If I didn’t know better I’d think that some special annual event was causing people to panic buy Prosecco, cheese and sprouts.
This morning when I arrived (ten minutes early) outside Aldi it seemed like I wasn’t the only person with a plan to get the jump on the rest of the world.
The queue for the trollies stretched waaaaay out into the rear of the car park far behind me.
When I finally managed to get inside the shop it seemed that grabbing everything before everyone else reached for it was the only order of the day.
I’ve never felt or seen so many elbows in between me and broccoli or plums.
For some reason people forget all manners at this time of year – but I refuse to participate in this sort of behaviour.
If someone manages to get the last bag of sprouts before me then frankly they are welcome to them.
There are plenty more sprouts in the world and I’m in no danger of dying without them.
When I finally arrived (mildly battle scarred) at the checkout, my favourite till lady was thankfully there to greet me.
When I used to work on a till years ago people regularly came back to me because I smiled and talked to them – and she’s no different.
I always look forward to chatting with her for five minutes at the end of my shop.
Today a she was wearing a bright red festive jumper that was covered in polar bears.
I took a moment to complement her on its rather fetching colour and pattern while I unfolded and prepared my carriers.
‘My son.’ She said, motioning to her jumper in clipped English while watching me unzip my freezer bag at the front of my trolly.
‘He doesn’t want and I say no waste.’
She smiled at me and wagged her finger from side to side to emphasise that waste was naughty.
I like her.
She’s thrifty and always takes time to admire my bargain hunting.
Red labels in Aldi mean half price items and the more I accumulate the more she verbally pats me on the head.
It’s a little addictive.
As usual she glanced to her right and made a quick evaluation of (and comment on) my shopping.
There weren’t many red labels today. The locust horde had descended before me and I was left mostly empty handed.
‘No Christmas food?!’ She said, avoiding the obvious absence of penny pinching.
‘Where’s your turkey and wine and chocolate and cake?‘
She looked almost crestfallen. ‘No treats?’ She finally asked.
‘I have treats.’ I replied, smiling.
She looked up and down again, failing to identify the root of my excess before shrugging and staring at me rather blankly.
‘I’ve got two extra tubs of cottage cheese…‘ I said.
‘It is Christmas after all!‘
I was still thinking about her as I unpacked my shopping at home.
Some people make a crappy task bearable – and she’s one of many over the last few days and weeks that have continually made me smile and feel a little warmer inside.
I can’t help being a creature of habit.
I know we’ll cheer eachother up when we talk so I always gravitate toward her and every week the result is the same.
I also know what outcome my shopping will have with regard to my waistline too and because of that I generally buy the same things every week.
Although I love variety in other areas of my life I am definitely quite rigid in areas that I’ve previously lacked self control.
In some ways it’s fear of what will happen if I deviate – but in others it’s liberating.
What some may see as not being able to let my hair down I see as freedom. I’ve found a way that works, that takes away all the worry of wondering what will happen if I eat x or y and that to me is supremely empowering.
This mild inflexibility (previously something that was harmful when I couldn’t stop drinking or eating pizza) now functions as a strength rather than a weakness.
Others may disagree but I consider this fridge door to epitomise decadence.
I couldn’t touch any of it this morning though.
At least not until I’d weighed in – because until then my policy is ‘nil by mouth‘.
When I arrived at group there was a pleasantly familiar hubub of adults and children.
I can scarcely believe that it’s been four weeks since I last stood on the scales at Slimming World.
It’s been an interesting period for me to be away from both the support of the group and the regular structure of weekly check ins.
My private life has seen more than its fair share of both ups AND downs over the last four weeks.
I’ve encountered an unusual rollercoaster of moments where I’ve over eaten emotionally and then been in such a fantastic frame of mind that I managed to forget food even existed.
In the middle of all this my recent addiction to swimming has remained a constant. At times that’s meant continual hunger – which is something that’s been a difficult thing to deal with.
I may burn a lot more calories than I used to per day by engaging in this activity – but it’s all too easy to then tuck in afterwards and offset any net gains with too many tasty treats.
At times over the last month I’ve gone up in weight – but then shortly afterwards I’ve also gone down.
It’s all part of the continual journey I’m on – and each day is still an education.
One thing that’s kept me motivated is the SW bauble that gets handed out in group every year.
I got this (but never mentioned it at the time) and filled it in a couple of months ago.
After writing their wishes on them some members hang these on their Christmas trees, while others prefer to attach them to fridge doors or kitchen cabinets.
They’re a useful little reminder of why you’re denying yourself and what the end goal is. While they don’t always work they manage to make the difference just enough to be worthwhile.
Mine has been near the kettle next to the coffee – which is the place where I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen.
It’s definitely helped – because after a month on my own, out in the wild with no support for a month I’ve only put on half a pound.
This means that I’m still under my target – and today I was also wearing heavier clothes than last time – so I’m very happy indeed with the result.
It was also a pretty surreal meeting – because at the end several of the lovely ladies in group asked me to sign their Slimming World Magazines!
This month I’m actually gracing the pages of this publication – and I feel a real sense of pride when I think that people just like me will read it and that it might help them on their own journeys.
If you’re not a member and you want a copy then you can find it in supermarkets and newsagents – so go and grab one!
It’s got a calendar too!
In other news I’ve once again been reminded of the power of friendship – and that whenever I feel alone or besieged by events there is a hard core of people that I’m close to who know me and care about me.
One of them is pretty handy with a sewing machine – and she surprised me yesterday with a home made remote control pocket for my Ikea Poang armchair.
She had adapted the pattern from something I knew that she’d been working on already.
When we’d chosen materials together for that particular project she had clearly made a mental note (unbeknownst to me) that I was quite taken with a particular fabric I saw and headed back later to secure some of it.
Honestly things like this put a real lump in my throat.
Not only does it show how well someone knows you – but the fact that they take the time and effort to make something unique and specific to you (even going to Ikea to measure it up and try it on another chair to be sure!) means this is never leaving my side – and that’s not just because it’s now physically velcro’d to my armchair!
So – it’s so far been a good day internet.
Shopping done, stress avoided, weight in range, autographs given (!) and Poang pocket loved.
It’s time for coffee.
It would be rude not to.