On the occasions that I have visited Paris, I have always marvelled at how everybody in France is not morbidly obese. With all that bread, butter and oil in crepes, waffles, baguettes, frites, croissants... I know I would be.
Apparently, their secret is to eat a little bit of everything. They allow themselves any indulgent 'bad' food, but once they have tasted it, that's it. It makes sense, I suppose. When you're not eating for hunger, which is normally when you're putting on weight, you're eating for the taste. And one bite tastes just as good as twenty.
I have never been like that. I am not a fan of hugely unhealthy foods; they make me feel uncomfortable and queasy. Popcorn may taste nice, but the feeling afterwards is anything but. However one thing I do do is eat, and eat, and eat. I have been known to consume five portions of plain rice, one after the other.
But I am not happy with the way I eat. It's not nice to look at a slice of cake and immediately see warning signs flashing in front of me. Or getting so full on 'healthy' foods and never even tasting the indulgent stuff.
I haven't consumed chocolate for around two years - I've lost count, it's either two years next month or three years next month. It was a sort of test of willpower, to see if I could do it; I don't like chocolate that much so I wondered if I could cut out something which is really the bane of so many people's diets. I didn't find it hard at all, and now 2-3 years later the thought of having some chocolate somehow scares me. It's weird and I definitely don't understand it, and would probably need 2-3 years of psychoanalysis to get to the bottom of it.
But I do know that it's something to do with my issue with 'bad' foods and my lack of attention to portion sizes. Last Friday, seriously enjoying a wonderful slice of cake, I wondered about the results of turning to a more French way of eating. I know I'll never be able to completely resist unhealthy temptations, but if I'm eating smaller amounts the whole day round, there's nothing wrong with that.
So I have set myself a limit of one portion per meal, for seven days. So far, Monday and Tuesday have gone wonderfully. Yesterday, I enjoyed a small handful of toffee popcorn and looked far less green around the gills than my less portion-aware counterparts. Today I had two digestive biscuits and no guilt at all.
I don't think I'm quite ready for chocolate yet. But how gorgeous are these cupcakes from Cakeadoodledoo - cupcake heaven in Devon??