If there’s one thing that my years of eating disorder counselling taught me, it’s that restrictive, obsessive dieting doesn’t work.
Anyway, I’m seven days into a restrictive, obsessive diet. It’s the French one that’s a bit like Atkins. No carbs, lots of protein (difficult for a vegetarian) and, initially, not much else. Unlike Atkins, fat is not permitted but vegetables are. According to the website’s calculations, I’m due to reach my target weight by November.
Cynics might say that such a diet is terribly unhealthy. But to the doubters I say: can it really be any less healthy than my previous diet of noodles, ice cream and Diet Coke?
On Sunday, I finished the first five protein-only days in which I ate lots of egg whites, tofu and skimmed milk. And for the past two days I’ve been eating the above plus vegetables. I had homemade tomato soup and tofu for lunch, and aubergine, tofu and green stuff for supper. So it’s not too foul, but it is a little bit dull.
The diet is resurrecting my taste buds, which had more-or-less atrophied after years of sugar, artificial flavouring and fats. And, most importantly, I’m losing weight. I have no idea how much, as I don’t have scales, but I can feel it steadily melting away.
Of course, none of this dieting stupidity would be necessary if I hadn’t put the weight on in the first place. Unfortunately, my weight is always linked to my happiness. And over the past two years I made some stupid decisions that affected both.
If I had my time again, I would’ve left Beijing after my first year here. I’d seen the city, made some friends and (to a certain extent) enjoyed my job. But I was unsure of where to go and what to do next so I took the easy option and stayed. That was when things got ugly. I met someone who shall not be named and got dragged into a whirlpool of shit, and it’s taken the best part of two years to get back up to the surface.
The lesson that I need to take from this is that when a decision needs to be made, I need to be a man and make it. I can’t just float along doing whatever is easiest. And so it comes as a relief to know that, while I have no idea what my long-term future will be like, the next 10 months or so are planned and are worth looking forward to.