I was working away in Cardiff earlier this week, and stopped at a garage on the way down there to buy some lunch. This wasn’t the brightest idea, and in reality I should have eaten before I left, where it would have been much easier to make sensible choices, but I’d listened to the voice that said I really had to leave right then. The fact that the garage that I stopped at was only about twenty minutes from my home just shows how daft that idea was anyway. You know what? I think I need to give the voice in my head a name. This is real spur of the moment stuff, but I think it would help to explain some of what goes in inside my head, and might also help to minimise its impact by externalising it. Or something like that…
So what can it be called? It needs to be a name that isn’t powerful in any way shape or form, but that makes some sort of sense. Or perhaps it should just be something that makes me laugh. Or something that’s just odd. For some obscure reason I seem to have the name Sebastian in my head. Is this the sign of some sort of breakdown? Would a Doctor consider me to be slightly twisted if I start to refer to the narrative voice in my head as Sebastian? Well I guess there’s only one way to find out…
So, Sebastian (That’s my inner voice for those of you who weren’t paying attention in the previous paragraph – I’m really not sure if this is going to work…) had told me that I should get my lunch at a garage rather than at home, so I did as I was bid. I spent a while looking at the sandwiches, and chose a Tuna and Cucumber sandwich as being one that I expected to be both low in WW points, and also relatively pleasant. I’d decided that I also wanted to buy a packet of crisps. To be more specific, I’d decided that I also wanted to buy a packet of Salt and Vinegar Discos. Now this might seem strange, and I’m not sure that I really understand this all that well at the moment, but I think that Sebastian had decided that I was going to have those Salt and Vinegar Discos. I’ve bought those same crisps from that same garage on many occasions in the past, and while I don’t recall any conscious decision that I was going to do the same again, I have a feeling that Sebastian has more of an influence over me than I would care to admit.
Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with having a packet of crisps per se. One of the cornerstones of the Weight Watchers program is that you can eat pretty much what you want, but you have to do it within a certain points limit. That means that if you choose something that’s got a lot of points, then you’ll probably have to cut back on something somewhere else as a result. Pretty sensible really.
The problem here was the way that I rationalised to myself that I was going to have that particular packet of Salt and Vinegar Discos. It went something like this. First of all, I knew that there were some sorts of crisps that were particularly low in points, and that were ideal for anyone on a Weight Watchers eating plan. The ones that I had in mind were Walkers French Fries, which come in at about 1.5 WW points per packet. That fits comfortably within my allocated points budget, which at the moment is 31 per day. Now there is nothing to connect Walkers French Fries and Salt and Vinegar Discos in any way shape or form, except that they are both crisps that are very loosely connected to a potato. Bearing in mind that most crisps are at least double the 1.5 points of French Fries, it’s certainly not sensible to conclude that the Salt and Vinegar Discos would also be low in points. But I did.
Where this gets really odd is that the packet of Salt and Vinegar Discos was more than double the size of a standard bag of crisps. More than double the size of the 1.5 point bag of French Fries that I was incorrectly comparing it to. So there were two real errors of judgement screaming out at me to take notice of them – first of all, that there was nothing to suggest that my chosen crisps would be as low in points as another unconnected type of snack, and secondly, that the pack size was double the size of a standard pack.
To my credit, when I reached the hotel, I calculated the points properly and added them all to my daily planner. The total amount for the bag of crisps? Six points. Four times the amount that I’d used in my head to convince myself (or should that be that Sebastian had used?) to eat them. Now just to reiterate – there’s nothing wrong with eating a six point bag of crisps. There’s just something of a problem when the thought process that you use to decide that you’re going to eat them is blatantly flawed.
Does this mean anything? Not the faintest idea. Will it help me in the future? It might actually, as it’s going to make me just that little bit more aware of what I’m thinking, and why I might be thinking it. And it certainly makes me very dubious of Sebastian.
More Shrinking Soon
The Shrinking Man