My friends' little 18-month-old seems to be going through a phase of whacking his forehead against various surfaces… tables, people, bookshelves. He just totters up and thrashes away like he's at a heavy metal concert. Quite often the surface is unforgiving and it all ends in tears. Then two minutes later he's back for another go. Whack whack whack. Same result.
That is how this weight maintenance malarkey feels to me: bashing my head against the same brick walls, over and over again; seeing how it feels and testing my limits, before eventually concluding, Actually, bloody hell… THAT HURTS.
I mentioned a month ago there's a little corner shop near our new place. It has taken me almost that long to be able to go inside said shop without feeling the need to buy Something Nice every single time. I kept dropping in for a pint of milk or a newspaper and winding up in front of the sweets display, flushed with the thrill of having goodies so conveniently close to my place of dwelling and feeling compelled to take advantage of it. A Twix here, a Freddo Frog or two there.
I've been fighting this stupid compulsion all my life. I've written before about growing up on a farm where the food was ultra healthy and the nearest shop was a twenty minute drive. Every second spent away from there – Chez Grandparents, friend's houses, in line at the school canteen with a fifty cent coin burning in my palm – was a precious, desperate Opportunity To Eat The Good Stuff. Of course it got worse when I moved to a big town for university – endless shops and possibilities with no supervision.
Over the years l've slowly learned the obvious lesson that there is always going to be shops with delicious things in them… the supply is not going to dry up. The problem is I keep forgetting that lesson. I keep needing refresher courses.
Last Wednesday night I went out for loo paper. The best value was KittenSoft, pictured here with the docile beast on the packet. I tried to interpret his expression as I joined the checkout queue. Yes, I am soft and fluffy, but must you wipe your butt on me?
The queue was conveniently located next to sweets display, so the familiar flutter kicked in. OMG! Chocolate at 20 paces! What do I want what do I want?
But this time, unlike the last bazillion visits, I stopped. Just like when my wee friend tested his noggin' on the washing machine, the novelty suddenly wore off.
Hang on. I even don't want a chocolate. Sure the wrappers are shiny but the contents are not that thrilling. Also, I'm not stranded on a farm anymore. The shop will still be here tomorrow. So there's no need to stock up like the world is about to end.
But WHY do I have to experience the "thrill" of a dozen Freddo Frog expeditions before I remember this? And also remember that tight jeans feel unpleasant? That I don't actually like Freddo Frogs?
There's nothing wrong with eating chocolate. It's just the crazy brand of eating chocolate that gets on my goat. Just when I think I've figured it out, that I can have a calm and considered relationship with food, I falter. Like when the Christmas goodies flooded the office last week, I went all Free Food cuckoo and had to five different Quality Streets before remembering they're stinkin' and I've never liked them.
Well, no profound conclusions here, comrades. Just the endless frustrations of a slow learner.