I’d rather climb a mountain than stick to a “diet”
WhenI started this column, I vowed I wouldn’t write about my weight. Or diets. I figured if you’re female, you have enough going on in your own head. If you’re male, well, you don’t need it confirmed that we’re all bonkers.
But I’m not one for self-imposed rules. And with so many young women seeing body image as the greatest concern of their lives, I don’t think ignoring it is going to help. So, let’s talk about weight. We’ll start with mine.
For the past few years, I’ve had no idea what I weigh. I’m a words, not a numbers girl, so rather than curse the scales, I’ll realise my thighs feel a bit flabby, or – as has been the case this autumn – my jeans are a bit tight.
This is how my response plays out: Right, must eat less and exercise more (I refuse to say “diet” because it’s a snivelling excuse of a word and one my daughters don’t need to hear).
Instead, I consult healthy blogs and pore over photos of glowing skin and creative salads. Then I buy truckloads of celery, quinoa and beetroot. So much beetroot I pee red.
After two days of juicing and salading and snacking on handfuls of nuts (about 11, apparently, not 40), I meet a friend for dinner and she has a glass of wine, or a brownie. I say, “This is ridiculous, you only live once,” and bam! – the whole body-as-temple idea is over before I even manage a body scrub or schlep off to yoga.
This cycle happens about, erm, 44 times a year; I figure if you can’t be disciplined, you should at least be optimistic. Plus, you never know when you might need those 17 packets of quinoa.
Apart from the aforementioned tight jeans, the triggers for this cycle are random: a friend losing weight; looking a bit chunky on TV (though it’s the silly cameras, not me); the Kate Moss quote, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” – which is rubbish especially when she hasn’t tasted my banoffee pie.
So I recently tried a new tact. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see myself as a monumental lard-arse, but the group of us going trekking in Nepal over the next few weeks agreed it would be easier to lug ourselves up Everest if we shed a few kilos first.
There were to be no rules, except we had to text our weight to the rest of the group each morning. Anyone who didn’t lose the designated three kilos had to donate $100 to the Australian Himalayan Foundation.
I dug out the scales, starting jogging for a bit longer and altered my (flexible) 80/20 principle of carrots versus carrot cake to 95/5. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” is the most sane health advice I’ve heard, so I went with that. After a week, I lost a kilo. The following week, I lost another. Texting kept me accountable and my jeans felt fab.
Then the wheels fell off. I was stressed and tinned tuna doesn’t see you through a crisis. Buttery fruit toast, on the other hand…
Despairing, I phoned a friend who had recently lost weight. “Hon, I was living on tea and resentment,” she chortled. “Things are better now and I’ve put most of it back on.”
She laughed as I confessed to the three-kilo challenge. “It’s called body image because it’s just that – an image, not a reality,” she said. “It would be lovely to be lighter, but we’re not the sort of women who care enough to maintain the deprivation necessary. Besides,” she added, “those kids in the Himalayas need your cash far more than you need a skinny arse.”
Angela’s trek with World Expeditions is raising funds for the Australian Himalayan Foundation. To donate, visit www.gofundraise.com.au.
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