When I look back on 2010 it will not be as one of my more successful years. I’ve lacked motivation and focus in a number of areas. Work has been pretty meh for the most part. I've been even more accident prone than usual - managed to lose the diamond out of my engagement ring after a fall on the ice in January, and chip a front tooth during another fall a few months later (less ice more wine involved on that occasion). A lack of cash has meant an inordinate number of weekends sitting on the sofa drinking cheap wine and, er, complaining about the lack of money (although on the plus side, the new series of Doctor Who was fabulous) and never mind the fact that add up the cost of all those bottles and it probably would have paid for a couple of slap up dinners.
More distressingly, the anxiety issues, which I touched on briefly here, and which I thought were receding in 2009, came back to haunt me. I never wrote on this blog about, for example, the truly excruciating experience of the full blown panic attack in the clinical psychologist’s office because, frankly, I don’t know how many people would be that interested, and this blog is supposed to be food focused. But, where food forms such an intrinsic part of ones life, it is natural that other topics will come creeping in. And it is an indisputable fact that if I could sort out my head once and for all, I would probably not resort to the comfort eating and drinking that tends to be my diet downfall.
What of the “diet”? Or (since I hate that word) rather the “life plan that enables one to shed excess poundage while still eating beautifully cooked, varied and healthful foods”? Between January and April there was steady downwards movement on the scales. Around the time I started this blog, I’d hit a bit of a hump and I never really got past it. I’ve dithered. I am an expert ditherer. I’ve had plenty of ideas to kickstart my interest: detox eating, setting myself date specific challenges, even the act of writing a blog for gawdsake, but the overall results have been desultory. My gym attendance has been sporadic. I’ve gone to meetings to stand upon the WW Scales of Truth and then chickened out again after bad weeks. My current relationship with my bathroom scales has been reduced to me eyeing them mistrustfully every time I go to the loo.
So what has gone wrong with my thinking in 2010 and how can I fix it for 2011? Well, the anxiety issues have not and are not going away – that is the sad fact. I’m currently on a waiting list for something called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which I understand aims to reprogramme thought patterns and achieve better response mechanisms in the subject (which would be me). I’m hoping that talk of my eating habits can feature quite heavily in this, since it is clear to me at the moment that there is a strong link there.
Until such time as I rise to the top of the waiting list (and with the NHS that could well be many months) I’m going to continue to blog and to follow all the lovely blogs that I have come across. I’ve recently been reading just as many food blogs as diet blogs, and I love the way some of those people manage to make all their meals an act of celebration, the sheer joy and exuberance they take in food. One of the things I learned this year that continually being in “diet” mode (yes, that word again…) can suck all the joy out of eating – something that was really brought home to me by the bacon sandwich that may just be one of my best meals of the year. I want to aim to have everything I eat be carefully considered and constitute a real treat – whether it is a juicy satsuma or a really gorgeous cup of proper coffee or a full blown five course extravaganza. There will always be times when something needs to be grabbed on the run, but a little bit of forethought should prevent that from happening too often. Mindfulness and quality over quantity – these are 2011 mantras.
Detox eating may not be sustainable for me for long periods of time (by which I mean anything longer than two days looking back to posts on the subject), but I could certainly consider building some “cleaner” meals into the weekly food plan. Immediately springing to mind - a sharp and punchy fruit smoothie, a really gorgeous tuna steak, seasoned and griddled with some stir fried veg and perhaps a touch of five spice, or a roasted sweet potato with avocado and tomato salsa – fantastic, no sacrifice, and smug-makingly virtuous.
It’s sadly obvious as well that setting myself time or weight related goals doesn’t work either. In fact, they seem to send me running in the opposite direction with my fingers in my ears going “La, la, la.” Of course, I have just over eight months until I get married and I would love to be able to slip into a slinky size 10 gown and ooze elegant sophistication a la Hepburn – rather than blowsy bosoms a la Monroe. But there is no point killing myself over that particular deadline. I’m going to rely on Bridal Magic: which is to say that every bride looks beautiful on their wedding day whether or not they more generally resemble Jabba
And it’s not been all bad. My weight, while it has gone up and down over the course of the year, has not risen significantly overall. Anyone who has had a weight problem in the course of their adult life knows that sometimes just stopping the upwards trend is an important step in the right direction, so I’m going to give myself credit for that – not much, but a little. I’ve also started writing regularly – not just here, but also by starting a creative writing course at York University, finally recognising that a creative outlet is a healthy thing for me. I want to continue to develop my writing in 2011 – not necessarily with a view to doing anything with it, but just because it is something I love to do.
Ooooh, and I tried bone marrow for the first time in September. No year where you've managed to have a completely new food experience can have been entirely without merit.
Happy New Year everyone - let's make it a good one.