The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Days Ninety to Ninety Three – The Normal Weirdo 14 May 2008

Well I’ve been on the course for three days now, and it’s as strange as I imagined it would be.  When everyone else gets together for lunch or dinner, I skulk off to my room for my own meal.  This is unusual behaviour for me … as you know I’ve merrily sat through many communal meals since starting the diet, and now I feel a bit sneaky.  The reason for doing this is that I really can’t be arsed to get into the whole diet discussion with a large group of strangers.  There are seven tutors here (I’m one), most of whom I know, and about thirty delegates.  The tutors know what I’m up to, but I haven’t told the delegates.  It would feel very odd.  So I’ll be dining solo for a week!

The situation is made even more strange by the fact that I feel increasingly ‘normal’.  I’ve mentioned this before, but this week has really brought it to the fore.  For the first time in years I’m with a large group of people and don’t feel like the fat one, or the odd one out.  So by not eating normally with them I’m forcing myself back into that world of being different.  It’s screwing with my head a bit.

Oh and I forgot to say that the catering here is absolutely brilliant, and there is fabulous fresh food on tap pretty much twenty four hours a day … sigh …  I guess I’ll be the only one that doesn’t go home a few pounds heavier 🙂  Also, the project we are working on is all about cheese.  Good, old-fashioned strong cheddar.  I’ve lived, breathed and slept cheese for the last three days, and am the only one who hasn’t been nibbling away at it like a greedy mouse.

On a positive note, there are two people here that I’ve not seen for a long time.  One of them is a tutor, and she was open-mouthed when she saw me, and full of admiration for how I now look and what I’ve done.  That was pretty much the first conversation I had with anyone when I got here, and it did set me up for the days ahead.  The other is one of the delegates and somebody that I worked with briefly a few years ago.  I said hello to her, and she quite literally stopped and looked me up and down.  There was a momentary pause when I thought she might say something, but she didn’t.  She probably feels that she doesn’t know me well enough.  It’s reactions like that which will keep me going.

There’s also the whole booze issue.  In the bad old days before the diet I was definitely what you’d call a heavy drinker, with a fearsome appetite and tolerance for alcohol that I’d built up over many years.  I’m the kind of person who could happily put away about three bottles of red wine over a long session and not really show any evidence that I’d done so … apart from attractively purple lips and teeth, that is!  I love red wine with a passion that’s bordering on the obsessive, and giving it up has been like being dumped by a boyfriend that you’re still madly in love with.  OK, I”m being dramatic, but it’s not far off.

So, here I am, on an advertising conference surrounded by interesting and sociable advertising people, and the booze is flowing in the evenings.  I know that advertising people have a dreadful reputation for being profligate lushes, and I don’t want to bolster that reputation, but it’s fair to say that we do like a drink.  Alcohol is arguably the social lubricant of our industry (hence my alarming capacity for it, probably).  Last night I genuinely struggled not to have a drink.  All the tutors were sat comfortably in the bar (having despatched our delegates on a task) and we were having a good old natter, gossip and general bitch.  This turned into a very late ‘putting the world to rights’ session until about 3 in the morning (I dipped out at 2) and every fibre in my body was screaming at me to reach for the bottles of red that were sat in the middle of the table.  I almost cracked, and started that ‘one glass won’t hurt’ train of thinking.  In the end I tried the only thing that I could, aversion therapy.  I picked up a glass of white wine (I dislike white wine intensely) and a belter it was too … warm, cheap Chardonnay.  I had a sip, and it tasted so disgusting that suddenly the red wine craving wasn’t almost as bad.  This may have to be my trick for the week!

All I can say is that, when I woke up this morning, I was mighty happy that I didn’t crack.  I would’ve spent all day beating myself up and worrying about ketosis and generally having a miserable time.  Sometimes drawing on that extra bit of willpower really does pay off.



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