I was having lunch with a former colleague last week when I mentioned that I was on WeightWatchers. We were caught on the hop and with ten minutes to get something down our necks before we had to be back at our desks, the choices in the cafe were limited.
I settled for a scone the size of the my hand but congratulated myself on choosing Low Low spread and not proper real butter.
As I was munching it, thinking of all the things I could eat in place of it for less Points, I muttered to my colleague that I was on following the WeightWatchers programme and being at the relatively early stages of my diet I didn’t want to be put off my game.
She confided that she was going to WeightWatchers and thus ensued a conversation about filling or free foods, the worries and strains of getting on the scales and the reasons why we both wanted to hit goal weight.
We also commented that wasn’t it fierce when women on a diet talk about it all the time - the irony of that not being lost on me.
The interaction confirmed my belief that you cannot put two women in a room together for any length of time before the topic of conversation inevitably turns to weight, appearance, slimming or cravings.
Deep down, the vast majority of have an inner diet bore just waiting to break free and regale anyone in the vicinity with her tales of will power versus temptation.
As the old saying goes, many of us can quiet that inner diet bore down with chocolate but when she breaks free there isn’t a topic of conversation that doesn’t somehow wind its way back to what we’ve eaten, what we plan to eat, how much exercise we’ve done and what size we’d ultimately like to be.
Now personally speaking the inner diet bore has been my closest companion for the last 20 years. Even when I’ve not been on a diet (which is a lot, as the scales will show) she is there niggling away. She wonders do I really, really need that bar of chocolate. She gives me bad looks when I visit the chippy. She tuts and shakes her head at my obsession with plain bread toasted and clattered in real butter.
At the moment she is in full voice - checking nutritional value labels with her Points Tracker always, always at hand. And I apologise because I seem to have no control over her - she hunts out people who might be in a similar boat and she tells them everything - from what I’ve ate, to what size my clothes are and she has no shame about it all.
I’m not sure what it is about being on a diet that prompts us all to talk about it so much. Maybe because we want people to acknowledge the effort we are going to. Maybe we want to revel in the moments when people tell you they notice a change to the shape of your hips, the girth of your belly or the number of chins you have. Maybe we want people to know that, yes, as much as we may be on the hefty side now, we are doing something about it honest and don’t intend to be gulpens the rest of our days.
Maybe, it is just damn hard work and we feel the need to make other people suffer as much as we do. (But of course, I’m not suffering... not at all, nothing tastes as good as being slim feels - apart from a big feck off Cadbury’s Whole Nut or the aforementioned toast clattered in butter).
In seriousness I do feel better for shedding a few pounds. I do know I have a long way to go (a really, really long way) but I have a increased sense of self confidence, the desire to make more of an effort generally and a renewed interest in such frivolous things as painting my nails and applying some make up. I’ve even dyed my hair blonde and invested in new glasses.
I realised the heavier I became the more of a frumpy mammy I became. I felt frumpy so I became frumpier. I suppose if I talk about it all a lot now is that I want people to know that Mrs Frump is on her way out and that a new and improved me is on the way back in again.
Okay so it is clear I’ll have to work on the new me’s conversational skills - there is only so much court anyone will hold with tales of chocolate bars resisted and salads eaten. My husband just rolls his eyes when I bring out my wee green folder and start rambling about saturated fats - happy and all as he is to see less of from week to week.
But at least my inner diet bore knows that if all else fails she will have the chance to have her say when I’m in the company of other females. After all, we are all a little obsessed, aren’t we?