Piling on the Pounds – why are delish things so calorific?!

When I say piling on the pounds, I just wish I meant sterling rather than avoirdupois. What I can’t understand is my mindset isn’t programmed to eat well at the moment. OK, I’ve just had a massive birthday and perhaps I’ve been comfort eating.

Was discussing this weighty subject with a good friend over lunch recently (a healthy Japanese nigiri followed swiftly by a tiny piece of chocolate cake) we just couldn’t figure out what we are doing wrong. Perhaps, to coin a phrase of my mother’s, by indulging our tastebuds we are cutting off our noses to spite our faces. Or more precisely, stuffing naughties into our mouths to spite our bodies.

A couple of times a week I hop (well, gingerly step) onto my bathroom scales. I try to wear as little as possible on these occasions – just a bra and pants usually. I stand there, toes hanging off the edge of the machine (I like to think this deducts a few ounces from the reading) and gawp at the dial. Almost always this is a depressing experience so, with a deep sigh, I remove my underwear and tiny stud earrings to make myself lighter or in case the scales aren’t “working properly.” As I stand there shivering, my unharnessed bosoms wobbling like oversized strawberry jellies, my weight has usually increased. How that happens I have no idea – must be a quirky feature that the manufacturers incorporate just for a laugh.

So, faced with the undeniable fact that I am, inexplicably, pounds over my ideal weight, I suck in my stomach and pull my shoulders back (improved posture makes you look as if you have lost half a stone – perhaps the scales will be fooled too?). Weirdly this doesn’t seem to help.

So I mull over how I’m going to pull myself together and become less lumpy. Usually this entails drinking a simple chicken broth all week because that’s only 150 calories a bowl. What’s a week of constant chicken soup if it means I am going to be able to get into every single thing in my wardrobe again by the weekend? It’s a small sacrifice. Even with the farting. OK. Am definitely going to do this. Nothing will stop me.

It’s 6pm. I am gasping for a glass of chilled Sauvignon. “No Grace”, I reprimand myself “that’s like drinking a glass of sugar.” “Well, that’s fine because I’m only having chicken broth tonight”. “What about that Pecan & Maple Danish you gobbled up at the BP petrol station this morning?” “Well, that’s OK, I’m only having chicken soup tonight.” “Have you forgotten about the chocolate cake?”. “Oh God. OK, I won’t add any noodles to the damned chicken soup.” “Oh Grace, how are you ever going to reduce that muffin top?”. “For goodness sake. Bugger off and leave me alone. You’ve made me so miserable now I’m going to have that glass of wine and wear my smock tomorrow.”

If, like me, you were logging in with Zoe during the pandemic, you might like to read Professor Tim Spector’s ideas on healthier eating. Unlike me, he knows what he’s talking about, so we could all do with at least reading what he has to say.

This could also be worth a read – more info


  1. Grace – i feel for you, as i was a yo-yo dieter for decades, then I was diagnosed with a medical condition which meant no sucrose (I still have ‘ose’ in fructose – but no sugar granules) or processed foods (yes, that means no bread – just rice cakes or oat cakes). The really difficult one was no cow cheese – and limited goat cheese. After a few months my taste buds changed and I no longer looked enviously at cakes and puddings, but would salivate (not literally) at fresh fruit and veg. During the first Lockdown Tricia Cusden had a colleague Leonie Wright do a weekly class on her LFF site for nutritious eating. Basically Leonie cooks everything from ingredients – and it really makes a difference. Wish you success in piling on the ££££s not the avoirdupois.

    • Hi Sarah. I love cheese and bread too, so I can imagine how you feel about those being restricted for your particular regime. I so agree with you about sugar losing its charm if you go without it for a while. Completely agree about cooking from scratch and also love veg – especially as there are so many brilliant veggie recipes to try these days – but unfortunately am still finding it terribly hard to resist a Ferraro Rocher (or five!) Best wishes, Grace

  2. Hi Grace really interested to read your article today. My partner and I have had to address weight as he was told he is pre diabetic then nudging into diabetes fairly recently ( it is linked to fact his father had diabetes apparently) . He was slightly overweight, BMI of 26. My own sugar level is very close to pre diabetic so we have both been eating a low carb diet for a few months – definitely NOT sticking to it 100% but probably 80% of the time. we have both lost weight on it ,he’s lost over a stone, his BMI is now 23.4 and i have lost about 6 pounds and my BMI is about 22.8. Once we got our head round it we’ve found it fairly easy to do at home – I bought a few books on low carb diets to get us going and now have a rough feel for what is lower carb and high carb. We haven’t felt hard done by, i’m sticking to about 100 carbs a day , max 130 and we both feel well and don’t stint . We’ve had to stop cakes which were definitely my down fall but can enjoy a glass of wine or g and t and pistachios or nuts at weekend as our treat. The hardest thing is going out and eating a nice meal, so we go out less often and tend to have what we want when we do. I’m hoping we have done enough for his sugar to have gone down when he tests next but in meantime friends have commented on how much slimmer we both look. Good luck!!

  3. Oh Grace, I think you have been reading my mind! Your description of the weigh in is exactly my own experience and made me laugh. I think I have come to the final conclusion that I really don’t want to sacrifice eating food that I enjoy (and I do try very hard to eat healthily) in order to be thinner. I often think back to when I was 21 and went on the egg and grapefruit diet as I thought I was fat. ( I weighed 7st 5lb!). If I weighed that now (age 64) I would look seriously ill. Overall I need a healthy body and mind and it’s all about keeping everything in balance. By the way have you tried changing the scales from kilos to stones to pounds to see which seems lighter

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Agree totally about what you say about weight. How naive we are when we are young! Will try your kilos to stones idea – anything to knock off a few ounces! Best wishes, Grace

  4. Dear Grace
    Don’t despair why not join the Glucose Revolution…The life changing power of balancing your blood sugar by Jessie Inchauspe book and you can still have your Sauvignon and cake… you just have to eat it all in the right order. I’ve lost 10lbs in as many weeks without even trying too hard!
    Kind regards

  5. Hi Grace, this was a great article….and the way that you wrote it was sooo funny! You have now turned 70…so eat and drink what you really enjoy (just in smaller portions!)….life is too short I say!

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