I spent this weekend looking after my niece and nephew and earlier today, we sat and read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. In case you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a baby caterpillar who starts out in life by eating fruit; one apple on day one, two pears on day two, three plums on day three and so on. The baby caterpillar becomes so hungry that by day six, he eats everything he can including a slice of Swiss cheese, an ice cream cone, a piece of chocolate cake and a sausage. By Saturday night, we learn that the caterpillar is not so small and he has stomach ache from all the food he has consumed. He decides to eat a healthy green leaf on Sunday and is now feeling much better. Feeling very full up from all he has eaten, he goes to sleep and wakes up over two weeks later as a beautiful bright butterfly (and probably lives happily ever after as a super model).
Never before in my life have I felt so comparable to a caterpillar, although I am still waiting for my butterfly ending. His journey starts out much like any ‘diet’ I have ever tried; great to begin with but goes tits up by the weekend. Where our similarities end however, are that he makes a sensible choice on Sunday and after a two week snooze, wakes up looking better than he did when he started. If only!
This children’s classic really did get me thinking. Over the last few years I have tried an embarrassing number of fad diets and although some helped me to lose weight, none were successful in keeping the weight off. Like the caterpillar, I would always start out okay but then soon find myself in a food coma, sometimes for days and other times for months. I have learnt the hard way that depriving myself of the things I enjoy doesn’t work in the long term, which is why I was keen to give Slimming World a try. I figured if I had permission to eat a Curly Wurly, I might not crave chocolate as much as I would on a diet which completely restricted it. I had always been of the view that any diet plan which allowed you to eat chocolate was a waste of time and continued to wave the ‘clean and lean’ flag. The trouble was however, I would wave my flag but then sit and eat copious amounts of rubbish anyway, often in private so I didn’t look like a hypocrite (there’s a funny story about that which I’ll share in my next post).
Although I continue to aspire to clean eating, what I have learnt is that I need to get the basics right first. What matters to me is that I develop a better relationship with food and I’m hoping that this is the start of that.