Lazy Runner Viewpoint


Not Fat free … Free Fat

Just last week in Melbourne I stayed at a hotel in Swanston street and I was very disappointed when I got to my room to see something missing, my free little pack of cookies to have with my cup of tea. Now I don’t know if it is a trend  but this is the third hotel I have stayed  in recently that hasn’t provided the free cookies!

I looked around ...yes, free coffee, tea sugar, little milk pots in fridge but  no cookies, oh for sure you can buy nuts, tim tams or chips from the mini bar (as if??) but no cookies for free.

Now I’m not saying I only go away for the cookies but it’s a tradition for me, to arrive, throw my gear on the bed, put on the kettle and sit back and enjoy my free cookies. You are probably thinking those cookies are always crap anyway, and you are mostly right. In some instances they are stale, broken, and in once case the wrapping was so stuck to the cookies and I ended up eating the cookie off the plastic, but still...they are free and it doesn’t matter how bad they are , they are good...if that makes sense!

My mum instilled in me ‘Free Food’ mentality and I’m afraid it is hard to shake. She of course did it because she grew in the Depression and her family were very poor, she ended up raising 5 children on her own, so money was tight and I remember the highlight of our week was when the wonderful St Vincent de Paul dropped our food package, sure it was full of packets of dried peas, cans of baked beans and dog food (would have been great if we had a dog), but as my mum used to say beggars cant be chosers!

When I went was a child we had the free school milk program. You know they would bring in the crates of little jingling bottles, at about 9am, leave them sitting in the sun for two hours until playtime and then expect all the kids to enjoy the creamy, warm, full cream liquid in them. 

I hated the school milk; I gagged each time I took the little silver top off. Some kids didn’t have to have the school milk, some nonsense about being allergic to milk, so I tried that on my mother. All she had to do was write a note to the school and get me off the school milk list, but she was mortified, ‘It’s free’, she told me ‘you never refuse anything given for free, especially if its from the government, you will drink it and what’s more you will bloody well enjoy it’, (the last part of this sentence my mother added as a footnote to everything her kids every complained about …, church, school, housework a clip over the earhole etc) well I did do the first bit for 7 years of primary school, but I sure as hell didn’t participate in the second bit!

However, I think poor old mum had a good money saving point, as since primary school I have never drank plain milk and only have it in my flat whites, so there you go, think of all the money I have saved over the years form learning to hate milk so early on in life!

But old habits never die and to this day, if I can get a free bite of food, or a sample of something, to the ultimate in freebies the free coffee, it makes my day.

I live and die by the shop a dockets; at the moment Noosa are offering a free main meal if you by an entrée and a main at Thai restaurant, I have about 8 of them piled up on the bench at home, I have used two, my daughters are now saying ‘ We are not going back there again are we?’, to which I reply ‘yes 2 down and 6 to go, and we only have 10 days left of the offer so we better get a wriggle on’

I also have learnt to latch onto the free nibbles that go in Supermarkets now, I have chowed down on cereal, muesli bars, all types of new beverages, even kebabs and rice. One day in Woollies I was so full, I wondered if I should just ditch the trolley and go home, go back later and see what was on the menu for dinner. 

And don’t get me started on wine tasting, at the last Noosa food and wine festival, I estimated each wine sample was 25ml and I was out to break a record, not sure if I did but let me tell you I was glad I rode my push bike as there was no way I was fit to get behind the wheel!

I met David 5 years ago and it was obvious he was brought up under very different economic conditions than I. After only a week of knowing him, I saw he was about to screw up a docket and toss it out, I said ‘wait on a minute what is on the back?’, I then found out that he never knew there was anything on the back of dockets, never looked at them, he was oblivious to all the deals and bargains he had missed over the years. Now of course I have him hooked as well, just last week he suggested I stay  longer in Melbourne because if you used the airport car parking for four nights you got one free; yeah why not stay an extra two nights away to get one night free parking!! Some deals do not work as well as others.

Now he has gone one step further, because he is an IT head, he has been sucked into all the online deals that Spreets, Living Social and are offering. He tells me we have to be in Brisbane all week as he has prebought an Indian feast and half price dinners in two restaurants, but they have to be used this week!

I tend to go for the food deals. But that leads me to wonder, just how much extra I am eating, just because I got it for free. Personally I think all free food should be calorie free, I mean you are not paying for it with your wallet so why should your hips suffer.

When I was doing the January challenge at the start of this year with 25 other Lazy Runners and we had to say what our food weaknesses were, I omitted to say mine was food deals. If I go to order a main and I see you can get a half price entrée, I’m in…even if I don’t feel like an entrée or even like the entrees. Back to my mothers great pearls of wisdom; if there was something on the menu for free or half price, she would just say order it, we would say, but we don’t want that, but she would always say ‘Don’t worry someone will eat it’ unfortunately more often than not I was ‘someone’

A lot of us try to watch what we eat and eat healthy, but as I have outlined above there are plenty of temptations out there and it’s easy to fall prey to them. Even if you are strictly on a no sugar rule with your diet it is very hard to pass up a free chocolate offered to you by a very friendly, smiling lady and then maybe just one more of a different flavour, or what the hell might as well by the block as she was so nice, and oh of course 2 blocks for the price of one, well that’s just silly not to take that offer…I mean someone will eat it!

More is cheaper in our society, buy one get one free is rampant, the bigger size is as cheap as the small size…and where does all the free, bigger stuff end up...inside us.

I’ve decided to make a rule for myself (and you can try this too), no free food, no two for ones, no upsizing for a month, and see what that does for our weight and health…it will be hard ...but I will bloody well just have to enjoy it!




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