I am in the bath. I have a headache and I’m hungry. Really hungry, but I’m having a bath to distract me from thinking about food, which so far hasn’t worked out that well. I am dreaming of a croissant that I’m planning on treating myself to in the morning. Earlier today I saw croissants on offer for a euro at the train station so I’ve been planning tomorrows breakfast ever since. This is because I am fasting. P and I have joined the hype. The 5-2’ers. The dieting sensation of the moment. We eat normally for 5 days a week and fast for 2. I know it’s a fad and I’m surprised at myself for being sucked in. Everywhere you turn there seems to be some celebrity going on about how great they feel, how they’ve lost blah blah and they’re all so happy and they’re skin is shiny blah blah, everyone is at it apparently even Beyonce and the celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall. It’s no fun, but with an endorsement from Beyonce who wouldn’t give it a try?
Today I have eaten an apple, 2 rice cakes, 2 carrots, and a piece of baked salmon with some slices of courgette. I know exactly what I’ve eaten because I can have no more than 500 calories on one of the ‘fast’ days and I have to count them exactly. P, because of the rules of this 5-2 fast can have 600 calories. Not because he’s done anything to deserve it mind, just through the pure luck of being a man! I’m starting to wonder if it’s all part of a big patriarchal plot to protect male privilege. Why should dieting be any different from the rest of sodding society I suppose?
I get out of the bath and see him smearing goat’s cheese on a wafer thin cracker.
“I can’t believe you can do that!” I say
“It’s not fair, 100 calories is loads, and you’re only small, you probably don’t even weigh hardly anything, how can you get a whole 20% more food than me?”
“I know” he says wolfing down his second cracker
“When are you going to write your blog post about fasting?”
“I don’t know” I say
“I don’t really have a lot to say about it, anyway I’ll just look like some kind of faddy weirdo if I start showing off about my new celebrity diet. It might be better to keep quiet..”
“It’s not really that entertaining is it? It’s just moany, um…yeah, I’m miserable and I’m feeling hungry….”
“Well there was that time you asked me how many calories there are in an ibuprofen. That was quite funny….but it’not enough to go on.”
“Yeah, well you know that bloke at work who was teasing me with a snickers bar the other day? He was asking. He reckons it will be the funniest blog post yet!”
“You know when he put that snickers bar on my table on the first day I was fasting?”
“Yeah of course I remember. It really pissed you off.”
“He opened it and left it lying there right in front of me and then he walked off laughing!”
“You’re right, it was wicked but you can tell him I don’t normally do requests. He has to come up with something funny next time if he wants me to write about it.”
I can’t sit there anymore watching the evening cracker eating ceremony and talking about chocolate bars so I decide to go and brush my teeth. I pack my bag for the morning, arrange the kids clothes.
One step closer to the morning, one step closer to my croissant.
I grab Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s recipe book “Veg Everyday” on my way upstairs. I start flicking through the pages quickly. It’s a bit like torture but I want to write a list for tomorrow’s shop. I’ve barely got round to making any of these things and I’ve had the book since Christmas. Wow the spicy carrot and chickpea pittas look amazing. And healthy.
I wake up relieved it’s not one of the ‘fast’ days. I run for the train right past the ‘kiosk’ without stopping. Shit I’m so late I don’t even have time stop for my croissant after all. I look in my bag and find another apple.
Nevermind, I can delay my feast until later.
On my way home that afternoon I’m at the train station again. I go into ‘kiosk’ and towards the croissants but something else catches my eye. Suddenly I have to have it. I haven’t eaten a snickers bar in ages, maybe more than 10 years but now it’s the only thing I want. I’m having it, even the prospect of Hugh’s chickpeas won’t deter me.