Do you enjoy giving up things?

There's lots of ways of dividing up the world.  Coffee or tea?  The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Cats or Dogs? Soaps or Sci Fi?  And then there are people who get a sense of control over their lives when they give up things, while others just feel the deprivation.  Guess which camp I belong to...

And as it's January everyone seems to be in the middle of giving up things. If they haven't given up giving up of course.  But not me.  But perhaps I should.

It's something I've pondered in recent years as the menopause hit me like an out of control bus and my body began to rebel against decades of questionable nutrition and a few very bad habits.

I gave up smoking easily enough.  I woke one morning feeling terrible and decided on the spot that they had to go.  That was 11 years ago and I haven't smoked one single solitary ciggie since.

I've almost given up meat.  Not for moral or health reasons but because a lump of red meat sits in my stomach for hours like a giant lump of, well, meat.   And then there's the maggot problem with the leftovers that I've written about before.  No, once it's just the two of us here, I think I will only eat meat and fish when we're out and it's someone else's responsibility to clean up...

So I eat a mainly plant-based diet.  That's good, right?  Porridge or home-made muesli for breakfast, something veggie for lunch that I made myself, and probably toast for tea.  Looks very healthy doesn't it?


It is, until you add in the other bits.  The four cups of coffee, the chunks of cheese, maybe a sliver of cake, a few squares of dark chocolate, perhaps a glass of wine, and a handful of cashew nuts  Basically lots and lots of delicious things.  I don't binge eat, but I do love my treats.  They break up the day, and reward me for getting to bedtime without too many disasters.

The current thinking is that you should look at food as fuel.  Logically it makes a lot of sense, but I can't marry that idea with gorgeousness of a huge pile of moules à la crème with crusty bread, or a warm lemon meringue pie with a trickle of cream, or large glass of pink champagne.  Somehow I suspect that they are the wrong kind of fuel.  You can't reduce one of life's greatest pleasures to the status of coal versus oil.  It just doesn't work.

Besides, everything always seems more desirable when it's banned, even when you're not a teenager any more.  So diets of any kind are not for me.  They feel like strait jackets.  But I've huge admiration for anyone who can stick to them. 

I'd fall at the first (domestic) hurdle.  When I feel mentally and emotionally exhausted, chocolate works so much better than a banana.  But you can reward yourself in other ways, I hear you cry!  Well, not always.  If you are supervising children who interrupt you with their demands every five minutes, you can't abandon them to go for a walk, or sit down and read a book.  But you can enjoy a bar of chocolate, one sticky square after another.  Preferably hidden behind the teapot so the kids don't ask for one too.

I eat when I'm sad, I eat when I'm stressed, and eat to celebrate, too.  The only time I don't eat is when starting a new job or some other activity that is novel and busy enough to take my mind off food.  Or drink.  That's the other thing going on right now: Dry January.  Some of my friends have joined in, but the thoughts of promising to pass the wine aisle by for a whole month just seemed too depressing.  I'm having a slightly damp January instead, because I don't really fancy alcohol very much at the moment.  My choice, so it's not deprivation thank goodness.  I'm not losing any weight either as my non-alcoholc tipple of choice is Cherry Lucozade, and you can't get much more unhealthy than that.  But I've no plans to give it up any time soon.  Or anything else that I enjoy.  How about you?



10 comments:

  1. Hehehe... thanks for the link but I wish I could say I am successfully sticking to it 100%! I'm preferring to think of my current 'healthy eating plan' as choosing to chose differently as opposed to giving something up..... howzat for PMA? ;-) xx

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  2. Hooray, I am not the only one who doesn't *give up stuff*. Chocolate is my big downfall and I don't care. In fact, I have just been sitting with Nick... and nibbling on a Quality Street Strawberry Creme. Nom nom nom. Your pictures look very healthy so I am sure that you have a nice balance thing going on.

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    1. Oh I balance myself very carefully whenever pictures are being taken :)

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  3. I love this and the previous post about your blogger meetup - great photo! Anyway, where would I start with giving things up....I have a stash of treats in the kitchen, then a 'secret' stash the the children know about and ask for treats from every so often AND I have a 'fugitive' stash that they know exists but have no idea where it is or what it contains!!

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    1. Love the idea of 3 stashes, I may have to borrow this one :-)

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  4. My dad died young and so did my friend, so my mantra is always '"would I come back to a night of indulgence and wine or to a low fat meal and water". Live I say, and I'll drink to that.
    I knew there was a reason I was drawn to your blog! I think we are kindred spirits

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    1. Live life, you're absolutely right, because you just never know: so sorry that you lost two people you loved so young xx

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  5. I was this close to giving up wine for Lent...but realized St. Patrick's day falls smack in the middle. How can I promise that? I did give up diet coke until Bridget's last hospitalization and then compounded by a week (A WEEK) of snow days. I think living life, to it's fullest, is way more important that giving up.

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    1. In Ireland you're usually allowed a day off a wine fast for St Patrick's Day :) Totally agree about trying to live life to the full, however that works for you x

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