Friday, August 26, 2011

The Vegetable Soup Dilemma

I cannot get this out of my mind.

A couple of weeks ago I met up with a good and very slim friend in a cafe in Jerusalem. We had originally intended to meet for lunch but she had got off to a late start and had a number of errands to complete. We eventually arranged by phone to be at the cafe at 4pm, so DD and I ate lunch at home.

We arrived five minutes late. We found my friend already sitting with a bowl of vegetable soup in front of her. "I'm really sorry, I hope you don't mind that I went ahead and ordered - I haven't eaten all day and I was starving." I assured her that I really didn't mind, and I started to peruse the menu for DD and me.

The truth is that, at 4pm, I only needed coffee, and juice and a biscuit for DD. However, I found myself ordering the children's meal: pizza, ice-cream, and a drink; along with a coffee for me. I knew that DD would drink her apple juice and eat the ice-cream, and that I would probably get to eat most of the pizza. I was right.

While we waited for our meal, my friend invited me to nosh on the bread and butter that came with her soup. I did. She hardly ate any of it. I ended up eating a whole bread roll and butter, and almost a whole pizza. Whilst my friend, who had been starving, enjoyed her vegetable soup and felt much better.

Today I sent her a question: Did you choose the vegetable soup that day because...
a. it was the cheapest option?
b. you fancied vegetable soup?
c. it was the healthiest option?
d. none of the above? (If d. please explain).

What did I want her to say? a? I also need to tighten my belt and should have ordered the cheaper option. b? If she fancied vegetable soup, that would tell me that I need to retrain my brain to 'fancy' vegetable soup. c? Who doesn't need to make healthy choices - must try harder. d? What else could it be?

Turns out she is trying to eat smaller meals and more frequently to combat a tendancy for headaches. So she has a health issue and is eating accordingly. She did say, very kindly, that she would prefer to eat the cheesecake or the chocolate cake. I also have a health issue - I'm overweight.

So why can't I choose the vegetable soup? It's not like I  have to peel and chop the vegetables myself. It certainly looked tastey enough. And even if I vow to choose the vegetable soup next time - how am I going to keep my hands off the bread and butter?


  1. I always eat soup when I'm trying to lose a bit of weight. It's so filling you don't need anything else for lunch. I just never like it in summer though. I think your friend has just got into the healthy eating habit. I've read it takes 66 days to get into a habit and then it becomes second nature. Until then it's very hard to fight the pizza and pudding urges. Don't beat yourself up about it.

  2. I'm sure you don't really want dieting tips from strangers who read your blog, but I know that if I cut out carbs (and sugar) - and I mean very strict - for 2 weeks, I am less inclined to the pastas (which I LOVE) afterwards. I'm not suggesting that the no-carb thing is healthy for the long haul, but to jump-start yourself, I find that it can be helpful. And indeed make that vegetable soup far more appealing than it might have been otherwise.

  3. Rebecca - thanks for the info on 66 days, I'll bear it in mind as I try - again - to be good.

    Anonymous - I do, I do! I'll take from anyone, I'm that desperate t oget back in the zone.

  4. Contrary to Anonymous above me, and prior to discovering that I was a diabetic which regulated my diet for me, I found that reducing my carbs helped. I don't mean cutting them out altogether, rather reducing the consumption of certain carbs. I allowed myself bread on weekends -- for shabbat, although in a degree of moderation. I also switched to wholewheat bread (and pasta), it is healthier, therefore digests better, therefore theoretically (or at least after 66 days) helpsgive a feeling of being "fuller".

    Either way, I completely sympathize. Bread and butter -- there's no greater temptation.


  5. Thank you PLT, I think cutting out bread is the way to go. I already wrote about a 3-week wheat/gluten free challenge. Haven't managed it yet though :(

  6. Maybe veg soup and as healthy and seed-filled a roll as you can find, hold the butter? Good luck.