I went out for dinner on Friday with a friend. As usual, I manipulated the situation to choose the restaurant, making sure it’s one I’m comfortable with and would find something ‘safe’ on the menu. Bizarrely this compulsion to check restaurant menus stretches to the dessert menu – it has to have something stodgy, fattening, sickly and yummy for dessert. I will stress over what to have for a main, and shudder at the mention of butter or cream in a sauce, or ‘deep fried….’ but when it comes to dessert – anything goes. Sweet tooth I guess.
Anyway, while I was searching for a restaurant we could go to, I noticed an increasing number of menus now display the calorie content on them. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I can see how it can help “normal” people to make sensible choices. On the other hand, it causes even more arguments in heads like mine over what to eat. Do I choose something I’d actually like to eat, or do I choose the item with the lowest number of calories? But then…If I choose the lowest calorie dish, my friends/parents/family will notice I’ve chosen that and be suspicious, so maybe I should choose the 2nd lowest. But then I’ll feel guilty that I’ve eaten more than I could have got away with…and so it goes on. And on. And on. I avoided going to any of those restaurants purely for that reason, despite one having a caramel chocolate brownie on the pudding menu which sounded beautiful.
I know how contradictory it sounds, that I will eat anything for dessert but struggle with seemingly simple tasks like choosing which loaf of bread to buy, but it’s all about the numbers. If one loaf says 80 calories per slice and the other, nicer looking loaf says 130, you can put a million pounds on my choosing the lower calorie manky looking loaf. Whereas with pudding, the calorie content is unknown, it could be 30000, could be 200, I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I want to enjoy it. However, it’s not as easy when it comes to pudding at home because anything from the supermarket has numbers all over it, so the toffee apple crumble I saw this morning stayed on the shelf because I could see how much fat it contained – when on the same note, I ate out with my family yesterday and ate an absolutely humongous portion of sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream not dissimilar to the one below. It had no numbers, it tasted bloody lovely.
I’m detirmed to stop staring at nutritional information, it’s ridiculous. I read a blog earlier where the author has learned to trust her body into stopping when she’s full and eating the food she wants to eat and that’s what I’m striving for. When I came out of hospital around 3/4 years ago, my brain had 100% switched off from any sort of eating disorder, snapped completely out of it. No reading the back of packets, no counting calories, no sleepless nights over what might be for dinner tomorrow, no lying awake with an empty stomach, just happiness. And now it’s crept back in like the cheeky little devil without me being aware of it, but it’s starting to take over now like it did before and I want to stop it before it’s too late. Easier said than done, but it’s not worth wasting my life for. What’s in a number? Nothing. Nothing at all.