Saturday, February 04, 2006

Reformed pie eater, will chug for salad

If there's one way to make yourself feel thin and healthy it's surrounding yourself with 19,000 or so Bradfordians. Not for nothing were they named the fattest city in the UK earlier this week. There was plenty of lard last night in Huddersfield.

My rugby antics have certainly had an effect on my weight over the years. I remember the days when the bar I go in at Wigan home games used to have free pies after the game. I liked pies. A lot. Not for nothing are Wiganers known as pie eaters... (That's what the P start of my user name stands for, by way of illustration) So I'd get there and buy a pie because I was hungry. Then after the game there were free pies so whether I was hungry or not I'd eat another. Or maybe two more. Because Wigan pies were comfort food, something that gave me a sense of belonging and reminded me of half terms spent with my grandparents when I was a child, and reminded me of matches at Central Park, our old ground, and reminded me of trophies won. Plus I liked pies. Meat and potato. Food of the gods. A slightly lower standard of gods than the chocolate gods, but gods all the same.

Even last year when I finally sorted out my eating as well as my fitness, pies were most definitely on the menu. They were no longer free, but still a regular part of my diet. Actually, they weren't that bad, as instead of a full meal (or multiple pies) I'd just have the one and that would do me. So even though it may lack certain nutrients, calorifically it wasn't too bad. It's not like I had pie and chips or a Wigan kebab (three pies on a stick, as the old joke goes*). The pie and a pint were part of the pre-match ritual, and non-negotiable.

The sorry truth is that there isn't really anything on offer that's much healthier than a pie anyway. I've not got detailed nutritional information to compare burgers and hot dogs and pies and chips and bacon sandwiches, but they all really fall within the single category. CRAP. It's not like there's a juice stand or a salad bar to go to, it's takeaway rubbish or nothing. Did I need any more excuse than that to keep eating it?

I often wonder about the mentality that says people go to watch sport and want to eat rubbish while they're there, as though by the act of watching sport, the calories get burned off miraculously by the team of their choice. You can sit there on your fat arse stuffing burgers into your face, but as long as you're watching something healthy it's not so bad. Because watching sport is so close to doing it yourself. Obviously.

I'm changing though. Over the two months since I last watched a match I've not touched a pie (actually, I hadn't for a while before that at the last few matches of last year). I've not found myself looking forward to the start of the season for my first pie of the year, I'd even forgotten that ritual Friday night pie consumption used to be one of the highlights of the week.

Last night I ended up going to a game I hadn't been planning to go to until yesterday. The charity bloke I've been talking about over the past week or so may be a bit of an arsehole at times but he can get you into big games on a ticket for chugging basis, and I fancied going to the game as long as I could get in for free, so I decided to give it a go. There were a couple of people I wanted to meet up with going anyway, and you can't beat a free ticket really. But that threw my carefully planned menu for the week out of the window.

They sell pies at Huddersfield. They're not bad ones either, from memory. And they didn't harm my weight loss particularly. But I didn't fancy one. I wanted something with nutrients and vegetables and goodness.

So after an hour and a half of bucket rattling (wearing a t-shirt which confirmed my shrinkage. There were days when I wouldn't have volunteered for fear they wouldn't have a t-shirt to fit. Yesterday I was wearing a t-shirt, a jumper and a jacket. I then put a t-shirt on over it, and it was baggy. The t-shirt was large (the smallest they'd brought, assuming people would be wearing clothes under). I used to wear at least extra large without anything underneath. And it was tight) I got into the game and sat down to eat.

Which explains why, as everyone around me tucked into pies and burgers and hot dogs and downed pints I got a tuna**, spinach and bean M&S salad out of my bag and tucked in. And some grapes. And some sparkling water. I may be back at the rugby, but I'm not going back to Fatsville. A pie eater who doesn't eat pies. Whatever next?

*There are many Wigan pie jokes. For example, how do you know when a Wigan girl has an orgasm? She drops her pie.

**I don't mind this salad, so I'm trying to eat it every couple of weeks or so to get me used to tuna before taking the next step on the great fish discovery of 2006 plan.


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