A friend took me out for my birthday this past weekend. I chose Cheddars, where I had my low cal dinner all planned out. I was going to order grilled salmon, broccoli, rice and a plain sweet potato. Perfect!
All was going well until my friend suddenly announced to the waitress, “We’re celebrating her birthday today!”
‘Yikes’ I though, this will mean she wants to bring me a piece of cake. I immediately told her I didn’t want any cake, and that’s when things got weird.
”Oh?” my friend questioned. “Just a little piece? They really have the best cake here.”
I have been telling people that my stomach has been bothering me, which is true. (It bothers me because of GERD, which stems from me being overweight.) so I played that card. “I really can’t,” I reminded her, “it’s my stomach.”
”Oh they have a great pudding that wouldn’t bother your stomach at all,” she insisted.
I had to confess to her that not eating sugar was a part of my “feeling better” plan. She seemed surprised, like that was a really weird decision to make. And perhaps it is. Who gives up sugar, especially on her birthday? I awkwardly felt like I had to defend my choices, all while the waitress stood there and listened to us. It was embarrassing to say the least.
We finally agreed on a birthday salad. (I should get an award of some kind for that!) I felt like I had won the battle, but it was really uncomfortable.
In retrospect, I thought about what I could have done differently. I guess it would have been a good idea to remind my friend as we were walking into the restaurant that I really appreciate her taking me out, but that I don’t want dessert. The exchange in front of the waitress could have been avoided.
If you’re in a similar situation, take some time to think about what you will say or do in advance. Maybe like me, certain foods upset your stomach. Maybe you could safely say that cake doesn’t agree with you. It doesn’t have to be a physical disagreement. It can be mental too. Explaining to someone that sugar is addictive is really odd in a setting like that, so having a reason why you’re skipping dessert is a really good idea. Plus it will help you focus on your goals as well.
Another thing you can do after declining dessert (for whatever reason) is to change the subject quickly. Again, that’s something that you can think about in advance. Choose something that your friend likes to talk about a lot and that may be the trick.
Even though my dinner was awkward, at the end of the day I was really proud of myself. And I think too that I established my boundaries with my friend a little more too.
The following day (my actual birthday) she texted me a message and ended with a cake emoji and added “no sugar…lol!”
I consider that progress!
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