We Shall Call Her Bessie
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Brittany Sajbel is an associate attorney in Concord. Her March wedding planning has hit quite a few bumps in the road, but she remains positive and sane with the help of her amazing fiance, Neil Love, and their two furbabies, Gemma Bean and Kitty Caroline. Contact Brittany here.
For me, one of the most difficult parts of dieting is that I am an indecisive eater. I am adventurous as often as I am plain-jane, and that makes dieting a hassle when I can just as easily reach for a bowl of cereal as prepare myself something healthy.Last Thursday, the attorneys in my law firm went out as a group to celebrate the season and the making of my favorite blog critic, Ben, a partner in the firm. Over twenty people went out to dinner, and it became painfully obvious that I would be the one holding up the group when it came time to order. I could go with filet mignon, my traditional favorite, or something more adventurous like the crab-topped tilapia. When others raved about the lobster bisque, I knew that more seafood was out of the running, so steak it was.Yet still I panicked. As the last member of our two tables to order, all eyes were on me, including the waiter, who was ready to hustle back to the kitchen to begin preparing the feast. When I asked the waiter what he would order, he gave the obligatory 2-3 choices that most diners seem to safely bet on. I asked him more specifically, if he were to sit down and eat something right now, what would he get? The reply came that I was looking to grab onto in my moment of panic and indecisiveness: For people that cant decide on what cut to get, the porterhouse is a good option. It has the strip and the filet in one. Neil and I have grilled out with friends before and had a porterhouse. The name rang a bell. As I quickly scanned down the menu, the price of the steak seemed to be in-line with the other cuts and was a bit less than the ribeye, which I had always considered a lesser cut than a filet. Porterhouse it was, along with the bisque and some macaroni and cheese. I was just glad the moment had passed, and I could move back to enjoying the conversation, huddled around my glass of wine.When the steaks came out to the table, I immediately realized the tremendous (literally) mistake that I had made. There is was, in its medium-rare glorya cut of steak the size of the plate upon which it was served. An entire side of beef.It may as well have had a name and hooves.As I was heckled by my coworkers and embarrassed out of my mind, a single thought popped into my head, spurned on by years of being the oldest and most competitive child in the family: I can eat that.As I later learned, the size of the steak was clearly labeled on the menu. Specifically, Bessie was A 28 oz. Statement! that I had failed to acknowledge prior to her arrival in front of my fork. Surrounded by coworkers all superior in seniority to me and their lovely partners, I figured the best way out of an already horrifically embarrassing situation was to make the most of it and show Bessie who was boss. Panic is not an attractive feature in a trial attorney, so I decided that 28 ounces of meat was exactly what I needed to hit the spot that night.By the time the beast had been conquered, I felt pretty good about enjoying the last few bites. Having been on the Atkins diet for the better part of the last year, my body is a lean, mean, meat-processing machine. While others at the table complained of starting to break out in the meat sweats from their own dinners, I am confident I could have fit in another five ounces for sure and realized that I may be able to give Kobayashi, Joey Chestnut, and Adam Richman a run for their money.I was conditioned from a young age that it is wasteful to leave food on your plate at the end of the meal. I realize this is probably a bad thing when it comes to unhealthy items, but I did not feel guilty after ingesting 28 ounces of delicious steak. Rather, I felt all right knowing that I had just overcome the odds and made the best of a bad situation. I may have felt more ladylike if I had left half of the steak on my plate at the end of the meal, but then I wouldnt have a story to tell or a goal to live up to in the years ahead. Maybe I blew my diet that night, but isnt that part of the spirit of the holiday season? I wrote last week about a diet of moderation over the winter months, and I think this falls on the edge of that philosophy. I know theres no way Ill be eating steak for the next few weeks, and I know that I can work off the calories from that creature in a good week of exercise. Most rich meals I leave the table feeling bad or guilty about. After Bessie, I felt like I had enjoyed a delicious dinner that I knew it would take some effort to burn off, but it was possible. I wasnt in a depressed food coma, thinking that the entire meal was going to go to my hips. I was absolutely okay knowing that just because I ate something, it wasnt going to hang around as five pounds for eternity. I know now that I have complete control over what happens to calories after I eat them, and I have never been in that mental place before. The goal of the Carolina Bride Challenge has been to Get Fit, and I think its as important that my mind is in a healthy place as much as my body in terms of knowing the consequences and the balance between putting calories into my body and being willing to work them off. With Christmas Day over and New Years just around the corner, Im happy knowing that I can have a resolution to stay on the track Im already on, rather than starting from scratch. I would have been in a much better place years ago if I had chosen to focus on getting my mind fit before my body, but its better late than never.I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!
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