I giggled evilly behind my laptop screen last night as I listened to the old man have a domestic melt down in the kitchen over cooking.
Apparently, he finds cooking stressful. I’ve already got that tee-shirt, so felt little empathy.
Admittedly, we’re not the easiest family to plan meals for. I’m always on the latest ‘get-thin-quick’ diet, Kurt doesn’t eat, NC is fussy, and in spite of every medical journal telling him that meat is bad for him, the old man needs animal fat on his plate. He’s still grieving for sausages.
I admit to being pathetically influenced by the minimum of ten articles I ingest a day that pertain to know the secret of how to lose weight. And before you judge me, I don’t want to lose weight because I’ve been subliminally influenced by women’s magazines or the Kardashians to feel that I need to be thin or look like Elle McPherson to be successful of feel fulfilled; it’s for the sake of my health, and because I hate it when my clothes are tight.
And even though I know that most of what I read is a load of cock and bull, and that weight loss is not exactly rocket science, I still get sucked in.
TV programs such as The Biggest Loser are proof that anyone can lose weight with the aid of a fierce and hot trainer to keep you on track, time to dedicate to the challenge and some guidance with nutrition. In other words, all you really need is bag-loads of discipline to enforce those smaller portions, to put the biscuit tin in the bin, to eliminate pasta late at night, to drink less alcohol and more water, to eat less red meat and sugar…and prayer; lots of prayer.
The problem that none of these diets forewarn us about is that that life gets in the way of the very best intentions. Which is why you shouldn’t take it THAT seriously unless your problem is affecting your health or the quality of your life.
Life is for living.
And I don’t take it really seriously. I discipline myself when I can – like when I eat at home on week nights – but if I have to break the diet for a good reason, I will. On Saturday night I devoured a massive wedge of chocolate cake because it was my friend’s birthday, and last night I sank three glasses of wine during a mutual ‘my life is worse than yours’ therapy session with another friend.
We all know our weak points, where we’re prone to fail, and mine is stress.
And a lot of these faddish diets don’t make it easy; in fact they make a real dogs dinner by over-complicating what should be easy recipes. They suggest recipes with foreign-sounding ingredients, or sprouts and veggies that real people can only find in pricey organic shops or some market in Southern France. The sort of ingredients that are not going to be a priority for working people who get home late and all all they can think about is parking their bum on the sofa and pawing at the remote control.
I love healthy food but I can’t be fucked to prepare it most of the time, and I certainly don’t have the time to soak or activate, when I could be watching Netflix.
I believe you can follow a healthy diet using standard, supermarket ingredients. Admittedly, I’m still waiting for that magic moment when my scales light up with a definitive deficit, but hey, I’m also fighting the battle of menopause… which can be very cruel.
Here are a few new ideas I’m trying out:
My biggest ‘fail’ time is that time at the end of the day between work and dinner. I don’t even like chips that much but if they’re in the cupboard they’ve got my name on them. Recently I’ve replaced them with a teaspoon of Hummus and either cucumber slices or carrot sticks. They take the edge off – I promise. But if you can’t get through witching hour without that salt fix, Popcorn is better than chips.
I’ve replaced a couple of my Flat Whites with mint or green tea.
Dinner is strictly protein (fish or chicken) and salad.
I still have a (smaller) glass of wine a night with a couple of cubes of dark chocolate and we still eat out at the weekend – I just try and choose healthier options, such as Japanese or a Thai stir fry without the rice.
If I can be fucked, and the idea of a limp green salad isn’t doing it for me anymore, I try to spice up my salads by adding exotic supermarket ingredients like beetroot, bocconcini, feta, nuts, lentils or chickpeas.
However, trying to get ‘girl food’ over the line with the old man is always problematic and he has been known to choke if I dare add anything as hipster as a fresh herb.
So imagine if I suggested quinoa?