Have you ever seen someone make a scene in a restaurant about food they were served? By making a scene, I mean drawing attention that causes tension and makes people uncomfortable. Although I’m embarrassed to admit it, I confess to doing that.
Even if the customer has a legitimate gripe, such as when a meal doesn’t match its description on the menu or when it smells bad, she can phrase her objection in a way that avoids awkwardness and makes light of the problem.
Back in my dieting days, I caused all sorts of scenes over food, I’m ashamed to say. When I was avoiding carbohydrates on the Atkins Diet, I routinely refused to eat potatoes, rice, bread, all desserts, and even vegetables such as carrots because of their high(!) sugar content. At home this wasn’t a problem, but in someone else’s home, the conversation might have proceeded like this.
“Would you care for some sour cream and onion mashed potatoes?” the hostess says, handing me a china bowl. “They’re my specialty.”
The aroma makes my mouth water. Shall I give in and make her happy? I try not to drool. “They look delicious,” I say.
I’m so hungry I could eat the entire bowl. If I take just a little, it wouldn’t be so bad for my diet, would it? Not if that’s all I ate, but if I indulge now, I’ll probably use that as an excuse to binge later when I’m alone. Is it worth putting the diet off to another day, or should I stick to it and be a jerk.
The bowl I’m holding gets heavy. “No thanks,” I finally say, passing it on to the next person. “I’m so sorry, but potatoes aren’t on my diet.”
By the time dessert rolls around and I’ve eaten only low-carb dishes, which turns out to be celery sticks and chicken—unfortunately, the peas are also off limits—the hostess’s smile is thin. I turn down dessert and rave about the tea, which I sweeten with my own handy packets of sugar-substitute. Shouldn’t she have kicked me out the door by now?
Fortunately, most dieters aren’t as self-serving as I was. (And I’ve never had a guest, dieting or otherwise, who was as rude as I have been.)
While Not Dieting means I’m freer to eat what’s served and I relax more at meals, I’ve discovered that we all make food decisions everyday and that sometimes we need to pass on something. These days, with God’s help and without a hint of dieting drama, I want to major on the good stuff and enjoy my dinner companions. Bon appétit! And please pass those potatoes.