I received a cup of pink grapefruit for Valentine’s Day from the hubby, and it was probably one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. Roses, candy – those don’t require much thought. Don’t get me wrong: I loves me some roses, but I’m also a big fan of chocolate, emphasis on “big.” It was the last thing I wanted or needed, so I was so grateful to see the little red bear and little red fruit. Now that required thought.
We did the restaurant thing the night before, thinking we’d beat the Valentine’s Day crowds. Wrong. Still, it was worth the wait: We went to one of my favorite restaurants, Macaroni Grill. The menu had changed quite a bit, so the waitress told us about the new, fresh offerings, then handed me a list of options that were all less than 600 calories. (Yes, this made me self-conscious. Yes, I looked around to make sure she wasn’t just handing the list to the big people.)
One of my favorites, lobster ravioli, was on the list! So I didn’t order it. No, I’m not sure why, but I’m leaning toward the psychology of eating out, which has something to do with wanting to get my money’s worth. Seriously, though, what does that mean? Portion sizes in most restaurants are already massive, no doubt contributing to the nation’s obesity crisis. Everything on the low-cal list sounded wonderful. But the one dish I order most often – linguine con vongole (linguine with clams in a white wine sauce) – was on neither menu. It had been replaced with a combination of clams, shrimp and scallops.
Resistance was futile.
We shared an appetizer of fried calamari, and I resisted dipping their signature bread in olive oil. When my linguine came, I was pleased to see it was of reasonable size. I passed on the wine and dessert, the latter of which was never an option.
The scale Sunday morning was up a pound, which I had expected. I had a breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt, then baked some heart-shaped blueberry muffins for the fam before ironing my red t-shirt and heading to the gym. I put my stuff in the locker and headed for the elliptical. People, I did not want to be there. For a full five minutes, I stood by the machine, fiddling with my headphones, switching through the channels of the built-in TV, tightening my shoe laces. It was so hard to get started, and after I did, all I could think about was maybe just doing five minutes. Then 10. Definitely quitting after 15. At 16 minutes, I figured I’d gotten this far, might as well finish the whole 20 – which I did, with an attitude problem.
Maybe I was just tired. Maybe it was carb poisoning. Maybe I really wanted a box of chocolates instead of a cup of grapefruit. I don’t even like grapefruit.
I couldn’t quite get at the source of my frustration, so I took it out on the resistance machines, and started to feel better. The endorphins were kicking in. After the sauna and a shower, I felt completely relaxed. We decided to pass on the movie – good, because I’m not quite ready to Just Say No to popcorn – and I spent much of the day watching taped shows and drifting in and out of sleep. It wasn’t the best Valentine’s Day, but it was my healthiest by far.
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.