Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Starting. I have very recently read the most wonderful book by Tamer Adler – An Everlasting Meal. It is so much more than a recipe book, it is almost a recipe for a whole philosophy around cooking and eating. One of the key ideas in it is that life is so much easier when you don’t have to start from scratch. If you come home from work and have no idea what to cook, the thought of it can just be overwhelming. But if you have some prepared vegetables in the fridge – perhaps some roasted butternut squash, for example – you are never starting from the absolute beginning, so it is easier. And so it is here. I am starting over. Starting again. On one hand you could look at my previous attempts to permanently adopt a more healthy way of life as failed, as I haven’t kept them up. But on the other hand, I have learnt lessons every time, and will bring those with me now. There is that old story about Thomas Edison, saying that he had not failed 1,000 times at inventing the lightbulb – he had just found 1,000 ways not to do it. There is a line from a song I love that goes ‘Our dreams have travelled far, what we have been is what we are, all that we learn this time, is carried beyond this life..’ and so it is. You live, you learn. I have a very strong perfectionist streak in me that can be useful, but it can be really challenging at times, too. The perfectionist streak in me wants to wait until I have completely understood my own thoughts about exactly what my goals are and the details of my plan for getting there. But the realist in me says that if you wait for the perfect time for anything, it might never come. It is surely better to be making progress of any kind, rather than waiting, paralyzed, for the perfect opportunity. Clearly, that this blog is 3 years old shows that I have been thinking about this for a long time. Most recently, I have been thinking about it all for at least 6 months. I am maybe half a stone lighter now than I was then…but I can’t help but wonder, if I had just started, however small, and built upon it, where would I be now? Because although one of my goals is to lose some weight, I guess my overall goal really, is to be living healthily – because if you succeed at that, all the other things will follow in its wake. How many healthy changes would I have adopted into my life by now, that would already be second nature? And even more scary, if I had kept up with this when I started this blog three years ago, would I be living my best life, having achieved my goals already? One thing is absolutely certain, I don’t want to be coming back here in three years’ time, thinking the same things again. Instead, I want to be writing from a place of success and achievement, and although I think it will always be a journey, and there will always be more to learn, I want to be putting the icing on the cake, rather than still trying to get the ingredients for my cake together! And so at last, I come to this morning. Ideally I would have all my thoughts about health and nutrition mapped out, a menu plan in hand for the week, the shopping done, exercise appointments in my diary. But I don’t. But I have still started. I woke up this morning, and resolved to be kind to myself. To strive for progress rather than perfection. And to put into practise some advice about trying to make a new habit: start with the smallest goal possible. For example, to exercise 2 minutes a day. You do that several times, then you start to build on it. If possible, you link it to a trigger – so you might have your morning glass of water, do you 2 minutes, then have your shower. That way you build it into your day, and build it up until you reach your ultimate goal, say exercising 30 minutes each week day. Having sat in bed for a few moments, resolving to be kind to myself, to make progress, do the best I can, I got up and drank a cup of warm water with lemon juice in it. There is a good article on why this is a good idea, here: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4769/Why-You-Should-Drink-Warm-Water-Lemon.html I have a small glass cup with pretty flowers on it that I bought from Ikea for 69p last year, with the intention of making it my lemon water cup. It was quick and easy to do, and it felt good knowing that I had already done something positive for myself, just in the first five minutes of the day. I followed it with a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder mixed into some orange juice, in the same cup. Now I don’t think any potion or pill or food on its own can work miracles. You can’t have one drink of wheatgrass and expect it to somehow negate a whole day or week or lifetime of eating poorly. It doesn’t work like that. But I have been really inspired reading alsfoodandfitness.com and noticed how she experiments with foods and supplements to see what she can adopt into her routines to support her health and wellbeing. Wheatgrass has a great reputation in terms of benefits, but a bad reputation in terms of flavour, hence mixing it with orange juice. It turns the orange juice deep, deep green, and has a pronounced grassy flavour and almost savoury aftertaste. I have been having it for just under a week now, and I mind the flavour less. Again, it makes me feel good that the first two things I have put into my system are good for it and will support me in my healthy quest. I will report back on how I get on with it. The only minor thing is that it is good for so many things, and I am making so many changes right now, it might be hard to pinpoint exactly what I can attribute to the wheatgrass! For breakfast this morning I made ‘Miracle Breakfast Cream’ from French Women Don’t Get Fat. I find it really delicious and filling, and ticks the box of ‘good for you’ so it was a nice choice for my first day. It is essentially yoghurt (full of calcium and protein and good bacteria) mixed with some lemon juice and honey, a teaspoon of flax oil (full of omega 3s) with ground up walnuts and half a shredded wheat also ground up stirred in. Much tastier than it sounds! I sometimes add some raspberries or similar but didn’t have any on hand today. As I had had a some orange juice with my wheatgrass, I decided that could count as my portion of fruit – one of my mini-goals is to always eat some fruit or vegetables with each meal. I think I need another post about my mini-goals – this post has gone on long enough, I think. I hope very much that my posts get shorter with time. I have to confess, this is a selfish blog, I am writing it for me. It is always lovely to know that people read my writing, and if anyone was to read this and feel similarly inspired to make positive changes in their life, that would be the best feeling ever. But for now, it is for me. I need to work out my thoughts and feelings. As I work my way through those, I hope to develop my blogging here into lots of lovely recipes, quick progress updates, top tips, and general loveliness – and much shorter, and less selfish in the writing. But this is doing me so much good. Finally getting my thoughts out of my head and onto the page. Finally getting started, at last!