We made it! Here we are, at the end of week three. And you know what that means!?!? Indulgence meal!!!
I was texting Adam (my hubby) earlier in the day, yesterday, telling him of the places we would be stopping to pick up food for date night/indulgence meal night. His response, “I’m not sure which you are more excited for. Date night with me, or Crumbl and Cava!” (Don’t worry, I told him that date night with him outranked the indulgent food that I was really really excited to eat)! I don’t blame the guy for wondering though… My upcoming indulgence meal has occupied a dominant amount of my thoughts in the last few days. And the outcome was just as fantastic as the anticipation! (But don’t worry, the evening out with him was even better!)
Cava and Crumbl. I know I’ve already talked about Crumbl (multiple times) in these posts. But do you know about Cava? Holy Moly! Think Mediterranean food with a Chipotle-esque concept. (Walk through the line, pick which ingredients you want to walk away with). They have about 80 stores throughout 13 different states in the US. We figured out, last night, that we’ve already spent around $250 on Cava since our Highlands Ranch location opened this last spring (maybe that’s not something I should fess up to?).
Anyway, Cava has these “greens and grains” bowls that have come to be something I can’t live without. I have probably thought about this food, almost daily since I first tried it! Without fail, I always choose the “super greens” (kale, brussels sprouts, chicory, and broccoli), a mix of brown rice and black lentils, 2 scoops of tziki sauce, 1 scoop of hummus, double servings of chicken (to make the bowl last for two meals, it really is a ton of food!), cucumbers, tomato and cucumber salsa, tomato and onion, (yes, they do have a variety of options that include tomatoes and cucumbers), kalamata olives, a yogurt dill sauce and almost the most important addition: the pita crisps on top.
While enjoying this delicious spread, Adam asked, “If this is such a healthy meal, what makes it indulgent?” I told him, if I were going to be picking up food from there on a day that wasn’t a planned indulgence day, the bowl would be much more simple. It would only include the veggies, chicken, maybe a half serving of black lentils (because I absolutely love those!), and only 1 scoop of the tzatziki sauce. Since it was a planned indulgence meal, I wanted all of the goodness, especially the pita crisps up top. The good news is that it is absolutely a place where I can still order a dish, with modifications, to help me in the process of weight loss.
So Cava was the first round of the indulgence meal. Since we are heavily laden in a COVID world, and Cava isn’t one of the local restaurants which have been approved for indoor dining, Adam and I enjoyed a moonlit meal from the car in the parking lot (talk about romantic!). But hey, when the oldest child is geared up to be the babysitter, you take full opportunity to spend even a few minutes away, right!?
Before picking up Cava, we picked up our online order of Crumbl. I did this to ensure this meal could all happen within the designated hour long time frame. Since this is me we’re talking about, I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity for a few tastes of one other item which has been screaming at me from the beginning of this adventure. I had a pan of cinnamon rolls all prepared for when we came home with the cookies.
Don’t worry! Binge eater Amy stayed locked up nice and tight, last night. I did allow myself to eat a little more of the Cava bowl than I typically do, leaving just enough of the protein, veggies, grains, and one scoop of sauce to be an appropriate mini meal for another day. With the cookies, we cut them up into 6 pieces. I took 1 corner of each of those cookie flavors. As I bit into each individual flavor, I made the decision in that first bite if it would be worth it to eat the whole piece, or leave the rest on my plate. There were only two flavors that I really wanted to eat the whole thing: The Biscoff cookie (Holy smokes! This one is going down as a favorite Crumbl cookie flavor!), and the chocolate chip cookie. The other flavors were just kind of “meh”, so I intentionally chose to not finish them. I also picked out the smallest cinnamon roll in the pan. Because I was on the brink of having too much food, I even left some of that on my plate!
Now, this is probably the most important part of this whole post. Since I’ve had three solid weeks of eating non processed, no added sugar, no simple carbs, etc. It was within 20 minutes of eating my Cava bowl that the bloating and gassy tummy set in (TMI? Reminder: I promised full transparency). Sure it was healthy food, but the combination of pita crisps, extra sauces and grains put my digestive system in overdrive. Although I didn’t eat until I was sick, I was able to observe that the types of food I allowed myself in quantities larger than usual aren’t the types or quantities of foods we function best on. It’s way more work, and way harder on the body, when we consume these types of indulgent foods. We just might not realize it when our body is so used to constantly working as hard as it is to digest the excess less strategic foods.
Don’t get me wrong, the indulgent meal actually does more for us than just giving us a break from the boring weight loss food. It helps to reset our hunger hormones. It gives us a psychological break from the rigidity of following rules, it acts as a reward for going a certain period of time with sticking to your plan. It teaches you to respect the rules of weight loss. Lastly, it helps you to recognize the progress you make in the way that the non-strategic foods make you feel.
If you want some science backed reasons in favor the indulgence meals read these two articles: https://legionathletics.com/science-backed-reasons-why-you-should-have-cheat-meals/ and https://greatist.com/health/cheat-days-explained#physical-effects.
Overall, I am giving this indulgent meal experience a 10 out of 10! It served all the right purposes. I felt like I kept myself reigned in, and it provided a much needed date night with the hubs! Coming back from the indulgent meal feels hard! I already had to stop myself after eating about 1/8 of a leftover cinnamon roll. There’s a special kind of challenge in allowing myself to be liberal in my food intake one meal, and then reigning it all in back to a strictly strategic mindset the next. I can do this! I’ll just be giving myself a million little pep talks to not eat even one more taste of the remaining cinnamon rolls and cookies left on the counter! I’ve got this!
That’s a wrap! Talk to you soon!