I got to talk about some of the fun things I did on the cruise I took recently, but one thing that didn’t even scrape the tip of the iceberg (is it distasteful to use that word in the same sentence as “cruise?”) was the food. Sea Day Brunches could have kept me coming back every day, if only they were offered more often. You could get a burger from Guy Fieri and some of the best fries of your life by the pool at any time. Then there was tea time, with delicate sandwiches and cakes and cream and sugar. Not to mention midnight pizza in the hot tub.


So I knew getting off the boat that the real work was about to begin. I had a ton of things to catch up on at my actual job for one thing, but I also knew some of my lifestyle habits would very soon be changing to make up for this indulgence.


I’ve started a cleanse, which for me is actually just a safe word for a diet. I use that word because I feel like most people look at me and proceed to tell me that I don’t need to go on a diet, and then I’m not really sure how to respond to that, because, whether they think I need to or not, I’m on one. And that’s that.


The “cleanse” is a six week program that focuses on eating frequently throughout the day, but is very strict about what foods you can and can’t have. Oh and you have to drink a lot of water — 100 ounces every day, to be exact.


Four weeks in and a difference has been noticed. I got to go shopping for myself in a size smaller than before. I’ve still got two weeks to go and although I could happily stop where I am, I’m going to keep going just to see what happens and help instill healthy habits.


One thing I’ve done for myself though, that could perhaps be described as masochism, is develop an addiction for “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix. In this show, 13 of Britain’s best amateur bakers are assembled into a tent in the European countryside and bake for two strict judges amid the antics of the show’s two hosts and the camaraderie they build with each other. The charm itself would keep me coming back, but then you see the food.


Good grief, the food.


Delicacies I could have never dreamed up in a million nights at a million tables are paraded before the judges each week in three rounds. It’s almost impossible to describe the ingenuity or the novelty of these creations. There are Swiss rolls, Victoria sponges, windtortes and French desserts I couldn’t pronounce, much less spell. But they all have one thing in common — they look delicious.


Under normal conditions I would find myself sitting in my living room salivating in front of my TV while watching. But, as luck would have it, Netflix released two new seasons at about the same time I started this cleanse. Needless to say, these past four weeks have been brutal. Shortbread is a particular weakness of mine, and when several bakers used a shortbread base in their creations during the Showstopper round, it was almost more than I could bear. I was tempted to rush straight to the nearest store and find myself some delicious shortbread.


My boyfriend suffers from the same affliction I do, but he can do something about it. I’m not particularly tempted by creme brulee or custard, but he is. One week when the bakers had to create their best sweet desserts, a slew of creme brulees were put forward, and that did it for him. We paused the show immediately and rushed to three different stores at 10:30 at night looking for creme brulee. We weren’t successful, but we found rice pudding, which was enough to tide him over while we finally finished the episode. He, with his rice pudding, and me with exactly half a cup of strawberries.


In addition to late-night adventures, the show provides plenty of inspiration. It certainly is giving me something to look forward to as I wrap up this challenge of mine and finish strong — I hope.


Miranda Wilcox is the managing editor of the Anna-Melissa Tribune, the Prosper Press and the Van Alstyne Leader. Email her at mwilcox@amtrib.com.