Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A Little of What You Fancy

"A little of what you fancy is alright", that's how the saying goes. The saying is absolutely correct, that's why people have been saying it for so long. I've been going a bit wrong for the last week and a half; instead of having a "little of what I fancy", I've been having "everything I could possibly want in incomprehensibly enormous volumes".

It all started at the Harvester last Friday: my birthday celebratory meal with my workmates. Any sort of 'all-you-can-eat' set up is dangerous ground for me because I think possibly I take it a touch too literally. Even something relatively safe like a salad bar can be consumed to vast excess, especially if you follow it up with a good chicken and rib combo and two sundaes (I didn't actually order two, there was a spare one...and I don't like waste). We were so full when we left that I'm surprised we didn't have a communal afternoon nap in the office.

The weekend was always going to be an eating extravaganza. Even though both days were fairly exercise-heavy with Hellrunner and Downton Half Marathon on the Sunday, no amount of exercise could have prepared the body for what was coming next. I thought I was being a bit rebellious on Saturday as I prepared my caramel torte and chocolate tiffin, prior to my birthday tea and cake party. In an effort to follow the recipes to the letter and ensure a quality product, each gram of extra chocolate and biscuit was carefully removed from the food preparation area and discarded in an appropriate manner i.e. into my mouth. Every bowl was licked clean and I even took a spoon to the caramel tin, purely to ensure that it would be nice and shiny for the recycling, of course.

The party itself far surpassed the efforts of last year; there was jelly and ice cream, muffins, several large cakes, sponges and more varieties of cupcake than you could ever wish for. There was so much cake that I ate nothing but cake up until breakfast on Wednesday, at which point it was all gone and I realised I had barely slept for three nights as I had been so wired on sugar, it was going to be quite a comedown.

Determined to get back on the healthy food wagon, I brought a fantastically nutritious lunch to work the next day. Unfortunately, on that same day, a lady in my office brought in a large Roses/Quality Street tin combo (“leftover chocolate from last year” apparently, a completely alien concept to me), left them – precariously – right next to my desk and foolishly instructed me to “help myself”. In some sort of subconscious chocolate frenzy, I scoffed pretty much the whole lot, then unashamedly announced to the rest of my office buddies that I was merely “saving you all the extra calories”.

By Thursday I wasn’t feeling at my best. Almost a week of serious overeating, a massive sugar withdrawal and very little in the way of real, fresh, healthy food had left me feeling a bit weary and sluggish. So treated out I was that for the first time ever in my entire life, I actually forgot it was the 1st December and my advent calendar (a Lindt one as well, thanks dad!) – shockingly – remained unopened for the whole day.

Friday should have been the end of the madness, but instead it was the annual ‘coffee table Christmas lunch’ at the all you can eat Chinese buffet and I was competing for the girls. I shan’t bore you with the details but you won’t be surprised to read that I won. I must admit though, I did not feel like a winner later that evening as I burped crispy-fried pork flavour in my spinning class.

Family visits over the weekend resulted in more enormous eating epics and by Sunday evening I genuinely felt out-caked, out-chocolated and vastly overindulged. That feeling lasted all of about eight hours until Monday, when somebody brought mince pies into the office.

Despite telling myself, “today, I will be healthy”, every single day I am greeted with some sort of unplanned, irresistible naughty that is simply too good to miss. Part of me thinks I should resign myself to the fact that it is December: the time to revel and delight in all the goodies. The other part of me knows I should have more willpower, and that whilst it really is okay to have a few more regular treats at this time of year, some sort of portion control should be exercised i.e. don’t eat the whole box of biscuits when two (okay, three) will do.

So for the festive season, if you see me in Tesco carrying a yard of jaffa cakes, feel free to remove it from my basket. Likewise, don’t leave me alone with a tin of chocolates or a plate of mince pies. But most of all, if I’m going for anything more than thirds on the Christmas buffet at any of the number of the parties throughout the month, intervention is required and I should be redirected swiftly to the dance floor.

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