You oughta just have a burger, he says.

Eating "special food" in public is embarrassing.  There’s no other way around it.  Someone is sitting across from you eating a juicy burger laden with lettuce, tomato, pickle and green chile while you pick at the top of your pre-packed Jenny Craig tuna kit, and well, it’s like wearing a sign that says, "I’m too fat to eat normal food."

While I like most of the food on the Jenny Craig plan, and I love having a calorie-balanced treat like the double chocolate cake or cookies and cream cheesecake, I really don’t enjoy eating it in public.  It raises too many questions and comments.

I was at a meal recently where I decided that there simply would not be enough healthy choices, so I took along the tuna salad kit. 

Here’s what happened:

I go through the buffet line with my family and help my youngest get his burger and sliced cheese, oven fries, and chocolate pudding.  I think about scooping a fingerful of pudding on my way to our table but resist the urge – not because I’m not wonderfully disciplined but because I know he’ll make a scene and reveal to anyone within earshot that I don’t have discipline.  It’s kind of silly to worry about that, really, with the kind of weight I’m working on losing.  I obviously don’t have discipline or I wouldn’t look like this.

Anyway, the fear of public embarrassment keeps me on the straight and narrow.  As my son and husband dig into their meals, I work to peel off the cardboard seal on the top of my tuna kit.  Several attempts later, I decide to employ the use of a plastic knife.  A couple of jabs and I’m finally in.  I pull out the tiny tina can and pull the top off.  The pop as the seal breaks startles the couple sitting across from us. 

"Oh, whatcha go there?" the man asks.

"Tuna salad."

"That don’t look like enough tuna salad for a baby," he says.

"It’s pretty good."

"Don’t look it.  I’m having a purty good burger here.  You oughta have a burger."

What do you say that?  Hon, I’ve already had too many burgers in my lifetime.  I can’t afford another one today.  I just smile and scoop up a wee bite of the tuna on a cracker.

His wife looks over at my meal.  "Are you on a diet?"

No, I want to say.  I’m just special.  Of course I’m on a diet.  What a question.

Instead I smile.  "Yes.  Trying to lose a few pounds."

"Oh, honey, you look fine already," she says. 

My BMI is in the obese range, and I’m half as wide as I am tall.  I do not look fine.

This goes on for the entire meal.  I finally can’t take anymore and excuse myself, chucking the empty wrappers in the trash as I leave the dining hall. 

Next time, I’m just getting the burger to push around on my plate.  I’ll eat the tuna in the car after we’re finished.

Published by Lisa Abeyta

Entrepreneur and passionate foodie.

5 thoughts on “You oughta just have a burger, he says.

  1. It is very interesting for me to read it. I have no weight problem but i can understand how hard it is to try to have some losing weight  food. My friend when she went with me at UBC for a coffee and a meal, she told me that she could only have some potato salad. Then she stared at me eating curry chicken with rice and drinking coffee… she is doing arcupucture of chinese medicine for losing weight. She has already lost 15pounds. then i told her : if so, do not have that potato salad, get a veg. salad as i believe potato can make people obess as well especially fried potatos… so she only had half of it…then  went home with half empty stomach.


  2. Good for you! I also do WW and try to eat a big salad before a  public meal. So many preserved meals are high carb. No wonder our nation is fat…including me. Tuna packs rule!


  3. I have some left over nutrisystem meals that I take in to my part time job.  It’s great because I don’t have to worry about bringing fresh food or food that needs to be in the fridge.  Now when I tried it at my other job, like you, I was embarassed. 
    I had to do some serious canoodling to make myself feel better.  For one, I know know what a normal portion is.  Two, I have learned to eat every 3-4 hours something small.  And three, I’ve learned to eat better all around. 
    I still sigh at the thought of not scarfing that meaty, juicy hamburger, or cry when I want a soda and find myself trying in vain not to gag on Coke Zero.  But after a bit of thinking and re-thinking I’ve come to the conclusion that I put myself in this perdicament.  As a result my health isn’t what it should be and therefore adjustments need to be made.  It does not mean that by the time I do lose the weight I need to that I can have that hamburger, only half of it or just one slice of pizza or that occassional soda.  One day, just not today, tomorrow, next week, month or year LOL.  Thought by the time I do have them again incorporated into my life I will be in a much healthier state of mind.
    You are doing well.  Don’t worry if people look at you funny for eating something from Jenny.  At least you are being proactive while the rest of the nation is sitting on thier duff snacking on salt, sugar and fat.  I used to get strange looks from the cottage cheese I bring to work for snack LOL.  Even worse now because I have no salt added cottage cheese.  I do think I you go for no salt added items beware that the taste is very different than our taste buds have grown accustomed.  (It took me 4 weeks to get used to the taste LOL)


  4. My Mother in law recently told me I just needed to "go with the flow" when saying I’d just eat before I came to a potluck. I’m not doing prepackaged food, but am doing Weight Watchers so a potluck is very frustrating! Supportive, huh?


  5. God, do I know what you mean. I am not sure what happened, but after being a fitness addict for over thirty years, I just said what the hell, and started eating and drinking what I wanted. I do try, and I am not yet too out of control, but just trying to go to a restuarant, or even at home, and eating modestly is a chore in the greatest undertaking.
    What happened to me?
    Great blog.


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