I am an intelligent woman. I’ve raised four kids, I manage the day to day of a small company, I run a house, a home, an office. I’m efficient. Okay, so why the hell can’t I make this damn diet work?
I know the principles. I’ve done it before. Twice. And each time it worked. But three weeks in - eating chicken, salad, low fat everything, no sugar everything else, in other words nothing with taste – I stand on the scales and the weight loss in all that time is four pounds. Although I seem to have gained back one of those pounds, so grand total: three.
Three is a not-particularly bad bout of stomach flu. It’s a diuretic. It’s the difference between pre and post menstrual. IT IS NOT THREE WEEKS OF RUDDY CHICKEN.
When I think of all the things I’ve denied myself: the football mid-match potato wedges, the pre-match ice cream. The toast in the morning. The butter on the toast in the morning. The crumpets, the scones, the tea and biscuits. The pasta. The pastry. I mean, I have no trouble knowing why I gain weight, but having cut all that crap out, why isn’t the fat dropping off me?
It’s not that the science of dieting is all 0% fat Greek yoghurt to me. I know what to do – eat less, move more, cut out the carbs, check the fat and sugar content in foods. I could do it as my specialist subject on Mastermind. So I eat the dreary omelettes and walk an hour a day. I cheer myself up (the term is relative) with a 10 cal jelly. And yet. The bum remains visible from space. The muffin top continues to spill from the top of my ‘fat’ jeans, which in turn cling to my legs like they got a fright in the drawer.
It’s not the worst thing in the world to be overweight. I can still go outside without having to hire a marquee to cover my bulk. My wrinkles are nicely padded, and the second chin is only visible when I slump on the sofa with the laptop on my stomachs. I look, to a kind person, comfortably chubby, and to the hater like a Hallowe’en pumpkin (cos I’m wearing an orange dress), but I can suck that up, and my belly in at the same time. I’m not hiding away in the Obese Witness Protection Program. I’m out in the world, large and proud. I can live with this. But I’d rather not. And so having taken the measures to eradicate a bit of blubber, why the hell isn’t it leaving?
Everything else has (kids, husband, youth, thigh-gap. memory, natural hair colour, my credit rating), so what is wrong with the fat? Why doesn’t it go?
I would give up in a heartbeat, and embrace my curves, but there are two problems with this. One: due to my appetite for saturated fat, let’s face it – I won’t stay at my current size. While it’s hard to persuade the chubb to go, like that last guest at the party who hangs around in the doorway, chatting, it’s easy peasy to gain more weight. Fat is like the people who never invite you to dinner but are only too happy to turn up to your place when you issue an invitation, and who don’t bring a bottle. So, if I can’t lose the weight when I’m dieting it stands to reason (reason? Where is reason in all this craziness?) that if I begin eating like a ‘normal’ American Mid-Westerner again, it’ll pile back on.
But the second reason is the real one behind my search for a waist. Clothes.
I have loads of them. And I love them. They’re hanging on the rail in my walk-in closet saying; ‘wear me, wear me…’ and I can’t because they don’t ruddy fit.
So I have this picture in my head of myself wearing the ‘pumpkin’ dress and looking more like, say a squash or a speciality courgette, with thinnish legs sprouting from the bottom. Maybe some ankles even. I don’t care about health, particularly. I don’t care about having my arse look big in jeans. What I care about is simply being able to wear my frocks and look… - well I’d settle for nice.
It’s not too much to ask is it?
So please. Fat. Just Flab Off.