Thursday, April 16, 2009

I don't want to be THAT guy, but...

You know that skinny friend who has to preface an appetizer or dessert order with, "Let's be bad..."?
Or the guy who lost a bunch of weight on Atkins and palpitates at the mere thought of a carb?
Or the chick who thinks five potato chips are a splurge? 
I worry that I'm headed down that path.  A few weeks ago I wrote about having a panic attack over pasta back in 2003.  I don't think I'm at that point yet, but I caught myself doing and saying some things in the past week that are so that guy.
During a discussion about the nastiness of Red Bull, my dad said that he preferred another energy drink called FOS.  He went into his recycling bin to produce the visual aide - a crinkled 16 oz. can.  I checked out the nutrition label, and not surprisingly, the two-serving can packed a total of 280 calories.  So I says to him, I says, "There are 280 calories in this thing!  There's no nutritional value to this drink!"
Dad:  "So?  What?  Well, it gives you energy..."
Me:  "But you could eat four eggs for the same number of calories.  You could have a sandwich."
Dad:  "Yeah, but then I'd feel nasty...after four eggs."
Me:  "That's not the point.  You could have something in your stomach, that takes time to digest, that makes you feel fuller longer."
Dad:  "Well, it's just for energy...I don't need to be full..."
It then went on with me saying if you need an energy drink, just get a sugar free Red Bull and choke it back.  That's what I do before my improv shows.  I hate the taste too, but so what?  I'd rather eat my calories than drink them.
I felt like such an A-hole.  Who am I?  Fucking Susan Powter?  He's a growed man, he can make his own decisions.  And while it was a lighthearted conversation and I didn't really chastise him, he could have been embarrassed.  Who knows?  Who gives an ess what I think?
I just know I don't want to be that person.  I don't want to lecture people on what goes into their mouths because I've been lectured all my life.  Stay tuned for the Bad Advice series of posts.
Conversely, I don't want to judge people that I perceive are extreme dieters.  Not because I feel sorry for them, but just because...fuck 'em.  They'll make their mistakes and come around, or they'll just keep living in fear of every bite they take.  They're big kids.  Fuck 'em.  I can't waste my time or energy worrying about people who act like fools.  I don't want them pushing their fads on me, so I shan't push mine on them. 
So there's that,



Sarah said...

Sigh, I am that guy sometimes. I TRY SO HARD to keep it in check. My string bean husband is gaining weight, 10 pounds in the last year and now he is looking at calorie labels. He didn't know what he was eating. When I met him he seriously didn't know that Diet Coke had NO calories in it. I try not to be preachy, but I want him to last.

But I also didn't have anyone lecturing me growing up--- I think I would feel differently if that had been the case. It does sound different when it is said with love and not maliciousness. But man, that line is hard to determine sometimes.

Laura said...

Sarah, I know how you feel. It is a thin line, and most of the time I'm on the preachy side. I find myself citing calories to people (who ask for them), and it's kind of scary. But when most of your mental energy is spent on what you eat, you can't help but be that guy. It's really funny when you come across someone who doesn't think about food in terms of calories - esp. if they're thin. They look at you like you're from a different world, and you look at them like they were born of an extraterrestrial pod.

Sarah said...

That would be my husband.... but unfortunately we live in a world where you HAVE to be aware of this if you have a propensity to gain weight. He has this trail mix he loves, it's peanuts, m&ms raisins and a few cashews. One bag is a little over 6 ounces with 160 cals per serving. It was on sale at the grocery store and I asked him, Pop Quiz style how many servings in teh bag and how many calories per serving. His answers made me wince, 3 and 140, a difference of 540 calories. He'll eat a bag at a time.

I made my peace a long time ago with thinking about food, but not being consumed with thoughts of it. Again, another fine line. I don't have any problem with being educated (or educating others) with what is in something. Better to know what you are putting into your body than to not I think. It should apply to everyone I think these days. Back when you made everything yourself or ate off the farm life was different but now. I wish more people made the effort, even if it's not weight loss related.