By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Losing flab: The Epic Journey..

Reader, since I left uni and started seriously pursuing acting as a career, I have invariably been on one 'healthy eating' plan or another. I hesitate to use the word diet, because nearly all of them have stressed that they're not diets, they're ways of life. Which is a bit ridiculous really. Let's face it, creator's of health food, the whole point of you is to make fat people skinny. You are changing what they eat. Which is, essentially, called dieting. The main problem seems to be that whenever I get a bit fat (generally once or twice a year) I go 'Crap! I can't fit into my size 10s!' and what follows are a fair few months of counting calories and exercising (usually sporadically, I am really quite lazy). Then, as soon as I get to a size I'm happy with, I sort of forget why I started eating healthily in the first place and pick up my usual bad (but delicious) habits. Like eating buttery toast while I wait for dinner to cook. Or grating cheese over EVERYTHING. Or deciding that actually, the vending machine at work is my new best friend and I should visit it every couple of hours. I am a bit all or nothing. I've never reached anorexic stages (mainly because I'm such a massive foodie, I don't think I could bear to miss out, but also because I have no patience with tummy rumbling), but I think I do have a slight addiction to diets now. Then again, most women I come across seem to. Some are on the Cambridge (which seems to be a posher version of slimfast, so I avoid it with my life as slimfast just made me very grumpy for two weeks and my skin turned a horrible colour), some do the Dukan and have terrible breath because of all the cottage cheese, some do weight watchers (as did I, before they changed the system and it all got a bit complex) and some do the blood type (not ideal for me as I don't even know what blood type I am). Some of my friends (mainly men, but a couple of the girls too) are even on diets to gain weight.

What seems odd to me, is that these ways of eating are very very hard. It would be really great if our bodies would crave what we needed to be the size we look best at, surely evolution should work like that? Maybe it already does and I just look my best at a size 14, but I like to run, and as any girl will tell you, jogging with a booty is hard blooming work. To be honest, as an actor, my size constantly changes to suit the roles I play. Back when I was at drama school, I once had to be a burlesque dancer, a character who took great joy from all the sensual elements. So I really enjoyed my food for the role and put on about half a stone from all the dark chocolate (Best character prep EVER!). Conversely, for my final role, a widowed doctor who had moved into pathology, part of what I felt about the character was that she took no joy from food and her only real escape was early morning sprinting (it was the first time I had ever taken up running, and I did not enjoy it. It took me months to attempt it again!) so I ended up really skinny. My next big role will be in a national tour of a Dickens production next year, in which I play both the adult version of the part, and the young teenage version, and my boobs would have given me away had I not done some serious calorie deduction!

The thing is, there is something quite OCD and whilst fun isn't the word, pleasant might be, about keeping track of what you're eating. And it means that when I do pig out (which I do, at least once a week, this week it was chip shop chips with slabs of bread and butter! Mmmmmm...) I really enjoy it. Also, I feel really good about my figure, to the extent where I can wear skin tight clothes if I want to (since I have an hourglass figure naturally, when I'm slightly larger I can't really do this as it verges on pornographic and I usually get sent back upstairs to put something else on). I think the important thing is to not get too obsessed and know what's healthy and what's not. I've seen friends take dieting too far, and that's been enough for me to never be tempted to go over the top, I don't want to look like a skeleton unless it's halloween cheers...

So yeah. Don't get obsessive Readers! Like writing a blog about your eating habits....erm....

P.s. Another reason I'm being super healthy at the mo is that Christmas is coming up. I tend to put on a looooot of bounce over Christmas and I'm off to the in-laws for new year. Frankly, I don't intend to skimp on potatoes and quality street. So losing a bit pre-holidays means I can shovel it down like there's no tomorrow!

P.P.S Remember folks, dieting ISN'T a lifestyle-it's a way to fit more chocolate in when the time comes!

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