Thoughts from afar

Is Florida technically classified at “afar” for me? Hmmm.

It’s always interesting to see what I notice, or what stands out to me when we make a trip back to Canada or the US. It’s different each time.
One thing that is jumping up and down and running around and saying, “Hey, look at me!” this time around is the whole food thing and the amount that we eat in North America. I’m not necessarily noticing it from a have and have not perspective, but more from the perspective of how much we think is normal to eat. I’m seeing so many overweight people, and I’m saying that as someone who is overweight with a high BMI, so please don’t be offended. It’s just and observation, not a judgment.
Let me explain why my radar is going off with this one. A couple weeks ago I started using THIS online program to help me eat better and lose weight. I’m really liking it. I’m learning a lot through it, like how screwed up my idea of portion sizes was, and that I have some emotional eating issues. Exercise was this thing I loathed, but now know it was just because I did it at the wrong time of day for me. Because of all this I knew it would be challenging and interesting to come back to the land of plenty where I was going to be eating out for 5 days. And oh boy, has it ever been interesting.
Yesterday morning we went to the IHOP right by our hotel for breakfast. I need to preface this with letting you know that pancakes, especially restaurant buttermilk pancakes, are one of my all time favorite breakfasts. As Darren and I sat there looking at the menu my gag reflexes were going off. I was appalled at how much food came with each plate. 2 eggs, 2 strips of bacon, 2 slices of ham, hash browns and 5 pancakes on the side. Really??? Are you kidding me?? Gag, gag, gag. The crazy thing is that there were all these little bells going off in my head at the same time because I had never before thought like that when I looked at a menu. Never. I used to be the person that wanted to get the most bang for my buck. For me it was such a strange moment. I was so excited to see the shift in my thinking because that was a HUGE one for me. What? I can look at a menu and realize that my total needed calories for one day is in one of those meals?? HUH? And at the same time I was trying to decide what looked good while trying not to gag at how much food was presented there. And it made me sad because our culture thinks that’s normal. We tell ourselves it’s normal. I still want to get the biggest bang for my buck, but yesterday the challenge was ordering something that I knew I could mostly finish because no way was I wasting money on food I wasn’t going to eat. I finally decided to go with the spinach and mushroom omelet with side of fruit, which I shared with Darren in exchange for one pancake. And it was good. So good. But I still couldn’t finish it all.
And that brings me to the next crazy “Leslie, things are a changin’ ” thing, which is that after we got home last night from a day of shopping and other stuff I realized that not once yesterday could I finish everything on my plate. It is no longer physically possible for me to consume the amount of food I did before. Again, I have never had that “problem” before. That feels so freakin’ good. The last time Chris and I came home together we knew we would be eating out and we decided that we would try to share entrees whenever possible just because of the quantity of food that comes. I’ll admit, I kind of did it begrudgingly, but now I would be ecstatic. Seriously.
And yesterday we went to SUPERTARGET, which, as an aside, has it’s own street sign. As in, the road it’s on is called “SUPERTARGET”. Hee hee hee. We don’t have Target in Canada so it’s always a nice day for Leslie when I get to make a trip and stock up on stuff. One thing I love about Target is their “treats” section where you find all the fun food stuff like flavored martini glass rimmers and more kinds of chocolate bars than you can even name. And you know what? I fully intended to cruise those aisles and take back some fun stuff, like maybe a few bacon chocolate bars which sound so disgusting but will rock your world. I was a little overwhelmed by the whole store because it’s been a year since I was even in North America, and two years since I was at a Target. Aaaaahhhh. Do you know how many of those little treats came out of the store with me? One. Only one. Because as I stood there looking at things I was thinking about all the treats my friend Lindsey had already sent and realized that just that thought was making my stomach turn. Was I really reacting to chocolate? Really? So yes, only one little bar came out with me. And of that bar, only one little piece has been consumed. I got more excited about the peaches in the produce section, to be honest. Wow! Did my world just shift of it’s axis there?
Yesterday was our “shopping” day where Darren willingly followed me around Old Navy and then Target, not once, but twice. We went earlier in the day and I got everything on my “stock up list”. Everyone who has ever been a missionary overseas in places where you don’t necessarily even have a grocery store will know exactly what that list is. And the crazy thing is, after we got back to the hotel and I sorted everything and put it in the bags, they were still only about half full. So we went back. Because to go into Haiti with only half of you weight used is blasphemous in the missionary community. Every. Pound. Counts. And if you aren’t going to use it for yourself then you start contacting your friends and asking if they need anything brought in. Or, you get on MSN with your husband and ask what he wants :) And then you plan to make a third trip to the store to use up every, little bit of space.
Yesterday we did the Titanic exhibit, which was kind of cool. And today and tomorrow we’re going to Disney World. And, were as excited at two elementary school kids. Last night Darren spent an hour pouring over the website so “he could be ready”. We’re having a lot of fun together and it reminds me of why I love my brother so much. When we were younger there were a lot of times where I wasn’t super nice to him, but we grew through that and now we have a great relationship where we love to spend time together and just fall into this wonderful rhythm whenever we see each other. I love that because I know so many people that don’t get along well with their siblings. I feel so thankful that we have a great relationship. Right now he’s mocking me because I put both the decaf and the caffeinated coffee packets in the coffee maker this morning so the coffee was strong enough. ;)
Okay, time to go eat something and then go hang out with Mickey!
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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

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