Diets Stink. That's what it says on my t-shirt, bought from 'White Trash Palace' online a couple of years ago.
Even though I heartily agree with the statement, I realise that I'm still on a diet.
After finishing the book at the end of last year, followed by several months of 'Yeah I'll eat that, I deserve it, my stomach could so with some more work/life balance', I eventually blew the dust bunnies from the bathroom scales hidden under the bed.
Somehow, on the 1st of January, the little red needle came up with a number that was far larger than I'd been used to. At least in my non-pregnant state. I felt ill and then ashamed at the memory of everything I'd shovelled down my throat in sheer abandon since working from home in June 2007 and reaching a peak of piggyness over the silly season break. It was 'Book Fat' and it wasn't pretty.
It was with great shame that I realised too that running six kilometres every second day did not keep the fat cells at bay. Instead, I was revelling in the moral superiority of having just gone for a run, and rewarding myself with a post-breakfast snickers/frog cake/wagon wheel/custard tart/six rows of Lindt. After all, thirty minutes of high impact exercise would certainly burn up the leftover carrot cake I'd have with lunch, the mid-afternoon choccy chew and the after-dinner M&M munch fest wouldn't it?
In Kath Land, it would be OK and also be a confirmed source of fibre, vitamin C and scientifically proven to improve my intelligence. In reality, unfortunately, it was not OK. That is, not unless I liked looking like an albino acorn and didn't mind my upper arms jiggling ten minutes after I'd waved my family goodbye.
Sucking in my stomach all day wasn't an option either, not when my daughter Sapphire remarked, "Mum, are you pregnant?" So much for thinking I'd breathed in my bellybutton up against my spine then.
The final nail in this cake lover's coffin were shop windows. Have you ever had that happy feeling when you're out? You know - you feel great, you've got a nice outfit on, you think you look pretty good until...... until you happen to see your reflection in a shop window. 'Is that what I look like out in public? Are those thighs really mine?' Any happiness you may have felt before the unwanted viewing then disappears quicker than a full fat frappucino in Britney Spears' crack hands.
What happened next was not that I joined a gym or hunted out raw vegetables and vegan meals, oh no. Instead, I dejectedly found the closest coffee shop and ordered a 'skinny' cappuccino and a custard tart, fretting about my reflection and inwardly cursing every little skinny bitch under 60 that walked by. 'Huh, she's only that size because she's so obviously a four pack a day lady,' or 'You need an arse for those jeans love', and 'Yeah right, why don't you breathe out and let your gut flop over your jeans, you fat fake.'
Despite the big butt and bitterness, I have been more 'careful' about what I shove in my mouth this year. I was pretty strict in the early stages, and Love Chunks could see that I was feeling rather miserable, and he said, "I'm sure it won't force the needle too far on the wrong side of the scales if you have a few squares of chocolate with me in front of the movie."
It was Nestle's Club Dark roasted almond, and I sucked my six squares as though I'd misplaced my dentures and didn't have the energy to get into my zimmer frame to find them. They had to last at least the length of the movie (2 hours 10 minutes) so even the damn nuts were sucked into oblivion.
The second breaking point was at the shopping centre. After cashing in a $20 book voucher at Dymocks (which of course cost me another $56 because bookshops are only second to cake shops in terms of irresistability), the lure of the bakery nearby was far stronger than my willpower. "One Farmers Union Feel Good Iced Coffee and, ummm, a slice of that berry cheesecake over there," I pointed with my hand shaking in greedy anticipation. Ordering it felt so naughty, so wrong. 'Do not ruin it by sitting here trying to calculate how many grams of fat are in each slice', I told myself. 'This is your treat. You deserve this. Why, I don't know, but you do - you deserve this!'
A couple of hours later, my errands were done: I'd posted Sapphire's entry to the Kangaroo Club Colouring In Competition; picked up Milly's arthritis-curing fish oil and Skipper's bunny pellets, collected the toe-nail sized clippers on order from the chemist; bought some milk and found some face cream for less than $7. It was crunch time - did I dare step on the scales for a weekly weigh-in when -
a) I'd hadn't just got out of the shower but was fully clothed;
b) it was over three hours since I'd been to the loo;
c) my legs were unshaved;
c) my legs were unshaved;
d) my nose unblown; and
e) it had been a fortnight since cutting my nails?
'Yes, it is time Blubberbuns, especially seeing as you inhaled that cheesecake so willfully this morning,' I told myself harshly. Stepping on ever-so-gently, my eyes were squeezed shut and for some inexplicable reason I was sucking my stomach in. What did the red needle say? One kilogram less than last week - yee hah! Woo hoo! Maybe I could celebrate by breaking open that triple pack of Lindt Excellence 70% blocks and.....
And I did. My 'diet' since then has consisted of eating whatever - and how much - chocolate I want. The difference is that everything that else that gets inhaled must be of nutritional value. Also, I exercise more - 3 x weekly runs on the treadmill at 8km a pop (in 41 mins, 23 seconds) followed by a stress-relieving punching session on the leather tonsil bag that hangs from the ceiling hook and the one that looks like an enormous saveloy and weighs about as much as Kyle Sandilands. Add two karate lessons and two powerwalks (8km at a speed of 7.2km per hour with hand weights) and I'm trimming down, firming up and still able to enjoy my second favourite oral activity.
Sure, Sapphire predicts that soon all of my waking hours will need to be spent on the treadmill (and possibly some mid-REM stomach crunches in bed as well) to cope with my increasing cocoa addiction, but it's worth it. Life's too short to say 'no' to a row or seven of poo-brown heaven and reject it for a dried apricot instead.