Monday, 3 May 2010

An ode to mayonnaise (and all the other fatty food I no longer eat often)

I treated myself to a pea-sized portion of full fat mayo on my sarnie today. Doing so made me think back to the days when I would slather the stuff over everything I ate, blissfully unaware I might as well be wolfing down a lump of lard.

After a night at the student union it would be considered almost rude not to head to the local kebab shop for a large portion of chips, cheese and mayonnaise. Followed by a greasy fry-up the next morning and a burger with chips between lectures.

From the way I've just described my student lifestyle you'd think my physique was comparable to a spacehopper. But it was actually the opposite. I was 8 and a half stone and a size 8.

When I started working I learned the importance of being healthy. No longer could I rely on getting my energy from long lie-ins and my exercise from throwing shapes on the dance floor.

Developing 'office arse' scared me into action. As each day passed I could feel the gradual expansion of my bum as it started spreading itself across my office chair...and it didn't feel good. Then, whilst shopping in H&M I caught sight of my cellulite in the mirror and nearly dropped dead from a heart attack.

So, I started eating my 5-a-day, cooking from fresh and even (in a desperate attempt to maintain my weight) subscribed to Good Food magazine. Okay, admittedly I only choose the tasty looking recipes, which generally aren't in the 'Super Healthy Suppers' section, but there's no doubt I've cut out some serious calories.

Not to mention joining the local gym and vowing to do four workouts a week. After a hellish session on the treadmill and cross-trainer (my fourth in the space of 5 days), I decided to weigh myself. Feeling completely smug and very proud of myself, I was imagining huge weight loss as I stepped onto the scales. After all, I'd virtually killed myself over the past few weeks with my heavy exercise regime. I'd envisaged I'd dropped at least half a stone, if not more!

I gasped loudly as I found out my true weight...and not in a good way. A million thoughts instantly flashed through my mind, the first being that the scales must have been broken. I mean that was the only way. How, how could I weigh an entire stone more than I did at Uni? It was just so unfair and seemed clinically impossible.

After I'd calmed down a tad, a light bulb pinged inside my head. Instead of focusing upon the weight I was, I need to be happy with the weight I am. It's unlikely I'll ever be a size 8 again, but I'm a size 10 which isn't exactly massive. Living in London and being constantly surrounded by willowy women who sashay past in their Chanel sunglasses and trendy clothes made me lose a sense of who I am. What I hadn't thought was they probably survive on a lettuce leaf a day to maintain their weight.

One of my best friends - a qualified nutritionist - once told me I could eat everything as long as it was in moderation. So I spread some mayo on my sarnie then had a slice of my brother's birthday cake. And guess what? I didn't feel guilty at all.

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