized this before, but cheese really tastes a bit salty to me now. I haven't had real cheese in over 5 months, before tonight's little taste. My tastebuds are really fine-tuned now. Funny how that works.

  13. Mmm, yum! I'm glad you enjoyed it!!!