May 9, 2014
It’s that time of year again. It’s my guilty pleasure. It is non-negotiable and woe betide anyone who spoils my plans…
I have to confess… I am a HUGE fan of the Eurovision Song Contest.
It all started at the tender age of nine. Mum and Dad allowed me and Twin to stay up late to watch it because we both loved “Save Your Kisses for Me”. The UK won and it was the start of a minor obsession which would mean that from that year to this I have never missed a contest. This has meant I have viewed the “ESC” from a luxury penthouse apartment in Monte Carlo; a run-down farm in the centre of France (whilst on a school trip); various tents and caravans around Europe; and even from a hotel room in Scotland when Twin and I were booked as a singing act. The club were far more interested in the bingo so we managed to do slot one before the songs started and slot two was during the voting. I think it was at this point that family and friends realised that my interest in the annual European SongFest wasn’t entirely normal but it was harmless pleasure so we never sang again on “Eurovision Saturday” and those close to me knew that it was the one day of the year that my plans wouldn’t change.
It was when Twin and I moved out of the family home and into a place of our own that I really started to develop my own Eurovision traditions. I made it my mission to get others to enjoy the Contest as much as I did, so I started to hold my “Eurovision Gathering” with fancy dress optional and a European menu on offer (You have to remember that this was the mid-eighties when tastes weren’t quite so cosmopolitan and international ready-meals weren’t widely available (let’s be honest, even the microwave was a luxury that few households could afford). Back then the Contest was a much more streamlined affair with just 19 countries taking part (there are 37 countries this year spread over more than six hours of television…) and the menu was equally streamlined but I was quietly proud of my spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread, German beer and several bottles of Matteus wine from a small but expensive city-centre off-licence.
Times and tastes (in terms of music and food and drink) have changed since then but I still find myself getting ridiculously excited when the contest is looming.
(At this point I have to add that I am not one of those people who feels the need to eat or drink when at the cinema. Popcorn and an extra-large diet coke (which seems to contain more ice than cola) do not form any part of my cinema experience. If anything I get annoyed by the rustling of packets and the slurping of cold drinks whilst I’m trying to follow the film… But when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest… I have traditions which are now set in stone and repeated on an annual basis).
Nowadays my choice of food is considerably wider than home-made spaghetti bolognaise. In the past few years I have offered everything from kebabs, goulash or paella through to fish and chips. The liquid accompaniment can be anything from freshly squeezed orange juice (from Spanish Naval oranges) to a crisp Italian rose… And there is always a bottle of French champagne just in case the UK manages to beat the politically-charged tactical voting and actually win the contest… (regrettably this has been opened simply for commiseration since the last time we were first past the post in 1997).
When I announced my 2014 ESC-Fest-Feast there was some surprise that I was still planning to provide food and drink given that I “was on a diet”. But that’s the beauty of the WLR system. I am not “on a diet”. I am on a mission to pay more attention to my eating and drinking habits. I am making a commitment to “move more” every day and the net gain (or should that be ‘reduction’) is that my waistline is getting smaller (and so is the number on the labels in my clothes).
I have always held my Eurovision evenings. Even during those times when no-one was able to join me, or when Lovely Husband was working away and I was sat in front of the television on my own, I still had a glass of something alcoholic in one hand and a garlic baguette in the other. Every year the “main course” would change but for me the garlic bread was a constant. I love it. I very rarely have it now but it has become part-and-parcel of my “Eurovision ritual”.
The great thing about WLR is that I know that I am going to have an indulgent Saturday. It is a given not just this year but (hopefully) for many years thereafter.I will enjoy my hearty slice of pizza and my essential treat of garlic bread (in fact - if I’m feeling really decadent I’ve been known to push the boat out with garlic-bread-AND-cheese option). But it is perfectly permissible. I have spent the last few days reining in my calorie count. I have cut back over the course of this week so that when Saturday evening arrives I can settle down with my score sheet, my tall glass of (Danish) lager-and-lime and my garlic bread knowing that it is all logged and accounted for. I have even made sure that I have sufficient calories left across the week so thin order to raise my glass of champagne for a celebratory toast, or (more likely) in commiseration of another year where the UK didn’t quite make it.
The Eurovision Song Contest shows no sign of becoming a thing of the past. It is an annual event and one that I look forward to. My WLR habits mean that I am able to enjoy it and the treats that I associate with it… without feeling like I have “cheated” or “let myself down”.
My weight loss journey is something that will be part of my life for the rest of my life. It isn’t “being on a diet”… it is “making changes that make a difference”, changes that will become habits for life, meaning that I can still eat and drink the things I love, I can still have my treats because life without the occasional treat would be unthinkable… there would be absolutely no point… (or should that be “null point”?)
Have a wonderful weekend,
With a Hug
See What's in Your Favourite Food
Our website has all of the calorie information for a whole range of Euro foods. Try it free and see how many calories in your garlic bread.