I have been faced recently with the unenviable position of having to diet for a specific occasion. This occasion, which will remain nameless but involves vows between a man and a woman who I am related to (I’m only related to one of them, not both, it’s not one of those weddings)
Dieting for a specific occasion is different to the general, hmm-I-should-eat-healthily kinda thing. There is no messing around here. If you eat that piece of chocolate from the Guylian box, it WILL make a difference to your waistline, give you that extra whoopee cushion on your back on the big day. Make your cheeks stretch out that much further when you smile…or in terms of the southward cheek variety, when you try to fit into the tight pants. There is no room to be a half-arse here. It is hard core, lean, mean, gut-slicing business.
This is a tad difficult for me. I have always been the mincing kind of person who thinks they ought to eat healthier, who thinks they probably would look generally better if they were a stone lighter – but is not willing to cut out Pret A Manger mozzarella and tomato croissants as a means to achieving this end. I just don’t think I ever wanted it enough. Looking thin and sexy clearly is worth eating nothing but edamame beans and Ryvita crackers for some people and I have respect for their opinion but secretly feel smug and disdainful of their sterile, flavourless view of the world. Eating is a sensuous, sumptuous thing and so is a full bottom.
Having said all that, yes I am on a hardcore diet. Faced with the event where many, many faces will be on me, I have taken the plunge to become a streamlined version of myself. So far I am a little lighter as a result, yes I fit into clothes better I suppose. The facial cheeks – always my main nemesis since my passport photo where my face looks like I’ve been attached to a balloon pump and been energetically blown up – have calmed down a bit. They are still there though, as big cheeks are part of my genetic make-up.
My particular brand of last-minute, crash dieting means I am doing the protein-only thing. This basically zaps all the joy out of food like a Dyson and meal times become a desperate forage for all things non-carbohydrate – yes, I think carrots are ok but then again, hmm, there are some carbs, should I risk it? Hmm. Hmm. God! I can NOT BE THIS PERSON!!
I can’t back out now though, only a few more weeks left. But make no bones about it – oh yes, I’m allowed those – I’m hungry and cranky and I don’t intend to live like this. I might be slightly thinner but a major source of pleasure in my life has gone and been replaced with dried up husks masquerading as meals.
The reason I have always been ‘pleasantly plump’, as my mother puts it, is because food is a joy for me. The reason I’m now depriving myself of it is because of the curse we all live with. I care what other people think. I care what people will think of me when they see me at this event. And therein, my friends, lies le crux of le problemo.
I don’t think I’m going to stop caring about what people think in a hurry. My grandma has not perfected this, far from it, and she’s 82 so I figure it might take me a while. I like to think I’m on route to a cure. In the meantime while I await the miracle remedy, I will see this as a project and enjoy the feeling of empowerment of succeeding in it. It’s the only way I can keep going when I see another limp bowl of broccoli soup waiting for me for dinner.
I am going to enjoy this event and my cheeks will probably still be a little bit big, it’s me. As long as I accept this, the photos afterwards will, without a doubt, make me smile. I’ll be smiling while I eat a big fat piece of cake.