Tuesday 16 July 2013

The Bikini Delusion

In approximately four weeks time I am going to wear a bikini for the first time in about ten years.  This is not because I have suddenly morphed into Elle Macpherson, but because I have a strange optimistic view of my body, a kind of positive body dismorphia whereby my brain interprets the negative aspects of my physique as "not that bad" and then combines it with a glass-half-full, bullish optimism, which convinces me that four weeks is enough time to hone my abs, cut out the carbs and get rid of the bingo wings.  Clearly I am delusional as none of these things have happened, or are likely to happen.
This is Plan C...

I cannot believe that at the ripe old age of 40 I still believe the crap I tell myself on a daily basis. To illustrate this point, here is a brief insight into my misguided psyche - my top five delusions as it were:

·         If I buy that electric Scholl Pedicure machine advertised on TV, I will have beautiful feet (my mind conveniently glossing over the fact that I have feet that were once described by a chiropodist as “the type of feet one usually associates with dairy farmers ” – I can only assume from this comment that dairy farmers tend to have "Hobbit" feet.)
·         If I buy crap chocolate bars (Rockies / Blue Ribands / Wagon Wheels – I know, controversial) for the kids’ lunch boxes, then I won’t eat them because they don’t taste nice.  This is brilliant reasoning until about 10.30 at night when I find myself with a nice cuppa, Question Time and / or Geordie Shore on the TV and an inexplicable attack of the munchies.  I inevitably end up scoffing the Rockie / Blue Riband / Wagon Wheel just because it is there, and then regretting it instantly because deep down I know I should have held out for something infinitely superior, like half a Cadbury’s Twirl or a few squares of Lindor.
·         If I buy wine in screw top bottles I am more likely to only have one glass because the wine will keep nice and fresh in its re-screwed up bottle.  I think we all know the flaw in this argument!
·         “The healthy living / diet starts tomorrow” – the only time I say this, and actually believe it, is after eating huge quantities of something delicious but very fattening.  It is easy to plan light healthy meals when you are glorying in the golden fug of a carbohydrate / fat coma.
·         Tomorrow I will not shout at my children. I will be the embodiment of nurturing maternal calm….(hmmmmmm!)

Add to this:

·         If I buy a bikini in May (Debenhams Sale) I will be sufficiently “buff” by August to wear it with pride on the beaches of the gayest island in the Mediterranean (I am not being judgmental  / homophobic – this is one of the ways  that Mykonos markets itself, presumably to put off all the Shirley Valentine wannabes coming).

I can only conclude that I must be a bit a little bit mental because in my experience gay men are the harshest critics, especially when it comes to the body beautiful (or “not beautiful” in my case).  Luckily for me I don’t think a forty-something, mother of three, in a Cath Kidston-esque bikini is going to attract much of their attention, I am sure they will be far more interested in my George Clooney lookalike husband (a statement which some might say is further evidence of my delusion), with his English summer tan (white body / brown arms and face). 

So I have turned to the wonderful Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall for some last minute weight loss inspiration.  His “Veg” Cookbook is a revelation for committed carnivores like myself and if I ignore all the bits about adding 7lbs of cheese, then his recipes are incredibly healthy and leave me feeling a little bit virtuous (is this how Vegetarians feel all the time?).  Inspired by Hugh, last weekend I actually picked my own home-grown courgette flowers (so far so good)...and then stuffed them with ricotta, herbs and lemon zest, dipped them in a light batter and deep fried them for a couple of minutes…. You see – DELUDED!!! I had inadvertently chosen the only veg recipe in the entire wonderful book that would go down well in a Scottish fish and chip shop. They tasted bloody lovely though.

Vanity aside and on a more serious note, I should, strictly speaking, be eating healthily to help prevent further MS relapses but for the moment at least, my MS is lovely and quiet (not a twinge, fuzzy leg or sinister weakness in sight).  I feel great and when I feel normal and healthy, I am one of those people who forgets what it feels like to be that poorly.  Two years ago this week I was in a wheelchair and scared that I might not be able to walk again. But the curious thing with the type of MS I have (relapse remitting) is that when things are going well,  I can delude myself into thinking that I will always feel this good – I am not sure if this is a bad or a good thing?

As for the beaches of Mykonos – I am going with Plan B which involves buying a large hat, oversized sunglasses and putting on some bright red lipstick to add some old-school Hollywood glamour and  detract from all the bad stuff going on round my midriff.