I have battled with being overweight all my adult life. Looking back my resistance to changing my eating patterns mimic my reluctance to give up smoking….for the same reasons. My biggest issue with food – was my addiction to sugar….and make no mistake….sugar has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine. Like any addiction the fear of giving up the drug is sometimes what stops us trying.
The lifestyle of Brits living abroad is very social….a half bottle of wine is often included in the price of a “menu del dia” – as is a sugar laden pudding and an alcoholic shot to finish the meal. Many of the people I met, insisted that “they don’t drink much”….but acknowledged that it was almost impossible to resist the wine that came as part of the meal….or the complimentary Baileys that landed at your seat without having to ask. This habit of drinking without conscious thought is something I hope to break with my year off alcohol.
Ordinarily, a school reunion would be something that you’d consider is made easier by the addition of a reasonable amount of alcohol. Before, during AND after. You know – to shore up your confidence…make small talk easier….and to brave the memories of childhood name calling and old crushes. But of course I chose this year to be alcohol free – so that wasn’t going to be a prop I could use! At the grand old age of (very nearly) 52, I am lucky enough to be comfortable with who I am…..and am more than capable of making an arse of myself without the benefit of alcohol!
I’m still astonished at the difference that one simple change has made – and not just to my weight. My skin is much much clearer, my temperature regulation has improved, arthritis symptoms in both my back & knees have reduced and my alertness after hours at my desk has increased.
I have to confess I’d never really looked at food labelling. Occasionally checking ingredients list to check for nuts (for a regular allergic visitor) or calories (if I was on one of my periodic diets)….but never as a matter of course. Problem number 1 is recognising sugar/sweetener in all it’s guises.
Now don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t drinking THAT much – I have always had rules about not drinking on a “school” night – and often didn’t drink in the house, but a night out would definitely have me over the new safe driving limit the next morning.
There is loads of science backing up that exercise is good for you – so why aren’t we all doing it? There will be different answers for us all – and I needed to find a way of keeping myself active.