While on holiday in sunny New Zealand, we spent a fair amount of time on beaches. Which meant a fair amount of time in swimsuits. A bikini to be exact. Foolish, I know, but I was on the other side of the world, far away from the people who see me on a daily basis.
Except that there were people there with cameras....
So, upon returning home, jet lagged and in need of some comfort eating not to mention intense alcohol consumption following the flight from hell, I got to view photographs of myself looking like an out of shape rugby prop forward. And believe me, you do not want to see prop forwards in a bikini. Ever.
It was the catalyst I needed to kick my not-so-bony arse into diet mode.
I've been on proper diets twice in my life. Once before I got married. I did Weight Watchers online (because there is no way I'm going to a dreary building to get weighed in front of a bunch of people who all would just like to eat each other). It was while we were living in the NYC. It was easy. No children's leftovers to nibble on. Hours of free time to work out. Delis with low fat salads to choose from. It was a cinch.
The second time was after the birth of child number 2. I went on the GI diet. For 3 months we ate our body weight in lentils, wholegrain rice, leafy greens and high fibre bran. We were like a farting von Trapp family, belting out gassy tunes with gay abandon. I managed to teach my mouth to prefer skimmed milk to semi-skimmed and to choose sweetener over sugar. I even genuinely grew to like some of the recipes - Chermoula Chickpea Burgers anyone?
And this too worked. While there were kids leftovers to nibble on, there was less of them as only one child was on solids and his food was pretty bland and unappetising. I didn't get much chance to exercise, other than run around after a two year old and all the lifting and carrying that goes on with a baby. Through sheer bloody mindedness, I lost the baby weight. Or most of it.
But gradually over time, the wholegrain rice reverted to white. The chickpea burgers became the full fat juicy beef variety. The sweet potatoes became good old Kind Edwards. And so the fat accumulation recommenced....
This time round, dieting is a whole lot harder. I have two children who eat (or rather don't eat) very tasty food. I can't stand food waste (all those starving children in African and all that) so I tend to eat theirs ...and mine. And we guzzle lots of wine (Ok - I do, it's all me dammit). And due to my husband's bad influence, curry take outs are a regular occurrence. I also love cooking. And baking. Cakes. And I love eating the things I cook. Not being allowed to eat takes away not one, but two big loves of mine. It's just plain mean.
But with a good deal of motivation (i.e. those hideous bikini shots), I signed up to Weight Watchers online again this week and so far, have been the very picture of virtue. I've been well below my allocated points most days. I've gone for 3 mile runs or done 30 minute work outs on the cross trainer every day. I've been wearing my Reebok Easy Tone trainers (which the kind people of Reebok sent me, obviously knowing in a psychopathic way that this is just what I needed).
And I can feel a difference. For the first time in a long time I've actually felt hungry. I haven't felt that horrible, uncomfortable over full feeling. I've also had headaches and sod all energy and a definite loss of the will to live. But, to hell with that, my butt feels firmer and my tummy is definitely not quite as easy to confuse with a half melted jelly.
But I have a way to go.
And now it's Friday evening. And I really, really want some wine. Sure you'll say. Have a glass. WW allows it. But it's Friday. One glass isn't going to do it. And then there's dinner. I've already had to cook the kids pork chippolatas with potato wedges and veg - and had to resist eating any of it. The mind control could have bent spoons had I been glaring at one.
Instead I am waiting for my husband to return home. And because it's Friday, I have a sneaky suspicion that he might suggest a curry take out. And I have a sneaky suspicion that my will-power might decide to pack its bags and leave for sunnier climes.
But if I fall off the wagon now, I still have a three day weekend to get through complete with a pub quiz with friends on Sunday night during which it is imperative to drink your body weight in wine AND they give out free pizza. I'll have to have a glass and a slice and that will be my full day's worth of WW points. Weep. Dieting is just so sodding dull. Life is there for the eating!
So for tonight at least, I think I might just throw the scale out of the window and run 6 miles tomorrow.