Long before my disordered eating issues began, I was a picky eater, often related to my body’s intolerance to certain foods (I have I.B.S. which flares up with creamy foods, tomato-based foods, etc.)
And once I joined Weight Watchers in 2004, and began paying closer attention to what I ate, the I.B.S. flare-ups subsided (although not entirely).
Then, as I learned more about nutrition … I became even more picky/selectively restrictive, for different reasons (i.e., disordered ones).
(In case you’re curious, in Spanish, the word is “pilosa” — yea, I’ve been called that, too).
In the beginning, I was a little embarrassed to order, since I always felt like Sally in When Harry Met Sally — as in, “I’ll have the BBQ chicken but with the sauce on the side and instead of the loaded sweet potato I’d like it dry and could I get steamed veggies instead of with the special sauce?”
But having waited tables during semester breaks in college, I had seen pretty much every type of customer: with allergies, dietetic preferences, personal preferences … so I never felt too bad about being so picky.
Still, I always felt like my dining companions were internally rolling their eyes at my myriad of requests … and I never wanted anyone to feel like just because I ordered this way, that I cared how they ordered. (Frankly, it’s a lot easier to order something “as is”!)
And so I’ve long struggled with two conflicting frames of mind. One, that my body is my temple and I should just get what I want, how want it … and two, I could just order something “as is” and only eat a little of it. Being someone who likes to eat, I almost always prefer to order something I can eat in full and enjoy — which means being picky/pilosa.
Which brings me to today.
I’m traveling for work and had breakfast with two (male) co-workers at the airport in Minneapolis this morning (from where I’m blogging as we speak).
I ordered the 1-egg/3 egg white omelet (but asked for all whites, since I prefer whites) with spinach, scallions and goat cheese; dry toast (I like to add my own butter/jelly), no roasted red peppers (do not like them, never have).
My order came out 1-egg/3 whites, with roasted red peppers, and the toast had butter on it.
The old Melissa would have freaked out, sent it back, and driven my server crazy. Being I wasn’t with my mom or husband or best friend (i.e., someone who knows me super-well) I didn’t say a word … even when the waitress realized the whole order had been wrong and offered to re-make it.
Why? Well, I didn’t want to make a scene, and I also didn’t want to wait for another meal (I was hungry). Plus, I figure the extra fat might help sustain me for the long day of traveling.
So I just picked out the red peppers, ate only 1/2 the omelet, and enjoyed the slice of sourdough toast as it was. And you know what? I felt fine. Satisfied.
Sometimes it’s nice to just “be,” to allow myself to “cross a bridge when I get to it” versus over-dramatizing something unnecessarily. I think, ultimately, there’s a time and place. I so rarely order anything “as is” and really doubt this one time will kill me.
And when I have moments like this, I genuinely feel like I’m making significant progress.
Let’s see how the rest of the time goes (at this conference, all meals are pre-planned).
I just need to remember to use my head, and to have faith that I am better than I was a year ago and I am, in fact, on the mend.
How about you? How do you order? Do you send food back? How do others react to how you order, and does it matter to you?