Guest Post by Jan Bono
Crabby and the Lobster are off in Playa del Carmen feeling very thankful for just about everything, as you can imagine. On Crabby’s return she will no doubt torture you with photos. But meantime, here is an excerpt from Jan Bono’s, “Back from Obesity, My 252-pound Weight-loss Journey,” in which she faces her very first Thanksgiving determined to eat only “healthy” foods. Happy Thanksgiving! –Crabby
Giving thanks for broccoli and other green things
Six weeks into my commitment I butted up against the holiday specifically dedicated to stuffing oneself with stuffing. Not even in my wildest imagination could I fathom living through the fourth Thursday in November without eating to excess.
Understandably terrified, I knew I couldn’t trust myself to go anywhere near my family of origin; there were way too many land mines to navigate. Dealing with all those life-long familial issues while precariously clinging to my fledgling food plan was too much to ask of myself. I didn’t have enough time invested in this new lifestyle to feel comfortable not using food to medicate around my relatives.
It may sound simplistic, but all my life I had “coped” with the family drama by overeating. Not wanting to get sucked back into my old, ineffective coping skills when I was just getting my life back on track, I talked it over with friends in my support group. Putting me first, and practicing good self-care, I politely declined the invitations to “go north” for the holidays.
I considered going out to a local restaurant, one where there wasn’t going to be an all-you-can-eat buffet, and ordering a simple turkey dinner. My mouth watered profusely as I scanned the newspaper. Each restaurant advertised their take on the traditional national food fest. I shook my head to clear my thinking. No, restaurant dining wasn’t the answer either.Well, I could always stay home and eat the infamous Hungry Man’s Turkey TV Dinner. Or maybe two or three of them. Or maybe I could forgo the actual dinner and head right for dessert. I could get a deep-dish pumpkin pie and eat the whole darn thing and probably be none the worse for wear—as long as I promised myself that would be all I’d eat that day.Of course Miki sympathized. She was the designated cook for her family, yet she was determined to stick with her Prism food plan. She suggested I have dinner at her house so we could encourage each other. I declined, saying it was a “family time,” she would be surrounded by her own relatives, her house was rather small, I wouldn’t feel comfortable crashing in, and besides, I didn’t want her thinking I was there to be her food monitor.
She took my words at face value and told me the invitation would remain open even if I woke up on Thursday and had suddenly changed my mind.
On top of everything else, my car wasn’t working properly and I was afraid to stray too far from home. Thoughts about heading down the Oregon coast for a couple days were dismissed as that geographical escape plan was no longer an option.
I lapsed into a bad case of self-pity. Poor, poor me. Poor, poor me can’t eat like a normal person and therefore poor, poor me can’t enjoy Thanksgiving. Poor, poor me.
Thanksgiving eve my old friend Pat from Port Angeles called and told me he was on his way “to the ocean.” He said to expect him the next day around noon. I told him not to come, there was no food in the house, and I was going to treat it as just an ordinary day around here. He said not to worry about fixing anything, we’d wing it when he arrived.
So the next morning I got showered and dressed after all. My back-up plan had been to stay in bed all day and intermittently read and watch football. I hadn’t quite figured out the food aspect yet. My friend Pat forced me to shake off some of my despairing thoughts. I found myself actually looking forward to his visit.
Pat arrived bearing food: Two turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches from the local bakery. “It’s against the law not to eat turkey on Thanksgiving,” he explained. “There’s no mayonnaise on yours.”
I looked at my friend a long time before I said a single word. I could have laughed, I could have cried, I could have slathered my own light mayonnaise all over my sandwich and devoured it in three bites.
But I didn’t. I didn’t need to. God had sent His emissary to help me stick with my food plan. Another Eskimo.
And I suddenly knew I could enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving without overeating. The day didn’t have to be about food. It didn’t have to be about massive gluttony. It didn’t have to be about stuffing myself until I lapsed into some kind of sick food coma. I suddenly knew, really knew, deep down in my toes, I didn’t have to eat like that ever again. A power greater than myself had miraculously taken charge.
Pat understood. He’d made an over four hour drive on my behalf simply because he understood. I felt an overwhelming sense of serenity and gratitude.
I took both sandwiches from him, put them into the refrigerator, and allowed myself the first genuine smile of the day as I picked up the phone.
“Miki?” I asked, when my calorie-counting compadre answered my call, “Exactly what time is dinner, would you like me to bring a cheeseless broccoli casserole, and is there room for one more guest besides me at the table?”
Promptly at 2 p.m., we all bowed our heads and gave gratitude for loving, understanding, compassionate friends.
And not one of us over-ate.
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