Marisa Mackle: ’Tis the season to try not to gorge oneself

Marisa Mackle

I'M WATCHING my weight at the moment. Yes, it's coming up to Christmas and I want to fit into a sexy little party dress that I bought a few years ago.

I'm terrified that by the time I fit into it, it'll have gone completely out of fashion. So as I said, I'm watching the weight carefully. I'd rather watch a good film any day though because watching weight is so dreary.

They say that if you're serious about losing weight you should write down everything you eat. I tried that the other day but then I ran out of paper. Anyway, it seemed like an awful effort. When somebody on a train casually offers you a Malteser, you have to whip out your notebook and write down Malteser (x1) before you forget. And then you have to try to work out the calories of a single Malteser with your pocket calculator. It kind of takes away the spontaneity.

Watching weight can make you dreadfully irritable, because once you're on a diet all you can think about is food. You resent other people being able to enjoy their grub. You envy people who drink real cola instead of the diet version. I'd love to be able to order a Jack Daniels and Coke instead of saying, 'now, make sure it's DIET!' Honest to goodness, it's hilarious when you see other people doing this. When I worked in a bar, most female customers would insist on the diet drinks with their whiskey or vodka or whatever. I felt like saying to them, 'listen lady, if you want to lose weight, order water'.

The other morning, myself and the little fellow went to the Tefal Greaseless Spoon café. I was enticed in by the promise of a full hearty Irish breakfast without the usual fat. And I went a bit mad, ordering everything, even greaseless chips! Now, of course, I know if I was serious about losing weight I would have had a black coffee, a grilled tomato and mushroom, and sat there with a scowl.

The brekkie went well. Luckily, nobody noticed my date eating his sausages with his hands. Nor did they notice him wipe his hands on Mummy's skirt straight afterwards. And if anybody noticed him flinging a half-eaten chip onto somebody else's table, they were too polite to comment. It's amazing what you can get away with when you're knee-high!

Actually, even though Gary is very cute and everything, I blame him for me not being skinny. Like, the other day we were in the supermarket and we spotted some selection boxes. Now a couple of years ago, pre-baby, I wouldn't have dreamed of putting a selection box in the trolley. I mean, a single, manless woman in her 30s would not seriously be contemplating eating a selection box all by herself, would she? But now I have Gary as an excuse to fill my trolley with anything from Kinder eggs to Jelly Tots.

"Would you like a selection box, son?" I said in a very loud voice just in case anyone passing by would think I was a greedy glut. "Oh look! There's a nice picture at the back for you to colour in. What fun!"

The selection box went into the trolley and that evening, in front of the fire, I opened it. Gary and I shared the selection box, which really means that he had one item and I had the other six.

Mind you, the thought of writing all those items in a notebook afterwards took most of the pleasure out of my feast. Still, when I was skinny, it would have read: Calories: 292. Cigarettes: 20. Misery: 100pc.