I don’t like to overeat, for a few reasons. The problem is that I don’t always remember what the reasons are, at least not in time to prevent overeating, especially since it’s not something I do often. This past week was a prime example, when I overate for a couple of days in row, something I almost never do and which resulted in a painful reminder of why I prefer to avoid this.
It happened when I attended a work conference. The first day was mostly fine because it was pre-conference, just prep, so we didn’t have quite as much food around. But that evening I went out to dinner at a great Mexican restaurant called El Vez, and the food was so good I ended up eating more than I needed: guacamole and chips; mahi-mahi tacos; and splitting two desserts with a co-worker, the El Vez (flourless chocolate cake, peanut custard with caramelized bananas, chocolate sauce, peanut butter ice cream), and the Tres Leches cake.
El Vez dessert
That night I slept terribly. This is the first reason I don’t like to overeat. I got snatches of sleep, but mostly my body was wide awake with energy from all that food, bad enough that eventually I got up around 2 a.m. and started reviewing my presentations just to give myself something to do.
As you might imagine, that meant Tuesday didn’t start off that well. I was quite tired, and in one of those annoying twists, I was hungrier than usual. It’s as if the one large meal stretched my stomach, making me feel like I needed even more to fill it, rather than less as one might expect. Second reason I dislike overeating.
By late afternoon, though, I was feeling okay, and not very hungry when we first went to the dinner event. That was just as well, because for the first hour, all we got were itty bitty appetizers: tuna sushi on a tiny cracker; fig spread on bruschetta; lovely little cups of butternut squash soup; small skewers of chicken satay. We didn’t sit down until a little after 7:30, and we didn’t start getting food until around 8, with our main courses arriving at 8:40 and dessert a little after 9.
The problem was, at that point I was starving and devoured everything. Even worse, what I had wasn’t enough to quiet my demanding stomach, so when I got back to my room I had some trail mix and an apple. Of course by the time I finished that, I was overfull. Any guess what that meant? Yep - another horrible night, this time up between 2 and 4 a.m.
By Wednesday this was starting to catch up with me, but I couldn’t focus on it because I had to get through four hours of presenting before the conference ended. I tried to eat more lightly, and at least when I got home around 11 p.m. I didn’t feel as ridiculously stuffed as I had before, but I still didn’t sleep well.
Thursday, though, was when the final reason I dislike overeating came home to me. I felt physically awful. I was sluggish, unable to focus, and felt battered somehow, as if I’d had a bad fall. My body ached, my stomach was queasy and uncomfortable, a headache knocked insistently at the back of my head, and I was generally miserable. It wasn’t until Friday afternoon that I felt mostly back to normal.
The only good thing is that I don’t feel guilty anymore for such things. I do wish that I’d remembered these reasons beforehand, which perhaps would have helped me make a few better choices. I can only hope that writing this will help for any such future events, so that next time I can come home and not have to spend a day or more recovering from too much food.