Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Deep Meaning of a Sausage Roll

This post is going to be a bit rambly I'm afraid as it about some random thoughts I've had over the last few days. One of these random thoughts was inspired by a sausage roll, hence the title.

I have dieted a lot in my past. Since my early teens if not earlier. Food therefore was/is categorised in rather complex ways for me. With my parents there were foods that I was only allowed to eat if I was willing to get the sighs and tutting, or in some cases was permitted to eat as it was a special occasion or another excuse. There were foods that I was told we shouldn't be eating, but we deserved a treat (cream-laden cakes were in this category) and then there was 'good' food such as salad and rice cakes (I literally shudder at the memories).

Anyway. There were also foods that I used to eat secretly or when the chance came up away from my parents (at school etc) - often the tutting foods. Sausage rolls were in this category. They were my guilty pleasure.

So when Mr Eclectica and I were hungry the other day and busy and needed something to eat for lunch we stopped at M&S at the service station. Before I went in I wanted a wrap I thought. Something tasty. He wanted a pasty (man food). So I wandered in and somehow came out with a pasty for him and the most god awful sausage roll for myself. And it was hideously bad. Greasy, with spongy meat, and as I ate it I thought why did I buy this? I finished it (god knows why) and then wanted to write a note across the walls, across my forehead even, NEVER BUY THIS AGAIN.

But why did I buy it? Why didn't I even look at the other options? I would have preferred sushi or anything. And the answer came to me the other day. It was because it seemed to me like one of those occasions when I was 'allowed' to have a fattening option if I wanted it. So I did. Regardless of whether I actually wanted it or not.

Spending so much time dieting and being without meant that for the other periods of my life I ate all the crap I could find as I was sure that I would then be dieting soon anyway so if I didn't eat it now I would miss out. I still have these eating patterns to some extent which leads me to eating dessert or something else even when I'm full. It's that unconscious feeling that if I don't eat it now then I won't be allowed it tomorrow or it won't be there. Weird huh? But these things get imprinted from an early age and are hard to wipe clean - especially if it's not really a conscious thought process.

I'm getting over it. But the sausage roll proves to me at least that I still have a way to go. I need to concentrate on what I really want to eat, not what is good or bad or allowed or permitted. To be fair to the husband he doesn't police my eating - except when I seem to be eating more than I probably really need or want (when already full). Which makes me think: why am I eating to the point of being uncomfortable - oh that's right, because I think I'm dieting tomorrow. But I'm not anymore. Hurrah!

The more I read about Health at Every Size the more it makes sense to me. Intuitive eating makes sense. Actively thinking about my food choices makes sense.

Thinking about food as good or bad, and therefore yourself as being good or bad for eating them is a pernicious way of thinking. Food is just food. It's not a moral judgement. You are a bad  person if you kick puppies, not if you eat a chocolate bar.

You are not good if you eat salad. You're just eating leaves and if it's what you wanted for lunch brilliant. If you really wanted something else then no one is going to be giving you a medal for your sacrifice.

Here endth the rant. Comments please.


  1. For a fat girl, I haven't been on many diets. Yes, once I tried to do the South Beach diet and lasted 2 days and I also bought India Knight's diet book and read it but then decided it was too much like hard work.

    I know that I ate too much - not of "bad" things but of everything. That - along with quite severe PCOS - is my downfall. I'm also pretty sloth like. I don't do much moving around and if I do its generally at a slow and steady pace.

    The three times in my life when I have successfully lost a lot of weight were:

    *When I had glandular fever at 17 and could barely swallow

    *When I worked five nights a week in a nightclub - whilst studying for my degree - and was running around moving beer grates and living on a diet of shish kabab and diet coke.

    *When I lived in Japan, ate well, climbed mountains to see obscure temples every weekend, swelted in the summer heat and drank my body weight in beer.

    Apart from the glandular fever, the other times show me that when I move more I loose weight. I don't necessarily have to change my diet because overall I do eat well. So I guess I should get off my backside and do something...

  2. I am completely in agreement with both of you...I've only truly ever lost weight when I actually, shock horror, had a phase of going to the gym when I was about 15....

    But for me, I spent far, far too long thinking I was bigger than I am....for instance, if you've seen the pictures of me at 13 on my blog or fb, looking at them now, I just see a healthy looking girl that is a bit more solidly built than the rest, but at the time, I thought I was the size of a house because I didnt look like a strong wind would blow me over.

    Right now I'm not doing any diets as such, I'm just trying to think more about what I'm eating - do I actually want that particular thing? Can I eat a healthier version that I'll enjoy as much? Am I hungry or just tired/bored/lonely/fed up and compenstating?

    I'm aware that I need to do more exercise, and have v.good intentions to start going to aqua aerobics again,or have even considered braving spinning, but apparently these days you cant just ring up and book something, you have to be a member of even your local council leisure centre (which surely defeats their purpose? If I wanted to do that, I'd be ringing up the bright and shiny gyms in town....)

    But I think that if I met someone my size or smaller and was wanting to lose weight, I'd definitely advocate that they sort out their feelings towards both food and themselves, separately and together before even going there, as I'm of the school of thought that most fat people are the way they are because of issues either with themselves or with food. For me unravelling that mess is and has been a long road which I'm slowly getting there with!

    So, as you can tell, a very thought provoking blog, yet again, Bravo!

  3. I've been doing weight watchers on and off since I originally lost 5 stone to get pregnant with no 1 son....I'm doing OK but it's fucking hard and for exactly the reason you identified. I make bizarre choices, I do things exactly like you did with the sausage roll - even when I don't really want to eat something I find myself doing it compulsively with no real idea why. I never listen to my body, I eat when I'm not hungry, I eat without thinking or enjoying.

    I keep trying to do those self hypnosis things which teach you to eat like a regular person - ie slowly, enjoying the food, stopping before you're full....but I'm not having much success...

    Rambling here - what I'm trying to say is that having found you (thanks to Claire's swap) - I really appreciate this blog and your honesty in writing.