The Shrinking Blog

Interesting Times


I have a really interesting dilemma going on.

A few days ago I was standing in our local Tesco Express (I’m not proud if it, but it happened…) when I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye.  It was as if I’d seen a sudden movement or a flash of light from the grassy knoll in the distance.  Something had grabbed my attention, but I wasn’t even sure what it was.  I stopped and focused in the general area for a few minutes and eventually my gaze settled on the culprit.  There, in a small section of a very non-descript shelf, in a relatively dark corner of the shop, there sat what I believe could turn out to be the biggest challenge that I’ve faced since I began this journey.

Tesco Value Midget Gems.

Now I’ll be completely honest with you here – I’m not certain that I’ve ever eaten Tesco Value Midget Gems before, but they represent something enormous in my food history, and that’s JELLY SWEETS.  I have no idea why JELLY SWEETS have such a hold on me, but they’ve been a favourite for as long as I can remember.

I have a very strong memory of sitting on the school playing field on a summer’s day at the age of about 11.  A friend was going to the post office to get some sweets and asked if I wanted some.  I wanted some wine gums.  Oh yes!  I loved wine gums.  I asked for half a pound of wine gums, which for me was unheard of at the time – I don’t think I’d ever bought more than a quarter pound of sweets at one time before.  My recollection of parts of that lunchtime are quite incredible.  This was over 30 years ago, and my memory is often appalling, but I can remember so much of that lunchtime that it really fascinates me.  They cost 37p per quarter pound.  74p for the half pound.  They came in a brown paper bag.  I can see and feel the bag now.  The first sweet I had was a black wine gum.  With claret written on it.  An oblong one with crinkly edges.  Not crinkly – they’re smoother than that.  In my head they’re wobbly, but that’s not the right term either.  I can taste that sweet now.  I can remember the feel of the cool breeze on my neck.  The second sweet was an orange one.  Diamond shaped.  Port.

I have no recollection whatsoever of who went to the post office to buy the sweets.  I have no idea who was sitting with us, although I know there were two other people.  I have no idea why I had 74p on me at the time – that would have been quite surprising, as it was quite a lot of cash at the time.  It may have been my birthday.  What I remember is the sweets.  Am I very odd?

Standing in Tescos, I wanted those sweets.  Oddly enough, it was really simple to just say to myself “no you don’t” and leave the shop.  But they left an imprint.

It’s something like four days since the Midget Gem encounter, and they’ve been sitting in the back of my mind ever since.  Taunting me.  A selection of midget gem related thoughts from the last few days:

  • “If you want them that badly, just have them – what harm can they do?”
  • “You must be strong, and never eat that sort of thing again – you know how that movie ends”
  • “If you want them that badly, it must be because there’s something in them that your body needs.  Listen to your body and eat them now!” (I love this one – I’m apparently very tempted by stupid logic 😉 )
  • “Work out the points and eat them in moderation.  Don’t give them the power over you”
  • “Moderation?  You KNOW you can’t do moderation!”

I’m not sure that I’d ever drawn all the strands of this together before, but I can see very clearly now that in a number of weight-loss attempts in the past, they have fallen down at this point.  Not some general, wishy-washy point about temptation, but at this very specific point that from this point forward I shall call THE MIDGET GEM HORIZON!  I’ve gone through exactly this thought process before, and the end result has always been that I eat the JELLY SWEETS and my diet ends.  I know there’s no sense in the diet ending once the JELLY SWEETS have been eaten, but it does.

So what do I do?

I think there’s actually some strong logic in each of the points above (except the “something that your body needs” one of course, although I love the idea that my body might be desperately trying to tell me that it’s short of carnauba wax) and I really have no idea how to approach this.  The safest way to deal with this would seem to be to abstain.  But that feels like I’m challenging the very basis of the WW method, where there are no forbidden foods as long as they’re within your points allowance.  Could that undermine what I’ve achieved so far in the long run?  Or am I just thinking that because deep down I just want to eat them?  Do I want to live my life in fear of small lumps of sugar and gelatine?  Is this just the part of me that wants/expects me to fail trying to take the reins for a while?

Bottom line?

I don’t trust my mind on this, and I have no idea whether I’m trying to sabotage myself or not.

That’s weird.

The Shrinking Man

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