Friday, March 4, 2011
Eye of the Beholder
So, I am sitting here contemplating going downstairs to retrieve the little notebook I use for making shopping lists. It's Saturday tomorrow, and it's actually a day off for me; aside from my holiday, I've been working a lot of Saturdays since the beginning of the year, and it's so nice to know I have one off tomorrow. Partially that's because university started back on Monday and I have an assignment I need to get working on -- and I suspect I'll end up working Saturday next week, even though I'm already booked for the Thursday late-night as well -- but it's also because I need to go and do some shopping. And one of the things I suddenly want to buy? A black silky dressing gown. And I blame Nigella Lawson entirely for this.
I've said before that I have developed a very odd relationship with food since starting this diet. It didn't happen right away -- in fact, during my first week I really wondered how I was going to survive months on the thing, considering the boring nature of the food I was eating. But things stepped up a bit plan-wise, and then between a random foodie post on the CompuServe forums (quail and truffle brioche rolls, which I will make for myself when this phase is over) and a night spent watching Gordon Ramsay just before Christmas...well. It's all been downhill from there. And shortly after I arrived in Bunbury, my mother presented me with an early birthday gift: Nigella Lawson's Kitchen. Since then, I have made a ridiculous amount of things from that book; the personal favourite would have to be the Guinness gingerbread, but then it had five of my favourite kitchen-scents in it -- cinnamon, cloves, golden syrup, ginger and of course GUINNESS -- so that was pretty much a given. But Nigella's quite chatty, both in her books and on her show, and...yeah.
She talks a bit about guilt. This is probably one of my biggest personal flaws, in that I feel guilty about everything. Basically, if something goes wrong, I think it's my fault. It's probably because I have a strong streak of perfectionism going on, which is why I also have a self-confidence problem; I can't stand up for myself because I deem my own opinion and work worthless, and then I tend to blame myself whenever something goes wrong anyway. This is half my problem with the stress at work; although it's not of my own creation, I can't stop it and in fact do contribute to it getting worse because of my crippling self-loathing. Losing weight hasn't fixed this, incidentally. In some ways in makes it worse because I feel like a fraud. I still overeat, given half the chance. I'm not skinny, I'm a fattie in a slimmer body. So...yes. Big issues, here. And I need to deal with them in therapy, to be frank. My problem with therapy is that I don't believe I deserve to be there. So you start to see the vicious teeth of this vicious cycle, yes?
But yeah, Nigella's outlook on food intrigues me. Because I don't want to feel guilty about eating for the rest of my life. I have to eat to live, and while I can't just stuff my face with anything I like, I still deserve to enjoyw what I do choose to eat. It's just...I need to make the right decisions. So...yeah. Tomorrow, I need to buy that dressing gown, or at least a new pair of pyjamas. Nice as it is to wear my old pyjamas from Sheffield, given they're so big the waist sits halfway around my hips, I keep tripping on them. And one day I will fall down the stairs because of it.
Like I said, though, even with things like the huge pyjamas or comparing photographs or knowing that I wore a bikini in Western Australia? I still look in the mirror and see a fat girl. The baking experiments, though, brought up an interesting moment. I made a pecan pie the other day and served it for dessert to my mother, father, brother, two aunts and an uncle along with some leftovers from the previous day's barbeque for my father's workmates (probably it involved the plum shortbread, Guinness gingerbread and marmalade pudding cake trifle). Given I've never been previously known for culinary prowess, my uncle arched an ironic eyebrow at first the desserts, and then me. He then said: "You know, they say never to trust a skinny cook." I laughed it off, but I realised later he wasn't mocking either my cooking or my weight. He genuinely meant to call me skinny. And that's...so odd. I mean, the other day at work a colleague said: "So you're back on the diet?" and I said yes, and a random customer declared: "Oh, you don't need to be on a diet!" She was then very startled when, with some prodding from my workmate, I admitted to having lost twenty kilograms. Actually, I met one of my consultants in person for the first time a couple of weeks ago and she actually said she couldn't imagine what I would have looked like with that weight. Apparently I look natural. Like I should. So...yeah. In a way that helps, because there's that little barrier of thinking I don't deserve this. But if it looks natural...
At any rate. I am making a King Cake this weekend for Shrove Tuesday, as I said. I need to go and start organising a shopping list of ingredients so I can go to the supermarket after I go hunting for my dressing gown and pyjamas. I also need to work out if I can freeze the egg whites from the king cake, as I could use them to make an angel's food cake at some point. My mother bought me a pan for one as a belated birthday present, and it sounds like a huge pain in the ass to make. Naturally, it intrigues me. Honestly, this diet has really changed the way I look at food; I'm considering turning this journal into a proper food blog once this strict diet phase is over, such is my obsession. But then I suppose the thing is? It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change. And I likely as not need to document my learning as I learn to live with myself as a skinny cook. Ha ha ha.