So I did a bit of number crunching and figured this is Week 250 of my lard-busting journey. I lost 0.5 kg (1lb) this week for a total loss of 71.4 kg (157.4 lb). Which means my average weekly loss over the past 4.75 years is…. 0.2856kg. Approximately 0.6lb per week.
Bloody hell! That is a depressing statistic. 250 weeks and still not finished. And most of that weight came off in the first year! Oh well. Can’t dwell on the numbers. Plus I have had a lot of fun while losing so slowly over the past four years, I can’t deny that.
I was slightly disturbed by my eating behaviour in Australia. There were a lot of local delicacies I’d missed and it was inevitable that I’d eat them, but it’s the way that I ate them that’s not right. I feel weird confessing this, as I know the Scottish Companion reads this site now, but in the spirit of honesty I’ll press on.
It started with the packet of Arnotts Assorted Creams. I bought them to gloat to SC about the superiority of Australian biscuits – Shortbread Creams, Kingstons, Monte Carlos, oh my! SC, Mum and I sat round after dinner and had a couple each over a cup of tea. Deeeelicious as ever. Subtle and satisfying. The leftovers went into a Tupperware container on top of the fridge. That I proceeded to raid at any given opportunity.
If Mum was hanging washing on the line or the Scottish Companion went for a shower, I’d tiptoe into the kitchen and prise open a corner of the lid, snaking my fingers inside and plucking out whatever was in reach. I’d try and savour each bite, but most often the fear of getting caught had me shoving it into my gob and gnashing away, brushing crumbs off my boobs at the same time.
The thing is, I don’t need to do this anymore. My mother is no longer a Food Ogre. After years of Issues we have both reached a place of calm and sanity where I can eat whatever I like in front of her and do not feel one single skerrick of guilt or judgement. There’s no Pursed Lips of Disapproval anymore, no "Haven’t you had enough?" or, "You don’t need that!". There hasn’t been for years. Yet still I felt propelled to the fridge by some urgent compulsion, like, "Quick! Eat all the nice food while noone’s looking!".
At one point on our holiday I had a small bar of chocolate in my bag, and secretly reached in and broke bits off throughout the day. I guess I should be happy that it was just a wee 50g Cadburys, but why the need to hide it? SC was right there with me when I bought it. He knew I had it and planned to eat it that day. So why the need for cloak and dagger antics?
This isn’t so much a problem now we’re back home, as there’s nothing in the pantry that I want to stuff into my mouth with wild abandon. Carrots? Miso paste? Frozen broccoli and cauliflower? Maybe I just fell into my old role of sneaky little fat kid since I was back home with my family after so long. But I know I still do this from time to time, and I don’t want to panic every time there’s appealing food around. I want to look at a box of chocolates and think, I might have one of those, instead of, I might have one of those, then sneak a few into my pocket when noone’s looking.
I’ve talked about Secret Eating on here before, and always attributed it to leftover Secret Fat Chick behaviour that I hadn’t quite gotten over yet. But it feels more like a compulsion than about the food itself.
I’ve also vaguely mentioned my food fascist former stepfather. He presided over my mother’s dinner plate, passing judgement and making cruel comments. He was skinny, so this is how he got to make himself feel superior. His constant negativity was passed on to my sister and I.
So I turned sneaky. If we made cakes for a bake sale, I’d deliberately make too much icing so the leftover bowl would be in the fridge for me to dip into later. If we made an extra batch of cookies for the freezer, I’d sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night, slip a few into my pocket then eat them frozen under my bedcovers. I’d spend any pocket money on chocolates, hide inside my wardrobe and eat them by torchlight. I’d sneak extra biscuits at my grandmothers house, sneak chips and chicken nuggets when I worked at KFC.
Once when I was eight, I saved up a bunch of two-cent coins and got a friend to buy me some chocolate buttons from the corner shop on the way to her bus stop. The next day she handed over the loot in a little white paper bag. I’d never been allowed lollies in a white paper bag before. Sweeeeeet. I hid in a quiet corner of the playground, scoffed them down then hid the bag in a tree hollow. My mother taught at my school at the time so I felt I’d gotten away with murder.
When I left home, as we all know, I continued to sneak. But since the sneakery went from the occasional spoonful of icing to two-litre tubs of ice cream or two Extra Value Meals, inevitably my weight soared out of control.
My mother is no longer with my stepfather. And I sorted my issues with Mum, with a series of screaming arguments about five years ago. I finally let fly with all the crap that had been bubbling beneath the surface and ever since we’ve had a great relationship – mature, understanding and honest.
I don’t think that my recent sneaky eating was so much Fat Chick behaviour as just leftover childhood crap. Sometimes I think my fat is just an unfortunate side effect of the past. When I’ve sneaked food it happened in a robotic trance, disappearing down my trap before I’ve even registered the taste. It felt like danger and rebellion. Most times I didn’t even have a particular craving for the food, I just saw it and felt compelled to snatch up the opportunity in case it never happened again.
What do you do with this knowledge? Do I call a shrink? I don’t think I need to go that far. I have long acknowledged how the past affected me and moved on.
But there’s still some pesky hangovers. Just last week there was a huge bowl of Lindt truffles at my hairdressers with a Please Take One sign. I took one, but waited until noone was looking and quickly unwrapped it, scoffed it, then stashed the wrapper into my handbag. They were MEANT to be for the customers but again I felt the need to slink around!
I need to remember that I am not a child anymore. No one is watching the way I eat, noone is judging me, least of all my bloody hairdresser. So I don’t need to be sneaky. I don’t need to be a rebel anymore.