What happens when you have a Business Breakfast and you are on a liquid diet?  You can make a plan. You can call ahead and explain the situation. You can cancel and live the life of the hermit.  I prefer to enter the mind of the Zebra…..

That is the situation for Day 3. I had a business breakfast and I really had to put some thought into it. I knew that there were going to be five people at this breakfast and one of them was a financial expert flown in from NYC to talk to a group of local investor types like myself.

I really did not want to cancel the meeting.  I did not know how the very thin executive at Bank of America would react when I called him to tell him that I was newly on a liquid diet and could not eat at the breakfast. I tried hard to make a plan. So, my decision was to go to the breakfast and to order coffee. I could either say I already ate or I could say that it was too early for me to eat or some kind of excuse like that.

When I arrived at the breakfast at the very posh “Zebra” restaurant in Charlotte, NC, I found four very stuffy shirt types in their monkey suits already there.  They were already deep in discussion. It seemed mostly about Oil and the Middle East. I took my seat and the waiter immediately turned over my coffee cup and poured me coffee. Well, at least that is on a starvation diet like Optifast. I also asked for a glass of water right away.  I thought that was a good plan in case things got hard watching everyone eat. I could do the old trick of swallowing a glass of water and trying to fill up.

I really started to feel the pressure to order right away. Everyone I think had already ordered. I had arrived a little late and I thought that might be a good strategy: Arrive late and say I already ate.  But I could tell that this was not going to work. I searched my mind as to what to do. I thought maybe to explain that I woke up and I have an upset stomach and I would rather not eat, but then why go to the meeting? — and who drinks coffee when they are sick but eats no food? So things were getting tougher and tougher.

The waiter came up and stood right next to me. The Bank of America Executive said to me, “We have already ordered, Ed. Go right ahead.” I quickly said, “What did you order, Tim?” He said the first thing on the menu. I said, “I will have the same.” The waiter said, “Wheat toast and Turkey Sausage?” I quickly said yes.

Well, I had really done it now… What was I going to do… I quickly thought, well it is only day 3 why not just taste everything or eat a little. How will it matter?  And then I thought, you know, if I do this now, what will keep me on this diet?  I have 16 weeks of complete shakes. Then I have 16 weeks of refeeding or maintenance. What makes me think if on Day 3 I can’t handle a Business Breakfast that I can successfully fast for 16 weeks?

So the conversation went on and the expert from NYC went on about commodity prices and oil and Obama and healthcare and Dodd/Frank and how about those lawmakers in Michigan — I interrupted — Wisconsin — what? — it is the lawmakers in Wisconsin — oh yes right — and on they went again. 

My panic was setting in. In a few minutes I would have sitting in front of me two eggs over easy, two slices of wheat toast heavily buttered, a cup of grits with butter oozing over the sides, and some kind of potatoes that were chopped up seasoned with “stuff” and then put on a griddle with butter, lard, oil, whatever.  I really had no plan but to eat it slowly and only a little bit of it.

I finally thought, here we are at Zebra Restaurant, let’s get into the mind of the Zebra.  What would a wild Zebra in Africa do? Here it is with a pack of other Zebras. But they are all thin Zebra’s with really nice stripes. Here I am a Zebra whose gut is hanging on the ground. A Zebra whose knees and ankles and shoulder hurt when it tries to get up and run.  A Zebra who is wearing 4X stripes from a Big and Tall catalogue that look cheap and seem tentish for no reason. All the other Zebras are at the watering hole.  They are drinking and eating exotic grasses and such.  It is sunrise in Africa and the early Spring harvest is bountiful. They are all eating, drinking, and talking about the American Tourists who will surely be by in their Safari Jeeps to take pictures later. But I am not eating. I am on a starvation diet. To try to get my stripes back to the same as the other Zebras. But they are having a good time and they surely will ask me to partake in the morning pleasures. What would the Zebra do? What would the Zebra do?

Then I thought, that has to be the dumbest thing I have ever thought of. What the hell would a Zebra in Africa have to be on a starvation diet for? And how many calories can exotic grass have anyways??? I must be losing my mind on this diet.

Back to square one.

The food arrived.

I stared at it…

I kept staring at it.

Finally, I had it… I stirred things around. I cut and moved stuff on my plate. I took the toast and broke it into pieces and made it look like I was eating it… I took the grits and poured some on my plate… I stirred the grits around with the potatoes and eggs and sausage. I made a big mess.  Then I started talking. I entered the conversation and I did not stop until breakfast was over.  I looked around and some at cleared their plate. Some ate some things and others left more. Some had a mess like mine. I might have looked a little out-of-place. Someone may have thought I may not have eaten much but I was talking most of the time. They came and took the plate and I had not eaten one thing on it.  I had some fun moving stuff all over the place and I know my mother would say something about kids in Africa, but I made it through.

The waiter picked up the plates and he asked me if everything was “okay”. I turned and looked at him and said, “Perfect. Thanks.” He took it away. I felt soooooo much better.  I will tell you that I was not hungry. I had one of my shakes out in the parking lot before I went in. I knew what I was up against and really I did not feel hunger once.  I would have sat there and ate that breakfast and for what? It must have been close to 1000 calories. It wasn’t incredible. It was just a regular breakfast (although they serve Illy coffee and if you have never had that — that is worth it!).  Bank of America paid for it.  It was a waste of $11.95 and the next time you get billed for an overdraft, I thank you. I did waste a bunch of food. But I was able to have a Business Breakfast without the fear of having to reveal the horrible fact that I am on a quest to lose 200 lbs. and that I am on a starvation diet — all of this on DAY 3!

Next time I think I will be strong enough to just order coffee.  Maybe when I accept the invitation I will send it back saying that I plan to only have coffee and arrive a little late. No one will care honestly. Why do we fat people care so much what others think about us? Why we are scared to eat in public or to even attend these kinds of events? I felt it for so long and today I was finally able to release it. I don’t care. I am on a journey to lose 200 lbs.  This journey cannot be stopped by people who have $11.95 breakfasts or get me to the point of wasting food.

Today was in incredible learning experience. I hope I can apply it to after the fast. I know, I know, one day at a time. But will it not be great to sit in a restaurant some day and not eat everything on my plate and not care what anyone thinks and to be who I am? When you have a Business Breakfast, some people eat everything on their plate, some eat some things on their plate, and some (wink) eat nothing on their plate.

  1. Congratulations on messing the plate but not eating it. Great job.

    However, next time just tell them, just coffee for me I’m on a diet. Sure the suited clowns would have given you the “sure isn’t working” stare, but you might not have the willpower next time.

    Most people really will be supportive and after you have told a few people, it will also get easier to talk about it. And of course once you have numbers to back up your loss, it will get even easier.

    A+ for willpower but D- for putting yourself in a real tight spot. 😀

    I of course advocate hermit mode but there are some occasions you can’t hide from like this one. Next time just be honest and try not to put so much pressure on yourself.

    Heck, all you needed to tell them was you woke up early and already ate something. Done and done.

    But either way, great job so far, keep up the good work and have a great weekend.

    • You are exactly right of course.
      I think I just needed to experience the whole thing to come to the right conclusions.
      Thanks for your continued encouragement and support.
      Tuesday Night is the 1st week weigh in — so of course — I cannot wait for the weekend to be over.
      Have a great weekend yourself!

  2. I agree with 100 — Great Job! he is also right about how much support you will find. I was AMAZED, how much I have received. I think that was a good move to stir the food around and NOT partake. I have to tell you … once you are in for about a week … any addition of regular food could cause you to be in excruciating pain, Beth sez hospitalized even. So … remember that when you do have temptations.

    One thing several of the folks tell people in my group is that they are on a Dr. prescribed treatment plan — it seems to work GREAT.

    I weigh in ever Tuesday morning at 8 am. So I will be checkin back in on ya Tuesday to hear about your good news. 🙂

    • I like the Dr. Rx Treatment Plan… Great idea. I will keep that in my back pocket.
      I look forward to hearing your good news on Tuesday before my good news Tuesday Night.
      My meeting is at 7pm and it is a long drive from my house.
      I don’t think I will be back until 10pm — so it might be Wednesday morning.
      I will try to get it set up so that all I have to do is save the number and post — and then go to bed…. LOL

  3. […] Then I saw some Illy coffee.  I don’t really like coffee.   But I was inspired by a post by Optifast Loser discussing how he pushed around some food on his plate, enjoying only the Illy […]

  4. Misty says:

    That is epic! Mind of the zebra. Love it.

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