Friday, 14 October 2011


I have decided that even though I am almost certain to go mad in the process and end up eating paper, licking apple cores and dreaming about custard, I do need to lose a little weight.
Because nothing fits and because I can't buy any more clothes and because I am sick of wearing the same seven unflattering things over and over again, as evidenced in the sidebar of sartorial catastrophe. The prospect fills me with gloom, of course. I am not filled with much else today, since that's sadly the point. Don't tell me to exercise, I'll ignore you. I already walk the dog, which is "sport" enough for me and my dodgy knee. I'd rather just get a tapeworm.

So yesterday I had watery porridge for breakfast, spinach and broad bean soup for lunch and a fajita (this is my household's favourite dinner, the freaks. Trish, don't read this. Chicken breast, Old El Paso burrito mix, cucumber, red pepper, "eisbairgue" lettuce, tinned Géant Vert super sweet sweetcorn, avocado, though not for the children who would rather eat their own fingernails, and as a bonus, "hair" that smells lingeringly, deliciously of Old El Paso until you fumigate it) in the evening. NO PUDDING. None. God, it was dull. Working from home means that you put attribute a disproportionate amount of significance to your meals, I think. Well, I do. Without it, well. Let's say I had to watch several more internet baby animal videos than usual.

As a result, I am already scrutinising the children's school menus with the demented fascination of the hungry and slightly mad. They are a far cry from the spam fritters and cornflake topped jam tart (GOD, I loved that. Did you have that? I loved all of the puddings, except the ginger sponge, but cornflake tart was the holy grail of school meals) of Park Grove primary, or indeed the iceberg lettuce on Mother's Pride that I had for lunch every single day for about 6 years at secondary school. The menus come with a chatty message on the back for each month. This month it's: "mastiquer, c'est la santé":

.. which is jolly. I do like a reminder to chew, it would be terrible to forget.

I interrogate poor Fingers, alone and at the mercy of my whims whilst his brother is at Dutch gulag. He is trying to play Mario et Luigi Frères du Temps on the DS in peace, but casts a patient, expert eye over the menu, which is full of oddness. Quorn bolognese, after last month's Seitan Con Carne? Puréed sprouts? And the perennial question: what are Côtes Holly? (not even the internet has been able to help me with this. They appear to be an invention of the Belgian school system)

"Soupe de poireaux (leeks).. yeah, I like that. Soupe de cerfeuil (chervil)? Hmmm. Ooh! Purée de potiron! J'adore".

I give him a hard stare - I mean, who on earth could like puréed squash? It's baby food. And what are all these purées when we have just been told the importance of chewing, hmm? But he seems sincere. I quiz him further.

"Poêlée de navets! So .. sautéed turnips? Really? How .. interesting. What's that like Fingers?"

"I don't know".

"And when it says "biscuit" for pudding, what is that, exactly?"


"Of course it is. How about when it says 'purée de choux de bruxelles', does that mean JUST mashed sprouts, or are they mixed with potatoes?"

He just looked bored at this point, as well he might, so I put him to bed, and watched nearly three hours of French Masterchef, the lingering shots of plump veal chops, the forensic analysis of the depth of flavour of jus, the caramelised seared scallops, the disastrously melting - but apparently delicious - ice cream from the Pêche Melba, the live crayfish escaping all over the work surfaces and nipping contestants cruelly. I would even eat one contestant's attempt to make an "English" meal, which is viciously, but I think correctly, penalised for crapness: tarragon lamb chop, with pea and mint salad and two of those droopy, etiolated baby sweetcorns. "You could have done le feesh en cheeps" suggests one of the judges, helpfully. "You can do absolutely sublime things with le feesh and cheeps!". Instead, I have a floury Cox and a cup of tea and go to bed to grind my teeth at phantom Michelin starred dinners, or more likely, phantom steamed syrup sponges.

It will be a long, hard road back into my target 35% of my wardrobe, but I am determined to try and do so with some shred of sanity. So, you know, send me lots of owl videos please.


Pat (in Belgium) said...

At the risk of being exiled to some (other) far gulag, I have to say that the "chew your food" advice can really work. IF you chew each small morsel until it is liquid -- yes, LIQUID in your mouth before swallowing, several things happen: you actually do "fill up" faster (er, feel satiated sooner) which is, probably in large part due to the fact that liquidizing your food is so fucking boring, you decide to go do something else. Truth be told, most people bolt enormous amounts which not only puts a tremendous strain of the digestive tract but also means they (usually) eat way more than necessary.
Before I'm marched out of here, let me just add that I have lost 10 (count 'em, T E N ) kilos in the last eight weeks, chewing my food to oblivion. (Oh yes, and I cut out all sugar which basically eliminates any processed foods including supermarket pates, etc. and, sniff, as in boo-hoo, alcohol.)
Absolutely trying to be helpful here. Losing weight is a real bitch.

Anonymous said...

Make an appointment with an endocrinologist, you may have some metabolic disturbance...get full bloodwork done and check sugar/ insulin levels and that kinda thing. I lost 10 kilos in 2 months without having to starve in the process because the doc detected some insulin-related imbalance. Now taking half a pill morning and night with a multi vitamin & mineral supplement. Eating pretty well (like previous commenter, cut out all sugar - and sweeteners, as the doc says if he had things his way, sweeteners would be outlawed because of their effects on metabolism etc. and processed foods) and doing some walking - again, no over the top exercising. Feeling much better in lots of ways. Summary: go for a medical check-up before you start dieting...

Unknown said...

Pumpkin Seed Owls:

JB_Kiwi said...

it's not owls, but it's craft(y) and involves cute birds who are poorly

Bollocks to losing weight. Just buy new clothes.

JB_Kiwi said...

And also (because I'm procrastinating wildly and would much rather scour the interweb for owls than finish cleaning or do my actual work) this is at once rather charmingly cute and a little disturbing - a little like South Park: The Owl Episode

Nicky said...

It's quantity that's my downfall. Given the chance I would eat until the floor collapsed underneath me. I have to consciously make and serve myself "normal" portions. I'm in love with these guys, who look fat AND cute

Nellig said...

"Eating paper, licking apple cores and dreaming of custard": you say that like it's a bad thing. Doesn't everyone? Also I eat orange-peel although it's been pointed out to me many times that this is a Bad Thing.

Since the floodgates of diet-tips insanity have already opened, let me divulge that I achieved good results last month with this policy: namely, that I ate any old thing for lunch, even including fish and chips, but ate no carbs (none, I tell you) for the evening meal. Of course, once I had guests/went visiting I reverted to normality and it all turned, figuratively, to custard.

BTW if you think it's bad now, just wait until you hit the menopause.

Anonymous said...

The face you're making while holding up the menu made me laugh out loud, so thanks for that.

Ellie said...

Being at home all day definitely makes me focus very much on meals as well, and it has had bad results. I love to cook, too, which is actually a bad thing for my weight loss because everything that is fun and challenging to make is full of fat. And if nobody is here to judge what I eat for breakfast, I might make a giant plate of enchiladas, for instance. Not that I did. Well, I might have. Possibly. They were good.

None of this is helping me to lose the 40 extra lbs that my mother in law notices every time I see her.

Pat (in Belgium) said...

To Ellie: I must think of that very old joke (a variation thereof)...Want to lose 150 pounds? Ditch your mother-in-law.

Ros in New York said...

I'm at maximum capacity in my favorite jeans and they are only my favorite jeans because they still fit. Somewhat. And yet that did not stop me from making apple crumble and Birds custard in a desperate/inspired burst of homesickness for childhood puddings last night. And now I cannot stop thinking of that cornflake tart thing and also of 'Australian Crunch' Do you remember this? It was chocolate, hard, possibly containing coconut and always served with mint custard at my primary school. Now my mind is boggling at mint custard, that cannot be right can it?? All this is not helping on the diet front is it. Apologies.

beth said...

Yes, it's time for a lot of us to step away from the computer and start a proper diet and exercise regime. UGH!

Rosie Redfield said...

Metabolic disturbance... Sadly very unlikely, we just eat too much.

Ignore anyone telling you to make sensible long-term changes to your eating habits - that way lies madness and long-term misery.

Like you, I wait until none of my favourite clothes fit and then impose a semi-starvation regime until they do. (Semi-starvation = getting half of the calories your body burns from stored body fat rather than food.)

Ignore the warnings - the body runs just fine on stored fat provided you eat a little bit of protein and a little bit of starch or sugar each day. Oh, and if you cut out a lot of protein and vegetables and fruit, maybe take a vitamin pill to compensate.

Trust me - I have two degrees in biochemistry. Pay no attention to the tiresome nutritionists - I tried to teach biochemistry to their ilk but they're sadly lacking in common sense.

Johnners said...

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Except chocolate. And bread. And old el paso fajitas actually - one of my favourites. I used to eat paper as well, during the skinny, mental years. (It drove my dad mad, because it was usually his Daily Telegraph.)

I have no idea whether the biochemist is right about the semi-starvation thing, but I do know, from bitter experience, that if you mess with your metabolism like that it will pay you back later.

Still inspiring stuff though - really. J x

Margaret said...

OK, so I keep reading in this blog about "speculoos." I don't know what that is (I thought it was some kind of jelly-like thing, like aspic), so I decided to just ignore it (what I've done my entire life with unfamiliar vocab: if I can't figure it out from context, I am shit out of luck because I WILL NOT LOOK IT UP--screw you, Mrs "keep a dictionary by your side while reading" Mason). But, finally, I decided to Google it, and am astounded. Is speculoos just Belgiumese for animal crackers?

Dieting: Sugar and simple carbs are not good for you. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. Also, it takes your brain 20 minutes to figure out that your stomach is full. That's why the chew-slowly tactic works. It has nothing to do with the chewing, it has to do with eating slowly. Figure out how much food/how many calories are reasonable per meal and try to eat that slowly. And, finally, don't eat things that make you sad--that is a recipe for failure. Now I will try to follow my own advice so that I can eventually fit into all my clothes.

Anonymous said...

Will your sideblog about what you are wearing continue to be so delightfully delightful when you have more of your wardrobe available to choose from? I hope and trust so. It certainly is excellent reading now.

Sonya said...

Sigh. Really must diet as well. Horrid stress has done a number on me. I know if I just gave up eating cheese and drinking wine it would go brilliantly.... except I do not know how to survive two teens without wine.

Anyway.. not an owl, but a leeeetle pig called pyewacket:

Elsie said...

I also read the fashion sideblog with delight. The Wolfords I purchased based on your recommendation from several seasons ago are riding mighty low these days, due to extra inches. There is some chafing but they are still warm.

Marie said...

Uho I know that menu sheet ! October one always rhymes with Halloween menu on the last day before hols and there's always fish on tuesdays (how come ? isn't that supposed to be on friday? )

My kids like their food and,lucky me,are not fussy at all when it comes to it but my mum went to collect my son once,she saw them eating and said it didn't look tasty at all. I had Halloween party dinner there last year and it wasn't bad at all, certainly not masterchef level but all very acceptable. ps : could it be that your kids and mine are attending the same gulag ?

Anonymous said...

rosie redfield's right, the solution is just to starve yourself to the desired weight. bet most women of a certain age who make a show of eating a lot and claiming they have such great metabolism they can basically eat anything they want are BULIMIC. believed that shit myself of someone i was desperately jealous of once until i had dinner with the family and found out about the trips to the loo after every course.

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ghada said...

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ghada said...

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شركه الهدى
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ghada said...

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