Thursday was our chance to take one last bite out of the Big Apple before heading home. But we began the day with some hasty last minute packing. The concierge at our hotel helped me to weigh my bulging suitcase at which point I realised I’d probably bought one (or six) Gap jumpers too many and was dangerously close to my baggage weight allowance. With a remit to buy more luggage for our NYC loot, as well as some last minute souvenirs, we headed to Times Square. We’d previously found a brilliant comic book store in the Financial District that had a sister shop in Mid-Town, so we happily spent a few more dollars there. We then braved the flagship Disney Store and bought bags from the brilliantly cheap Forever 21.After walking around in the sunshine with our shopping bags, we caught the subway to the Lower East Side for lunch in what was purported to be New York City’s best deli, Katz; and it was! This is the place where Harry met Sally, where a pastrami on rye will fill you up for a week (and cost almost $30!) and where you can ‘lunch’ alongside every stereotypical New Yorker imaginable. We both ordered the pastrami along with pints of the rich and delicious Katz Dark Ale. It was a heavy meal but our visit to such a quintessential New York eatery was well worth the stomach ache. With a sense of reluctance (and a little bit of relief, after days of exhaustive sightseeing and carb loading away from our families), we finally caught a cab to the airport. There we flopped in uncomfortable bucket seats in the departure lounge and pondered exactly how aeroplanes stay in the sky and whether or not we could squeeze in one more glass of wine before takeoff. Our trip was a fantastic break from the routines and responsibilities of every day life and I arrived home with the feeling that we’d taken full advantage of the opportunity to eat, sleep and breath this brilliant city. Since then I’ve avidly been watching Manhattan-based TV dramas hoping to spot a familiar landmark or recognise a street name or two, and I’ve been overusing the phrase “totally awesome” much to the amusement of my children. It actually all seems a little bit like a dream that never really happened. But thankfully I have a photo-stream full of pics, a wardrobe full of bargains and a hundred happy memories to keep forever from our New York City adventure.
I’m beginning to realise that starting my Facebook fast and a diet in the same week was a tad ambitious.
I’m a self-confessed comfort eater; I eat when I’m frustrated, when I’m bored, when I’m fed up, when I’m on my own (or with a baby that won’t judge me) and simply when there’s nothing else to do. I eat healthy food and junk food; homemade food and shop bought food; my food and the kids’ food (when they leave it on their plates or when they’re not looking).
And for a child who wouldn’t touch anything other than cheese and crackers until the age of five, I eat a big variety of foods; from hearty English fayre and spicy curries, to exotic seafood and garlic snails. I’ll also eat sushi, chips, cheesecake and pasta at any opportunity.
But much as I love food, it is rarely a friend to my hips. Pregnancy has always given me a ‘Get Out of Dieting’ free card that I’ve enjoyed so much that I now have four kids. But shifting the baby bulge is never as fun. Breastfeeding certainly helps. I know, I know….I would say that wouldn’t I, but it’s bloody true. The downside – breastfeeding makes me hungry.
Dieting, like Facebook, can leave me feeling jealous of my nearest and dearest, particularly those who can polish off multiple Krispy Kremes without a second thought (“Let’s buy The Dozen. It’s much better value” – grrrrrr!). The friends blessed with miracle metabolisms and tiny appetites are difficult company to keep when I’m daydreaming of Mars bars every five minutes. Even mealtimes with the kids can challenge my weight loss willpower. All too frequently I find myself stood in the kitchen, clearing away their dinner plates and finishing off their unwanted pizza. And our weekly trip to the sweet shop is starting to feel practically masochistic. Thankfully, my chocoholic brood are selfish sweetie eaters so only on the rarest of occasions am I able to scrounge a square of Dairy Milk.
Even when I’m trying my hardest to keep track of the calories, I unwittingly scupper my efforts. Its the ‘Chips off Another Person’s Plate’ principle. When grating cheese for a sauce, a handful or three will inevitably end up in my mouth but subconscious calories don’t count, right? When making sandwiches for lunch boxes, eating the discarded crusts wont matter surely? But my biggest downfall is drinks. We’re constantly reminded of the fattening effects of a lush lifestyle and no one wants a beer belly or pinot paunch. But as well as the odd pint and cheeky vino, I am also a bit of a Coke Head (fat coke that is, diet coke is for wimps) as well as a Starbucks addict. My world was recently shaken when I discovered that Chai Tea Lattes are a staggering 300 calories a cup! Sad face 😦
It’s been a week since I started my Facebook fast and I’ve already lost the weight of my obsession. It feels great! But in the meantime, as I look for new ways to occupy my time, I now need to condition myself to stay away from the fridge.