Kate Moss once said something along the lines of: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." There are many many women out there who've adopted this as their mantra.
My weight is usually fairly consistent, give or take a few pounds - a combination of nervous energy, smoking (yes, rap knuckles) and trying not to eat unless I'm hungry. The exception is when I'm pregnant, when I start to pack on weight from the moment the pregnancy test shows positive; I now know, thanks to my wonderful Dubai-based OB, that this is mainly down to a glucose problem that only appears when I'm knocked up... something to do with rogue hormones apparently (I won't go into any more detail as I know many squeamish boys read this blog as well as women - so I'll spare you). What it also meant, apart from having to feed beads of blood into a little machine three times a day (yawn), was that my pregnancy diet was dull, dull, dull... Combined with the usual ban on sushi, rare meat and excessive wine, it's no wonder I spent those long pregnant months feeling as miserable as sin.
You see, I love food. I love to cook (when I'm in the mood), I love to try new flavours, I love trawling around foreign supermarkets to find new and exciting things to taste, I love the discovery of a truly excellent restaurant, I adore red wine (nothing fancy, nothing expensive, just drinkable).
For me, happiness is sitting around a big table with good, honest food, free-flowing wine and relaxed conversation (with the moments of reverent silence that mark a truly great meal).
So it came as a bit of a shock this morning when my lovely Pilates teacher looked at me and said: "Kate, I think you need to eat more." Especially shocking since she is probably the skinniest person I know - truly beautiful but with very little meat on her tiny frame. I've been going to Denise since well before I became pregnant with Baby Belly, over two years now, so she has seen me pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and throughout the long recovery period since Bells was born nearly a year ago. I trust her judgement, as I do that of Mrs G, my friend who also attends Denise's class, and who also agreed that I may have taken it a bit far.
So I came home and I took a long, hard look at myself. I weighed myself for the first time in a month. Then I sighed and went out to buy a packet of biscuits.
Losing weight can be seductive. And the less you eat, the less hungry you become. Perhaps you lose sight of yourself. Sometimes it takes a good friend, one who's not afraid to be honest, to bring you back.
On the menu tonight? Chicken escalopes with a semolina and herb crust, spinach sautéed with garlic, a tomato salad with balsamic glaze (found in Italy, truly delicious) and for dessert, my special chocolate cake which uses almond meal instead of flour - bestowing an amazing rich texture, a slightly gooey centre and an almost crystallised crust. I might even make a raspberry and mint coulis - what the hell, it is father's day today, after all.