I’ve moved. I’m now in one of the swanky modern flats in Trinity Hall. In almost all respects, it is far, far better than where I was living for the year. The bedroom is much bigger, with a lovely en suite bathroom. The furniture is cleaner, larger and much more modern. And yet, I did find myself saddened as I returned my keys to the flat where I’d had so many memorable experiences. When I’d cleaned the old flat and cleared it of my stuff, I sat in the kitchen, looking around, playing “Time to Say Goodbye” on my phone. Then I noticed the sticky patch on the door, the brown stains on the wall, the black patches on the lino and I snapped out of it. I told myself to stop acting like a 16-year-old girl, locked the building up, and handed back my keys.
I started putting my things away in my new room, hung up my One Direction poster and my JLS calendar. Glad I stopped acting like a 16-year-old girl.
I have five flatmates, all postgrads. I’ve only met one of them so far, even though I’ve been living there for six days now. I’ve once again fallen into the old trap of avoiding the kitchen.
I avoid kitchens because I hate people knowing what I eat. I once had a friend and colleague, who I’d worked with for over a year and a half, remark that she’d never seen me eat. There are times when I’m pathologically secretive about what I eat. As a teenager, I remember having sneaky chocolates when my parents wouldn’t notice, but it was never what you would call a “problem”.
Then, when I first moved to Dublin in 2006, I was sharing a house with six other people in Inchicore. One afternoon after work, I remember looking around a shop for different options I might have for dinner. I was strongly considering a microwave meal, but I’d had one of those the day before and I didn’t want my housemates to judge me for not cooking proper food. In the end, I bought a packet of McVitie’s Caramel Chocolate Digestives and a litre of milk. When I got home, I went straight to my bedroom and ate the entire packet of biscuits and drank the milk. No one could see me. That was my dinner, and that was the start of a very bad habit. I can’t count the times since then when I’ve eaten one (or sometimes two) packets of biscuits instead of having dinner. In 2009, when I went from being 18 stone to 24 stone in a relatively short period of time, I would have had biscuits for dinner four or five times a week.
Even outside the biscuit issue, I don’t like people knowing what I eat. When I eat with other people, one of two things happens. Sometimes, when I eat with other people, I eat what I consider a normal amount at a normal speed. This invariably means that I eat more than everyone I’m with and I eat it faster. This leaves me feeling guilty for appearing gluttonous. Often, as soon as I get away from the people I was eating with, I feel so guilty that I find more food to eat, because my cure for guilt is almost always food.
The other thing that happens when I eat with other people is that I exercise restraint. I eat the amount they eat (or less). I eat at the speed they eat. I am virtuous. And then, when I’m alone again, I feel deprived. I feel I didn’t eat enough. And so I react by eating more. At least 70% of the times I go for dinner with a friend or at a friend’s house, I go for chips, or for a pizza, or for a packet of biscuits afterwards.
This is 2012. This is my year. And this summer is going to be my summer of love. And so, it’s time for a change. I’m putting myself on a programme. I have christened it the PoWaR programme.
It will make me more PoWaRful. (“Really, Connor?” “Yes, really.”)
“Po” is for porridge. I will continue to eat whatever rubbish I eat for the rest of the day, but, starting tomorrow, I’m going to eat porridge every morning. And I’m going to do it in the kitchen where everyone can see me. Whether I like it or not.
“Wa” is for water. I’m going to drink two litres of water a day. Drinking water makes you feel better, it’s good for your skin, it helps you feel fuller, it helps you digest all the crap you eat. Also, I currently spend about €30 a week on fizzy drinks and juices (mainly Diet Coke) and I’m going to be broke again soon, so I have to spend less on crap. Finally, I’ll need to drink water for the “R” part of the PoWaR plan.
“R” is for running. I’ve got out of my rut. I’ve run 6 km. On Sunday, I’m going to attempt 7km. And a week from Tuesday, I’m in an actual official race, for the first time since that ill-fated marathon in 2010. It’s 8K, and I’m going to rock it. After that, I’ll set another running target for myself, but I intend to run four days a week for the rest of the summer.
Rarr! Feel the PoWaR!