Welcome one and all to the eighth magical episode of the Daddy Burns the Salad diet journal! If you’ve been following the series thus far, you’ll know that it’s a sweary look into the beastly mess that is dieting.
If you would like the full series on catch-up, here is the box-set:
Dieting is not fun. Nobody ever says “I need to go on a diet! Hooray!”, because if you do diet, it’s usually because of bad things, not good things. Dieting goes against every instinct we have as animals. We need to eat food to survive. Eating less food will not help us survive, says our base brain. The trouble is, food is now more fattening, more tasty, more addictive, and more damaging than at any time in human history – apart from the 1970s and 1980s, when microwaved convenience food was rammed down our throats. At least now there is an appreciation of fresh ingredients and better cooking practices.
And now with all those thoughts weighing heavily on your mind, here is the next exciting installment…
This diet has been going on for eight long weeks now. Actually, they’re not all that long. Once you get into the swing of it, it’s not too bad. What you notice most of all is the change in your taste buds. The morning coffee – black, unsweetened – is not as rasping or bitter as it once was. It’s palatable. OK, so you still hanker for sugar and milk in your coffee, but that’s a lifetime habit. After all, you quit smoking years ago, and you still occasionally yearn for a cigarette.
You had Valentine’s Day last week, and it was great to knock the diet on the head for an evening. However, there are downsides. It’s the first meal you’ve had where you rely on someone else’s cooking, and it was very interesting. For one thing, you’re aware that people use oil in cooking, and lots of it. Having cooked for nigh-on two months with just oil spray, and then to have something that uses liberal amounts of olive oil means that you can feel a thin coating of oil all over your lips and around your mouth.
For another thing, when you’ve been eating a low-fat diet for a period of time, foods with lots of fat make you feel very different. You can feel the globules of fat coursing through your blood vessels. Why haven’t you noticed this before? Also, it does nothing for… shall we say… the waste products. Look, I don’t want to be immature about it, and we’re all adults here, but after a blow-out, your poopy-poos are squitty, and you would rather someone else wiped your bottom for you (although would you really want to put someone else through that disgustingness? Actually, in the midst of it, you totally would).
And the benefits of dieting are really beginning to show. Not just on your waistline, but in other ways, as detailed below. So you go back on the diet this week. It feels actually quite good to be healthy, but somewhere in your head, you remember what it felt like when you had that first delicious bite of pizza, and a tiny part of you – actually a large part, because it’s your fat part – yearns for more. The struggle is real.
1.Every single advert on TV shows beautiful thin people eating scrumptiously rich, glistening, luscious, tantalising, gorgeous food. In reality, those actors would be going “No, I shouldn’t, I mustn’t, I have to watch my figure or I won’t get the roles” and starving themselves with a bowl of cucumber soup. Fuck them.
2. Meanwhile, you’re looking at myself in the mirror. Have you noticeably lost weight? Is your gut looking a bit more trim? Is your wife looking slimmer? She’s looking slimmer around the face at any rate. This is good.
3. No reported snoring. No acid reflux. This is good.
4. Work trousers in real danger of slipping down. This is not good. And while it’s great that underpants now feel somewhat loose, if trousers go south taking pants with them, there will be a meeting with the HR dept.
5. It’s your turn to cook. You cook the same four things every week because a) you know they’re low-fat and diet-friendly; b) the kid eats them; c) curries, lean pasta dishes, and stir fries don’t get boring if they’re each cooked once per week; d) if you make large quantities, they’re your breakfast too!
6. It’s your wife’s turn to cook. This is where variation and diversity comes into the weekly menu. Wife is much better than you at experimenting with new recipes. Wife is also prepared to follow instructions from diet books written by people who were thin in the first place. And OK, some of the recipes are a bit bland, but at least they’re edible, unlike the onion-and-onion soup you get at work.
7. Face facts, you over-privileged white male: Your diet just means you are eating less. You’re not making any huge changes to what you already eat. Your wife, however, has made a significant change. After being a vegetarian for almost 30 years, she has decided to eat seafood in order to get tasty low-fat protein into her diet. You’re so giddy and excited at this, you then forget that it’s only seafood she is accepting, and not full-on mammal meat, but you nevertheless make her a lamb curry, whereupon she looks at you as though you have lost your mind. You have, frankly.
8. Fish is expensive. It’s nice, but it’s expensive. And there are all sorts of ecological issues surrounding it, and you, being the fluffiest of fluffy liberals, spend a long time in the supermarket trying to comprehend which certification you can trust. Also, some supermarkets are better than others, but depending on which website you visit, all supermarkets and their policies on sustainable fishing are suspect. Is there any company who isn’t a complete bastard these days?
9. You have forgotten that shellfish is an acquired taste, and you’re expecting your wife to suddenly acquire it so that you can have a king prawn stir-fry. You’re being a bit selfish about shellfish (try saying that 20 times really fast). To a traditionally non-shellfish eater, prawns, crabs, lobster, and scampi are basically underwater insects; and molluscs either look like snot or labia or Cthulu. After a few queasy shellfish meals, your wife decides that fish is fine, but shellfish is a naaaah.
END OF WEEK STATUS:
Feeling better now that fish is on the menu. However, there are limits. You are told repeatedly (in every diet pamphlet, diet magazine, or diet book) that fish is ‘brain food’ and ‘good mood food’, which is either a revolting image of a feeding brain, or a punchable phrase that was invented by a thumpable twat.
WEIGHT LOSS AT THE END OF THE WEEK:
5lbs. Yay for FISH!
You have lost enough weight to earn yourself a present! Well done! You go into town, and after being sorely tempted to buy a single Snickers bar, you reward yourself with a CD. Oh for God’s sake, you’re such a bloody middle-aged man on a diet.