Yvonne Fontyn
3 minute read
28 Sep 2017
5:35 am

Tormented by crusty carbs

Yvonne Fontyn

As summer approaches, our thoughts turn to dieting.

Banting-friendly pizza. Picture: Food & Home Entertainment.

I’m sitting in the coffee shop, eating what I presume will be my last Chelsea bun. A woman sitting across from me – lithe build, skinny MacBook open on the table – fixes me with a horrified gaze.

It could be something on the computer that’s upset her, or maybe her g-string gave a twinge, but I imagine it is the sight of me biting into this huge pile of dough that has unsettled her.

It’s covered in gooey caramel sauce, an unnecessary improvement the chef thought up recently, so there is that, too. Like many people, I admire those who can resist what is not good for them.

I say my last Chelsea bun because I am going to the dietician on Monday and I am sure buns will be off the menu. Last Monday, she heard my full confession and noted down the kind of things I like to eat.

This time, it will be discussing the new meal plan. I impressed on her that I know all the rules, I’ve read all the books – I’m there for encouragement and monitoring. She’s young but she seems wise and she has a kindly, understanding look in her eye.

But let’s see the meal plan – she may be one of those food fascists. Tim Noakes is the reason I feel tormented. Since he outlawed carbs I feel guilty every time I put one in my mouth.

I suspect the new dietician won’t ban them completely and will just prescribe the good ones – butternut, oats and the like. I’m going to see her because, frankly, I’m confused and I am hoping that she’ll cut through the welter of nonsense around about food and provide some balance.

I tried the Banting diet once, inspired by a former boss who lost 20kg, began wearing skinny jeans and pointy shoes and acquired a ritzy new wife.

A couple I know are also Banters, never touching carbohydrates, and are now half their former selves. Of course, the diet famously contains minimum roughage and I believe they’ve had some trouble with haemorrhoids.

After three days of eating virtually only proteins, I couldn’t manage. Munching my way through a four-egg omelette at a celebratory brunch – no champagne with orange juice, no toast!

I felt miserable and made a lunge for the bread basket. It reminded me too much of when I was younger and always on diet. In other words, obsessed.

I concluded that if I carried on with Banting I would probably import that same irrational mind set to it and become fixated, and if I fell off the wagon, consumed by guilt and the conviction that I’m a moral failure.

After entering my more sobering 40s, my approach was always to have a little of what I fancy but mostly to eat healthily. It’s worked fine – I’ve never felt deprived and managed not to gain a kilogram every year, as is common in middle age.

Recently, I found I couldn’t keep the little bit I like at small quantities, hence the visit to the dietician. It’s time to tame the inner child somewhat and teach her some new, healthier habits.

She is going to moan, that I know, but she should settle down when the cravings go and the blood sugar levels begin to even out nicely. And once I lose 5kg, I’ll get a skinny notebook computer.

Yvonne Fontyn.

Yvonne Fontyn.