There is a wonderful Sex and the City episode where Miranda craves some cake. She buys a supermarket cake mix and bakes a rich, moist, chocolate slab. She cuts a small slice, closes her eyes and savors the taste sensation from every bite. She licks her sticky fingers and then wraps the left over cake in tin foil and puts it in the fridge.
A few minutes later, she pads back into the kitchen, opens the fridge and cuts herself a sliver. Not a slice, just a sliver for another quick taste. She rewraps her cake and puts it back in the fridge.
The fridge opens and closes repeatedly during the course of the evening as she cuts herself more and more slivers. At one point, she peers at the remains of her cake and it dawns on her that she has munched through half the slab. She scrunches the tin foil in disgust and chucks the rest of it in the bin. That’s the end of that, we think.
Later, she tiptoes back into the kitchen, reaches inside the bin, unwraps the tin foil and scrapes some icing on to her finger.
A little while passes and then she strides into the kitchen. She grabs the dishwashing liquid, squirts it into the bin and soaks her cake. She breathes a sigh of relief for finally she has broken her cake’s powerful, magnetic pull.
I love this scene because my self-control is like Miranda’s. It’s a house of cards and it regularly collapses. I have also, on the odd occasion, retrieved a discarded chocolate or biscuit from the bin.
My fragile self-discipline is a problem in a place like Switzerland. This country has opened up a culinary Pandora’s Box and the breads, pastries, wines, cheeses, hams, tarts, meat, sauces and fruits are irresistible. I buy everything that is new and different. I don’t eat in moderation and I can’t keep food and make it last. I am bored and unemployed so eating is the highlight of my day.
I must draw a line in the sand and my constant munching should stop. From now on, I want to exercise more and eat less. I am outlining my plan below, for accountability purposes:
Plan of Action
a. Reduce food quantities
Something has happened to my body since we moved to Switzerland. I haven’t put on more than 2-3 kgs but my shape has definitely changed. I feel my tight, toned muscles are melting like candle wax and drifting into places they are not supposed to, like my bum.
It is difficult to find diet food in Switzerland and my quest to locate fat free Brie cheese, ‘light’ pain au chocolats and low calorie butter was fruitless. Alastair and I eat every meal as if we are stuffing a week’s worth of clothing into a child-sized suitcase. The key to eliminating my bushman bum is to reduce our meal sizes. Alastair and I will no longer eat every meal as if it is our last. From now on, we will eat for two.
b. Avoid temptation
I must eliminate temptation from my house. In May, the Coop Supermarket had a chocolate sale and offered slabs in bulk at bargain basement prices. I never refuse a good deal (especially in an eye-wateringly expensive place like Switzerland) so I bought a bulk pack of over 20 slabs. I carried them into the house in my arms, rather than just my hands.
I kept them in a drawer in the kitchen and planned they would last until Christmas 2011. I am surprised the drawer didn’t fall off its hinges, what with the constant opening and closing to get a little piece of chocolate here and a little piece of chocolate there. The 20 slabs tempted and tortured me for over 2 months. We have one left and it’s only July.
c. Exercise more … without Al
Exercise is a sensitive topic in the Surycz household.
I often plead with Alastair to chum me on a run/walk. He’s not interested. Getting him to join me is like dragging a dead horse through sand. This weekend, Alastair sprawled himself on the couch and said I must run on my own as he hates jogging and prefers his own exercise – golf and hockey. ‘But Al,’ I argued, ‘you haven’t played golf in over 12 months and your last hockey game was 5 months ago, before we left London.’
Alastair works hard so, during the weekend, he prefers to chill and lay low. I don’t mind wallowing like a hippo but I don’t want to look like one too. I wish we were on the same page exercise-wise because we could motivate each other. It didn’t further my cause when, the last two times we ran together, Alastair itched uncontrollably and it became so unbearable that he left me and sprinted topless all the way home.
I think women expect a lot from men. We want our husbands to be every thing to us and meet all our needs. We assume our husband will be our lover, best friend, psychotherapist, provider, mentor, teacher and financial advisor all rolled into one. I must accept that, although Alastair fulfils many roles in my life, he will never ever be my personal trainer.
What James Dean didn’t say …
I have a James Dean quote on my wall. It says, ‘Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.’ I must remind myself it says ‘live’ (and not EAT) as if you’ll die today.