Sunday, 30 December 2012

# 137 Gluttony

And so the annual festive gluttony comes to an end. We're all rolling around from too many mince pies and turkey and promising ourselves never to do it again (until next week anyway) and even more of us have made a new year resolution to get fitter, healthier and cut down on the food and booze.

No doubt Weight Watchers will be inundated with its usual new year numbers who, a couple of months later, will be conspicuous by their absence at meetings. The same goes for gym memberships. By March, the good intentions have worn off.

Will Self wrote an article for BBC News this week on just such a subject. Food is good, of that there is no doubt but it can get terribly out of hand and we do as a nation eat in unnecessarily huge amounts and waste food at a shocking rate. I am disturbed at how food orientated we all are now. Even a visit to a shopping centre will see customers stopping for coffee and cake breaks. What, you couldn't manage two hours of shopping without a snack?

Living on a tight budget has given me a much greater respect for food. Nothing is ever wasted. If too much is cooked, it'll probably be served up the next day and I have learnt to curb my shopping habits and stick to my modest list, bake my own and keep things simple.

It's been several years now since I instilled this way of eating. I've noticed a huge natural decline in my appetite. So much so that when I go home for visits I struggle to manage on the quantity and more often the range of food presented to me. In restaurants 'all you can eat' buffets are wasted on me these days.  And I struggle to process a lot of the convenience foods and preservatives slipped into precooked products.

Resolutions are great, but they tend to be short lived. The key is changing lifestyle habits permanently and that isn't something you can do over night. Our obsession with food is an addiction like any other - smoking, coffee, gambling. You have to reprogramme your brain.

There is nothing wrong with feeling hungry, you won't starve or drop dead and you don't have to cram your cupboards full of every deal you fell for in the supermarket. (something I used to do). We're not going to get snowed in for 3 months and you won't die from skipping the odd meal.

So in 2013, think twice before you reach for that extra biscuit. Did you even need the biscuits? Do you need to eat between meals? Really?

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