Yesterday, I watched 'Supersize Me'. It's enough to make anyone paranoid - 25.5 lbs, about 12 kilograms in a month from eating fast food three times a day...that's how much weight Morgan Spurlock, the writer-director-actor who made the project put on! I was amongst those who rolled their eyes at the idea of school lunches becoming more healthy in England. What is the big deal about what canteens should sell and what they shouldn't, when kids get to make the choice anyway?
I sort of drifted back into my schooldays when I was watching the documentary. We had a canteen, and i used to buy the occasional fried food - samosa, usually - and soft drink, but my mother, like all the other mothers, used to pack lunch for me to eat in school. What is it in western countries, that allows parents to trust schools with providing nutritious food, and not bother about packing a good, homemade lunch for their kids? When I came to the University of Westminster, one of the first things I noticed was what there's hardly anything to cater to someone who does not eat animals and nothing to cater to vegans except for french fries. And no mothers around to pack lunch for graduate and post-graduate students. For a while, I fell back on the easy option of eating these high calorie lunches. With a million deadlines to meet, a lot of studying to do, and not enough sleep, one does not have the inclination to make the time to cook.
It's a vague memory that working out used to make me feel really good. Having weighed 85 kilograms at the age of 15, I panicked and got into a regular regime of exercise, hardly missing a day. By the time I was 19, I was maintaining my weight at about 52 kilograms. And that was when I decided I might as well chill out a bit and eat junk and let up on the exercise. Besides which, working 24/7 doesn't really allow much incentive to work out. And before I knew it, I'd put on some 10 kgs. And I simply could not get back to working out. I've read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit for life. You work out for three weeks on a regular basis, and you stick to it. You drop it, and you never take it up again. And that's exactly what happened with my five-year habit of working out.
After coming to London and putting on another 5 kgs in a few weeks, I decided it was about time I put a stop to this. Out went the flapjacks, the nutella and all the other high fat eatables I was living on. I started cooking my own vegetables (out with the frozen foods) and making rice in the mornings, and having soup for dinner. I also began a good regime of exercise. But I did indulge in the occasional burger/fatty vegetarian eat.
Watching 'Supersize Me' is scary, though. It just screams out how easy it is to depend on food for everything, and what a vicious cycle it all becomes. You start eating high fat foods, and find yourself becoming less healthy and mroe depressed. Then you start getting addicted to it, and find that downing these calories lifts your mood (just like the endorphins in chocolate do) and you start pigging out all the time. Before you know it, you're gigantic and decide nothing you do is going to change things. That is NOT a good place to be!!!
So I've decided I'm done with fast food for the next six months. I know a friend of mine's going to ask me this evening whether I want the four cheese pizza melt while the rest of them eat chicken kievs. And I should probably pass the 'Supersize Me' DVD on to her!