Do you ever go through phases in your life? Are you a spur of the phase type person? I am. It’s inherited from my Dad. We both have a tendency to pick up projects, get fully engrossed for a few weeks, then abandon all with a promise of going back to the new skill we were acquiring. At some point.
In my parents’ house there was a coffee table phase. It was back in the 80s when French polishing was all the rage. It took about seven years to finish that coffee table. But it least it got finished. There’s still a half built wardrobe in the guest room. And a mostly finished shed in the garden. Recently Dad arrived home with an engine-less Ford Cortina. It’s taken residence in our garage. And my mother doth protest no more. There is no point.
As a child my phases were: fancy pages, keyrings, posters, stamps, sylvanian families, porcelain dolls and small soaps. As an adult my phases have been calligraphy, hand sewing, knitting, machine sewing, football, the gym and recently Slimming World.
Having food phases is not that common for me. I’ve mostly been pretty steady in my quest to not cook as much as possible and eat loads of sugar. When my mother cooked for me, I ate little, plain and often. I was skinny. And I was grand.
Then college came along and I had to cook for myself. We can call this the ‘hard pasta and no vegetable’ phase. I drank coke. I ate fizzy sweets. And I was more or less grand. That was until I kept getting ill.
“Your mother tells me you don’t eat any vegetables?”
I was standing in the chemist where my Mam works, facing a pharmacist who had a look of utter disbelief on her face. Here was a 26 year old woman in front of her who had never eaten anything green. (Stinger bars and jelly babies don’t count).
“Eh….” I said, one hand on the antibiotics, terrified that the ‘fix me’ drugs might be whipped from my very hand as punishment. I was on my way to Amsterdam. I needed to be healthy. So that I could enjoy making myself unhealthy again.
“Ridiculous,” said the pharmacist. “Don’t you realise you could get cancer? How do you expect your body to fight off infection if you don’t look after it, if you don’t feed it what it needs?”
And there was the nubbin. A life of health problems opened up in front of me. My body had gotten this far by eating nothing more than biscuits and bread. But maybe for not much longer.
And so we entered a new phase. A poking salads with a fork stage. A trying not to cringe when I bit down on a pepper stage. And soon I was away. Soups were good. Onions and peppers stuck around. I found that I could eat a bit better by finding what I liked and throwing them in here and there.
By opening my mind to the food world, I discovered a whole heap of foods I never even knew existed. And they weren’t that scary. And some were even nice.
When myself and himself moved in together and had the craic for a few years before we decided to get married we were living in a ‘convenience phase’. We went out for dinner when we wanted. Got takeways. Stuck a few pizzas in the oven. We didn’t cook much. And we were grand. (I love being grand).
And then the baby. Ah pregnancy. Here is your food journey when you are pregnant.
- Feel sick. Do pregnancy test. Pregnant. Celebrate with cake. And laugh that you cannot have wine.
- Feel sicker.
- Feel so sick you lie on the bathroom floor and cry and make sure he sees you so that he can feel extra sorry for you.
- Reach breaking point. Consider jumping out a window.
- Sickness eases. Goodbye trimester one.
- Mostly eat like you did before, only more of everything because you are eating for two. And chocolate. Because you can’t have wine.
- Hello heartburn. Drink more milk. Good bye spices.
- Womb so big it makes your tummy small. Weird. Can’t eat much.
- Sleeping sitting up. Replace drinking milk with drinking bottles of Gaviscon.
- Baby is born. Drink 500 litres of water a day due to breastfeeding. Too tired to cook. Order husband to throw morsels of food at you from across the room so that you can catch them in your mouth. Continue for a few months until you realise that you are starting to put ON weight and need to do something about it. Despair.
I had a few dalliances with the gym. The first gym phase post-baby worked wonders. I was on maternity leave, it was an escape for an hour from the baby and I lost a good chunk of baby weight. But, the second gym phase, when back at work, didn’t work at all. That’s because I didn’t go there. Ever.
Approaching the baby’s first anniversary of her birth I was a bit miserable. I felt overweight. Not fat exactly. Just frumpy. I had a heap of clothes in the wardrobe that refused to pull themselves over my love handles. And I felt stuck.
One day, having thought about it for a while, I announced to himself that I was:
JOINING SLIMMING WORLD.
Like all my announcements of the NEXT PHASE, he rolled his eyes to heaven and asked how it would affect his life. Little did he know. Neither of us had a clue.
What sort of food phases have you gone through? Any crash diets? Anything that worked? I’d love to hear from you.