Lessons learned [while eating pasta]

Some days are bad, some days are good and some are filled with such a lot of happiness you can’t help smiling all throughout. Any guesses on which category mine fell into today?

And regardless of the title this isn’t a whole post just about pasta. Better yet: it’s about the [life] lessons learned through a bowl of pasta. To understand how anybody can attach such significance to a simple pasta lunch would really require me to tell my whole ED history. Which I’m sorry to admit not feeling comfortable with – yet.  Just to give you a little insight nonetheless let me say that some steps in recovery are more, some less significant. Pasta as something I hadn’t eaten in years* – or, if so, just a few bites stolen from somebody else’s plate – was one of those more significant ones.

*not counting the one shown in my last WIAW post

Do you remember me mentioning my plan to eat out with friends? I didn’t forget about it – how could I? – and while in quite a  different way than originally intended it finally happened today. Pasta lunch at Vapiano, that is. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Vapiano: it’s a German restaurant chain operating world-wide and serving Italian food self-serve style. What makes it special is that you pick your dish – salad, pasta or pizza – and have the chefs prepare it to your preferences right in front of you. For example, both me and the friend of mine went with pasta and were able to choose a kind of pasta,  a sauce and extras like garlic or the degree of spicyness. Pasta at Vapiano is freshly made and most kinds are vegan.

Lesson #1: Stick to your plan

Vapiano I

Even until shortly before leaving for lunch I was playing through options of cancelling out last minute. Fittingly, the friend I’d meant on going with had a bit of an issue that could have interfered but we worked it out. And once again key factors to me keeping with my plan were blogging and the friends I made through it. Not only did announcing my plan to eat out make for accountability towards all of you. Additionally, a pep talk with Shannon the previous night gave me further reassurance and calmed me down. Despite sticking to your general plan, though …

Lesson #2: Be spontaneous and see the positives

Guilty as charged of following this motto.

Like I told you above Vapiano lets you choose the different components of your meal. Having studied the menu online before I knew my order off pat before even entering the restaurant: whole wheat pasta al’Arrabiata. Only: they were all sold out of both types of whole wheat pasta. Insert 10-second [internal only] panic attack. Unlike before, though, it honestly was just a tiny twinge of panic sweeping up. A year ago I might have given up at this point. Now, though, I rolled with it and simply picked another kind of pasta. Can’t have everything – but still a pretty good meal. It’s this kind of having a plan yet being able to adapt and not throw in the towel at the first sight of changes to be made.

Lesson #3: Choose the right focus.

Vapiano III

Let’s trust Sophia Loren.

Calories? Amounts of fat used? Not the most pleasant topics to think about while eating. Knowing that I did focus on those on previous occasions of eating out I knew it’d make the overall experience much less enjoyable. Instead, I didn’t give it a second thought and just kept chatting with my friend. Hardly a thought was wasted a thought on the above mentioned topics. The only thing I did notice about my dish was how amazing it tasted – and isn’t that all that matters in anyway?

Lesson #4: Appreciate new [old] friendships

My friend's pick of Tagliatelle with pesto.

My friend’s pick of Tagliatelle with pesto.

See, I told you this wasn’t just about pasta. In fact, it was about much more. It did also show me another great friend in my life whose true values I had yet to fully find out about. Despite being in the same degree programme and getting along well we hadn’t met outside university often until recently. For no specific reason, really. Now, though, he was not only the one helping me with my thesis but also the one going out for pasta with me. Unknowingly supporting me, actually. While he might assume it I have yet to open up towards him about my ED. It’s just something I don’t feel comfortable sharing with everybody.

Lesson #5 : Let go and enjoy.

Vapiano Arrabiata

Dig into that bowl of pasta. Whatever happens afterwards will happen. Maybe you’ll feel guilty, maybe there will be regret. But in that very moment just eat. Laugh. Enjoy your company.  Live.

Happiness inducing today: Spending an overall awesome day with good company, good food and lots of laughter.

13 thoughts on “Lessons learned [while eating pasta]

  1. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says:

    Oh honey!! I’m so incredibly proud of you!! This post embraces the title of your blog in every single aspect! And this…”The only thing I did notice about my dish was how amazing it tasted – and isn’t that all that matters in anyway”?…OMG GIRL!!! Ahhhhh! Yes! This is how life is supposed to be…full of good moments with new friends, good food, and NO worrying about things like calories and fat and whole wheat versus regular pasta! Of course I can totally relate to your internal freak out moment (been there, done that, have the sweat stains in my shirt to prove it) but isn’t it amazing to get to a point where you can just see food as food? It may only be one meal…baby steps…but every bit counts and I seriously couldn’t be more happy for you!!


  2. Flake And Cake says:

    You have done absolutely amazingly, what huge steps you are taking and with such bravery. Well done!! By the way, I absolutely adore Vapiano, when I next visit Hamburg we will have to go!

  3. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen says:

    I almost just teared up a little bit at your last lines. I think the hardest part is accepting that there might BE a hard part. Sometimes we indulge and we are proud and happy and feel great, but then the guilt comes. But just because it comes, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have lived a little, or that it will always be there. I am so happy for you. [And I would like to have some pasta with you one day. :)]

  4. Emily says:

    This post literally gave me chills. So beautifully written and I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of you. This is a huge step and I know it’s only the first of many more. ❤

  5. Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie says:

    Proud of you, girl! This is such a big step forward and I’m glad you enjoyed every minute of the meal and didn’t let your fear get in the way of spending time with a friend. Pasta is one of my major fear foods, and even though I made strides in finally finding a pasta I could feel comfortable with, I haven’t eaten it in months. It just takes one step, like you made, to feel a little more fearless though, and this inspired me to try pasta again!

    • letsgetupandlive says:

      Picking a type of pasta you’d feel okay eating is a step in the right direction already. It shows you’re committed to overcoming the fear instead of pretending there was none you’d ever be comfortable with. Soon enough you’ll have it again and I’m happy to have inspired you.

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