You’ve got to love the French. After a couple of years of Anglo-American style campaigns to reduce childhood obesity by insisting that kids eat healthily, they’ve now decided that this is making everyone depressed and guilty. A new government campaign says let them eat sweets, let them eat pain au chocolat, and goddammit, let them even eat cake. Children should eat all the things they like, in moderation, and combine this with normal, healthy, family meals. By limiting themselves, the campaign claims, children will tend to eat more compulsively and still put on weight.
They really should have consulted me. All this I can attest to. I am the compulsiveness poster child. Thomas has given up alcohol for Lent for the third year in a row (all cheer). Instead of laughing at him from behind a large glass of Cote du Rhone as I usually do, this year I have joined him in his folly. If you said to me I could never drink a drop of alcohol again for the rest of my life, I’d say ‘Huh! Bring it on!’, but if you said not a morsel of sugar could ever again pass my lips I will would fall in a faint heap to the floor. So, this year, in order to test my resolve, I have given up sugar for Lent (all cheer resoundingly).
By this I do not mean just sugar in tea and coffee. I mean chocolate. I mean ice-cream. I mean all sweets, biscuits and puddings (for my American friends, that means desserts). I mean sweetened yoghurts and cereals. Not a drop of sugar has passed my lips since Ash Wednesday. My only concession to sweetness – a girl has got to have some – has been honey on my porridge and on my plain, white, fat-free yoghurt. For those who would like to take issue with honey, let me say it is an entirely different and more natural product and without it, I would be dying.
So I’m surviving the sugar fast. A bit depressed and guilty, but surviving. And unfortunately I’m eating more bread, more cheese and more salami to compensate. Such a little compulsive eater, moi. I want French-style eating back in my life – everything I want, in broad spectrum from sugar to sugar. Once I have that much-needed balance back in my life, then I can start working on the moderation thing.