Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I don't want what happened in Vegas to stay in Vegas

I wrote last week that Joe and I went to Vegas to celebrate us, to get away from the cold, and to enjoy a weekend away from it all.

When we arrived at our hotel, we were greeted with friendly faces and opulence like I have rarely seen.  Vegas screams money and in some of the casinos, you're overcome by all of the luxury and over-indulgence.

Truthfully, just *thinking* about places like that kind of trigger me.  I'm not sure what it is about walking into places that feel bigger than life...do I feel dwarfed?  Inferior?  Like I need to live up to the hype?

Whatever it is, we both kind of felt like kids in a candy store.  We giggled like schoolkids on our way to the room - we had a great time exploring, walking, and people watching.  Seriously, some of the things people wear are outrageous!  I've always been kind of modest and have had roots in Midwest conservative wear...the 8" platform boots, shorter than short skirts, and cartoon like boobs are C-R-A-Z-Y to me.

After we checked in we realized we were hungry, so we went to the buffet at our hotel.

And oh my gosh - the word "over-indulgence" doesn't cover it.  Everywhere I looked, I saw people gorging themselves silly.  It was more honesty than I (or them) probably wanted to admit.  THIS is what gluttony causes, what it creates, and what it means.  People overflowing in their clothes, cramming food down their throats faster than they can possibly taste. 

Honestly?  It was disgusting.  I felt a bit like paying the admission to the buffet garnered me a membership to a place where sick people go to binge.

I was determined to not be one of them.

I walked the entire buffet - surveying each station and dish - trying to decide what I was really hungry for and what really sounded good.

I had a delicious salad - full of fresh veggies that I love.  Then I had 6 pieces of sushi, two pieces of ravioli, and a small scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream.  That was it.

Each buffet trip we took (one each day) was spent in very much the same way.  The last day I ate a bit more than I normally would've, mostly because I started out absolutely famished.  I ate quicker than I usually do, and by the time that I stopped, I was okay.  But 20 minutes later, I was definitely uncomfortable. 

What did I enjoy at the buffets?  Fresh foods - including steamed veggies and fresh fruits that I usually don't end up getting at the grocery store.  Watermelon is something I never buy because we can never eat all of it before it goes bad...but at the buffets, I could enjoy many pieces of delicious, sweet, and sumptuous watermelon.  It tasted so delicious.  I tried some new veggies that I hadn't ever had before (hello, jicima!) and enjoyed the different flavors immensely.

Whats more, I felt so empowered each time I got up from the buffet (except for the last time) because I knew that I had stopped before I was full.  I stopped before I hated myself and was so miserable that there was no way I could enjoy whatever came next.

We walked around a lot (especially outside where we could be in shirtsleeves and no jackets and still comfortable - something that we haven't been able to do in Denver for a while), we played games, and we lost money.  We took pictures of lions, observed magic tricks, and laughed at silly things.  We drank a handful of drinks the whole weekend and enjoyed ourselves a lot.

I should mention that the meal on Friday night was at a wonderful Italian place.  I had a glass of wine and some mushrooms tossed with fresh gnocchi.  It was so good!  I paused at halfway through my plate and realized that I was still hungry.  So I ate the whole thing.  Like most upscale places, their portions weren't gargantuan, so I didn't feel guilty or bad at all.

We dressed up twice, went to see David Copperfield (which was more than a little cheesy and rehearsed, but still amazing) and Cirque Du Soleil's O (which was mind-blowingly fantastic).

We left money in Vegas, but not as much as we planned on leaving. In fact, our last gambling feat was a pull of a slot machine that gave us $26 and change back.

We had a great time...it was exactly what I wanted out of the weekend and I honestly wouldn't have changed a thing.
I had to tell myself several times to relax, to enjoy the moment, to love where I was at right then and who I was with.  When I was tempted to "eat my money's worth" at the buffets, I reminded myself that the meal would cost the same whether I ate a ton or not.  I reminded myself that my body was worth honoring, worth taking care of.  I gave myself permission to have exactly what I wanted right then - even if it was a salad.  If I wanted something sweeter or saltier at the next meal, that was fine.  But right then I should eat what my body actually wanted. 

I had to remind myself that not eating gobs of food didn't mean that I was missing out.  Those same types of food would be available at the next meal or buffet. 

I want to take what I practiced in Vegas and apply it to my "normal" life here in Denver.  It seemed so easy there to be mindful.  But here, it feels harder.

Is it that my normal life doesn't feel luxurious and opulent?  Maybe.  Is it that I'm trying to spoil myself with Milk Duds and fast food because I feel like I deserve it?  Maybe.  Those are going to be some things that I explore further.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to bring a bit of Vegas home to my life here.  Sans the platform boots and glitter.


Dawn said...

Its one thing to stay on track when preparing your own food and sitting down to eat it but there's a whole new willpower when facing a luxury buffet. well done for staying on track..you have done sooooo well

Janell said...

I wouldn't do a buffet (not with my teeny, tiny tummy). But you go, girl.

I'm not a vegas kind of person. (I'm not sure anyone is) It all seems very over-indulgent and of course, I'd rather hit the See's candy store for that.

Karen said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip for many reasons:)

Lanie Painie said...

Well, maybe a LITTLE glitter. You know, just for at home.

I'm glad you had a great time. :-)

Anonymous said...

I dunno, Pants. I think you'd look pretty awesome with some glitter and hooker shoes. I suspect Joe wouldn't mind either.
I know what you mean about the buffets. It's like watching an old alcoholic bellied up to a bar with a glass of whiskey that's never empty.

Katy said...

That's so so great. PROUD!!! I'm going to re-read this post before I leave.

Kris said...

G.R.E.A.T job!!!!!!
Glad you had fun living in the moments!!!! Hope you warmed the slots up for me...I will be there in 3 weeks!!!