The tummy island is very slowly sinking back into the bathwaterby Wendell Steavenson / May 22, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
There are two kinds of diet: the one where you eat and the one where you don’t eat. The one I practise everyday is the everything diet. No food is bad, no food is forbidden or taboo. I am lucky: I have a steady metabolism, no allergies, no particular cravings, nor a sweet tooth. Farm fresh or junk, both are beloved and happily scoffed. I am very fond of Frazzles bacon-flavoured crisps, especially when paired with Lucozade, but I almost never buy prepared or processed food in the supermarket. I will go through a phase of eating peas with mint and raw apples, and yet I often sing the praises of McDonald’s.
But, you get a little older, you get a little thicker around the middle. Stealthy pounds crept up the scale that I had stopped stepping on for a whole year. Squashy crescents were escaping over the top of my jeans, I could barely get into the dress I bought three years ago, and when I lay in the bath my tummy stuck up out of the water like an island. I was, like pretty much everyone, a stone heavier than I wanted to be. More importantly, I didn’t feel good about it and I didn’t feel good about myself.
Finally, last month, after eating ramen noodles three times a day for a week, some kind of self-control switch clicked—stop! And so, for the past four weeks, I have been on “the Wendy diet.” The other kind of diet, the one where you don’t eat. Very much.
There is so much written about what-to-eat-what-not-to-eat. Overwhelming and conflicting screeds, quackery, government guidelines, revised government guidelines, experts, advice, admonishment. Five servings of fruit and veg a day—no scrap that, seven. Eggs cause cholesterol, don’t eat mercury tuna or hormone beef. Go gluten free, stop eating dairy. Carbs are bombs! Sugar is evil! Salt will kill you! And then, of course, the headline is overturned by another study. Butter is suddenly announced to be good for you again; organic makes no appreciable difference to your health. And lets not even…