Sunday 11th March 2012
After what feels like, & has actually been, weeks of travelling back & forth to the UK, I have finally stopped moving. I’m tired & ready for my kind of normality. But of course, along with the return to routine, comes an unhealthy dose of catholic guilt.
C’est la vie!
My Mum has been on a diet all my life. Being the last born of 3, I was the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to persistent post-pregnancy ballast. Couple that with working in commercial kitchens, as a cook, for the next 20 years & she didn’t have a chance. She’s tried every diet going over the past 40 years, as well as often being a regular at weekly weight watchers or slimming world meetings. There was even a time, back in the late 70s, when my sisters & I would wait outside a private doctors surgery in a leafy suburb of Essex while Mum popped in to see Doctor Feelgood to collect her weekly dose of slimming pills.
Ahh…the 70s. 😉
Over the last 4 decades she has had considerable success as well as failure. But obviously, this obsessional behaviour about food has changed her relationship with food for good & to a much lesser extent, mine.
My wife, for the first time in my recollection, has recently succumbed to public pressure & decided to take the plunge & diet. Fed up of her thrice weekly visits to the gym not paying dividends, she decided drastic measures were needed. It’s going to be a short, sharpe, shock more than a healthy eating plan, as it’s a detoxification program designed to limit her choices rather than keep her mind & body nourished with everything it needs to function.
So for 2 weeks she’s going to avoid sugar, alcohol, dairy & no carbohydrates with her evening meal. At first glance it all looks doable but it’s amazing how many milky lattes, buttery croissants, sugary squares of chocolate & indeed, cheeky glasses of red wine you can get through without noticing.
As I do the lions share of the cooking at home, it is left to me to work out how I am going to keep her evening meal nutritionally satisfying as well as making sure that Zephyrus & I get our portion of carbohydrate to stave off those nighttime munchies.
It is easier when I can serve up the same as us but just amit the potatoes or rice that accompany it. But when lasagne or fried egg & chips are on the menu it gives her very slim pickings. To compensate I’ve been trying to double up or triple up on the veggie sides. The tomatoes were the vegetable part of a pasta meal I made.
When embarking on this detox experiment, my wife & I were very clear that it would be better to not be too lyrical about the subject with Zephy in earshot, as we thought the whole idea of dieting was something we didn’t need to burden his world with at this age. He likes to feel a part of the decision making process in everything we do, (When it takes his fancy!) and would therefore probably like to have a say on the matter. And as far as we are concerned, it’s a closed matter & quite frankly, it doesn’t have anything to do with him.
Unfortunately, having an intelligent, observant & intuitive child (as we do) means that he notices what’s on his plate.
“Why aren’t you having pasta with us?” He asked indignantly looking at mummy’s plate of leaves.
Fortunately, having an intelligent, observant & intuitive child (as we do) means that we suspected this would happen.
Now, I’m of the less-is-more school of thought. Why use 10 words when 3 will suffice? (Typical man! I hear you cry – Guilty!) My wife on the other hand, doesn’t feel the same. The true ying to my yang. We ended up somewhere in the middle as we bumbled through our clumsy explanation of why mummy felt like she need to lose weight which culminated with us both looking at each other exasperated.
“I think we’ve made our point babe. We can stop now.” I said.
And so we left it there. Until bedtime that is.
“I’m fat!” Zephyrus exclaimed slapping his taut belly.
He has the perfect specimen of a boyhood figure.
“No you’re not!” We both jump. “You’re perfect.” We continued a little too eagerly.
He looked up at us both slowly considering our anxiety. He, of course, was joking but the intensity of our reply had already been registered. We had put importance on the topic.
You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.