I’m writing this series on dieting, because I am dieting right now. What strange creatures we are; to want morsels that delight our acute sense of taste, and then to create such foodstuffs that cause immense primal cravings… and then decide those foodstuffs are actually terminally bad for us. We’re weird.
If you’re dieting, then I look at you with understanding and pity, and hopefully you and I can feel a sense of solidarity in each other’s journey.
If you’re not, and you have never dieted, well la-di-da. Aren’t you the lucky one?
In the meantime, we enter Week Three.
Reality is sinking in now. Yes, you’re just beginning to feel the benefits of losing weight – your clothes feel less tight. Is that waistline slimming down? Are your trousers feeling a little less restrictive? Is the flab on your belly feeling less voluminous? – but you’re also noticing some problems. You’re tired, even though you seem to be sleeping better. You occasionally feel a bit shivery, like you need some sugar. Fruit is great as a snack, but fruit is not as satisfying as biscuits. Every person in work is still on their own diets, so there is a support network… apart from the fit and thin people, who are annoying as fuck right now: Stuffing their faces with brownies, commenting on how they can eat anything, telling you that you look soooo much thinner in THAT voice. What absolute shitters.
January is really doing its business. There are news reports on how this is the most depressing time of the year – yeah, no shit. I bet the reason why it’s so depressing is that it’s not Christmas for the rest of the year, and everyone is feeling the effects of sugar withdrawal. January is such a blast.
You find that you spend more time than before looking at yourself in the mirror. Part of you imagines what you might look like when you’re thin. And part of you is looking for evidence of thinness. What you definitely do is grab a fistful of your gut and wobble it up and down. Wob wob wob, you say to yourself, and then you jiggle it a bit and marvel at its liquidity, and then you feel dispirited. You are reminded (by some science report on a slow-news-day) that humans have evolved to maintain weight during times of famine. It is hard for humans to lose weight. Well, thanks for that, science wonks.
You also see adverts in the back of magazines (that you read in the dentist’s, honest) for weight loss pills, and weight loss teas. Do they work? You plan to find out in a week or so.
1. Food is… well, it’s not too bad. You can still eat some things you like, just not LOTS of the some things.
2. Drink is… well, you were mostly drinking diet soda before the diet, so no worries there.
3. Black unsweetened coffee in the morning is an acquired taste, but coffee is an acquired taste to begin with, so it’s just the same thing, only a bit more intense.
4. Your kid asks for a chocolate bar in the supermarket one day and… you gaze longingly at your kid eating it. You need to stop that shit in public, otherwise people will see you gazing at your child with drool hanging out of your mouth and get the wrong idea.
5. It’s a fucking drag sometimes. Food is on every single TV programme. Sometimes it’s on the news. There are adverts for delicious things every 15 minutes. And practically everyone on every TV broadcast is thin. But look out at the world, the non-broadcast world, and you see fat people. Fat people in the street, fat people in their cars, fat parents on the school run, fat people in work… It’s like the world already has those podgy child-adults from WALL-E. You look at some people, with their round faces, tiny little eyes, red cheeks, and bulbous rolling bodies, and think ‘well, at least I don’t look all that fat’. But you do. You really do.
6. Watch a movie, or any contemporary documentary film footage from, say, the 1930s. You hardly ever see anyone fat in those movies. And in the newsreels of the time, everyone is thin and walking everywhere because cars weren’t invented until the Jaguar E-type in 1978 or something. And when you do see a fat person in those films or newsreels, they’re always greedy, devious, evil, or a person of wealth and power who is not to be trusted, like Sydney Greenstreet in Casablanca. Or they’re a hapless comedy figure.
7. Food has become an obsession. It’s like that urban legend about men thinking about sex every six seconds. You think about food in an unsolicited fashion. It rises, unbidden, from your consciousness and then you fixate on it. You cannot not think about food – and it’s always the wrong food, bad food, non-diet food:
Barbecued meat with sticky marinades.
It just pops into your head when you least expect it, and then you spend 20 minutes thinking of nothing but. Far better to think about sex: Boobies. Bum-bums. Sticky-up wands. Soft hair. Fleshy wobbly bits. Jelly. AARGH! FUCK NO!
NO! SHUT UP!
END OF THE WEEK STATUS:
“I can still do this. It’s worth it. I can still do this. It’s worth it. I can still do this. It’s worth it. I won’t lie, it’s not easy. God, I so want to eat some food.”
WEIGHT LOSS AT THE END OF THE WEEK:
1lb. Hmmmm. Should really try harder.