a slice of this girl's blessed, blessed life

Monday, May 21, 2012

challenge: alfredo

over the weekend king louie and i took my gram out to dinner at the olive garden.  she's back in her condo and doing amazing but still likes having people around to help her out.  i had a challenge to do a creamy pasta dish at a restaurant so i thought taking gram to dinner would be a good way to knock it off the list.  if you're wondering why eating creamy pastas in a restaurant is a challenge, please read here and here

i love the idea of eating out but rarely feel comfortable with the experience.  writing these posts can be difficult because i'm never exactly sure how to say what the restaurant experience feels like.  it feels uncomfortable.  i go back in forth in my head between looking for the safest menu choice and a menu choice that sounds good but scares me.  in some ways it is black and white thinking.  this restaurant experience is going to be either a success or a failure.  there's a lot going on there.  it probably sounds strange but i don't have much trouble at five guys.  you might think that a cheeseburger and fries would make me want to lose it but it doesn't.  i think it is because five guys' menu is so limited.  i know that that's what i'm having when i go in.  i don't have to make the choice to have a burger and fries because there's no other option.  at my past session we decided to force me out of my comfort zone and go alfredo.  in a sense i'm taking away the choice of something safer and that is good exposure.

having my gram as a distraction was a good way to take my mind off the fact that i was facing a fear food.  i was so worried about getting her out of the car and safely to a table.  she did awesome.  she grabbed on to my elbow and away we went.  after a quick perusal of the menu i went with a shrimp and scallop fettucini alfredo.  i know most people go nuts for their salad but they have my most favorite minestrone soup.  i was still eating mine with when the entrees came.  it irritates me when this happens.  in my opinion the entrees shouldn't arrive until everyone has finished their soups and salads.  anyway, the meal was really good though i felt it was a bit oversaturated with sacue.  however, the sauce was super creamy and the scallops were nice and sweet.  i didn't get very far because alfredo is rich and i was pretty full from the soup and breadstick.  king louie is going to have some delicious leftovers for dinner tonight. 

final thoughts: this trip to the olive garden went really well.  i'd gone once before and the breadstick as well as the dining experience were the challenge.  this time i did the breadstick and a challenging entree and i'm happy with that.  i'm not sure if i'd order an alfredo dish out at the olive garden again.  while the sauce was tasty i felt like there was a bit too much of it.  it kept me very full for a very long time and it made me really thirsty and my lips dried out.  i've spoke with my dietitian before about these symptoms.  i get them a lot when i eat out.  she has asked if i was experiencing actual fullness or emotional fullness and if the dried out symptoms were due to being uncomfortable with the experience.  i can honestly say that i don't know.  all i know is that i'm actually feeling the sensations and i don't enjoy them.  i hated how i had a horrible taste in my mouth when i woke up yesterday and chugged water like crazy.  it is all part of the process.  all in all, if i ever get to an event where alfredo is the only choice i have the experience and knowledge that i've done alfredo before and everything was fine.  it is called exposure therapy.

i'm sorry that this is all a bit long and rambly and there are no pictures.  my gram had a really great time and enjoyed her lasagna and visit immensely.  she wasn't even bothered by the fact that a gigantic bumble bee dive bombed us and a server had to removed it from the window by our table.  i was freaking out.  not a fan of bees.  after dinner we watched the white sox demolish my more than slightly pathetic cubs.  my gram follows every sport.  she had an intelligent conversation with king louie about the lpga, hockey and basketball playoffs, the preakness, baseball but not soccer.  she can't get into soccer.  what a hoot.  what a lady.  what an alfredo.  what a night.


  1. go you! im glad you had a good visit and overcame the challenge. i have actually never been to an olive garden before.

  2. So proud of you! You accomplished something big! It's still a learning curve in the stage you're in, but you're pushing yourself, which is definitely the hardest part!

  3. Good for you for conquering this challenge! i've had the shrimp and scallop pasta from OG and I loved it! Maybe you had a bad batch? I'm a pasta girl though, I could eat it every single day. Proud of you lady! Keep pushing yourself with these little challenges, and I'm sure you will make yourself proud!

  4. way to go! i just read your previous posts about this and thank you - thank you for saying eating disorders can be about control. my best friend from high school developed bulimia her first year of college - her 5-year boyfriend and her broke up, and she quit the swim team, which she had a scholarship for, held state records in the back stroke and was considering going to the olympics. she went to a rehab facility outside of philly where i visited her often, and it opened me up to the fact that eating disorders aren't just about body image - she specifically said she developed it because she finally felt like she could control something. and i consider myself lucky that was able to admit she had a problem and needed help. not everyone is so lucky.

    as for eating out - this is awesome. step by step. did you think maybe you chugged all that water/had dry lips because salt content can be higher when you eat out? i think it's awesome you're taking this time to learn your body and observe it. the better i have "learned" my body the better i'm able to care for it. at night i'm not as hungry, and eat smaller dinners. but lunch to about 4 PM i eat a lot (and aim for it to have nutritional content, sometimes a piece of candy will slip in there). but other nights i'm really hungry or vice versa. i've found it helps me to listen to my body, and note it's patterns. i think it's awesome you're writing this all down and getting to do that. and i think it's awesome that you support your gram so much and spend time with her. and yes - no entrees if you're still eating your appetizer!

  5. I'm so happy for you for eating Alfredo. I'm also so impressed by your ability to write and articulate this to the world wide web. One day this will all seem like a distant memory I suppose. I hope you can continue to challenge yourself and be your own source of happiness and success.

  6. I HATE bees too!!!

    So so proud of you and kicking this alfredo challenge's ass. It's so cool to read about your growth and perseverance! You are an inspiration :)

    PS - it also drives me crazy when entrees come too soon. Let me eat at my own pace, people!

  7. I'm glad this challenge went well for you. Olive Garden's food is heavy and really salty, so it definitely could have been just the food. It's great you continue to challenge yourself.