I’m on day four of the Whole30 Challenge and I’m feeling cautiously fabulous. By now, according to the challenge timeline, I should want to ‘kill all the things’. But – aside from totally normal fleeting moments of disdain or fury (people who stop at the top of tube escalators, people who say 100 words when they could see 15, that sort of thing), I’ve felt pretty fucking great.
J and I have both noticed we’ve not had our usual peaks and troughs of energy – no 3 o’clock slumps where I’d normally hunt down a biscuit or two with a cup of tea to keep me going. I’ve had a pretty full-on week and have really felt I had the energy to power through it.
Those who know me well will know that I’ve not always been ‘into’ food and cooking. My food journey as a kid was mainly from freezer to plate in the company of that jolly old sailor, Captain Birds Eye.
Like a lot of kids I knew, walks home from school were punctuated with trips to the local shop to pick up some sweets – as many as you could buy with 50 pence. I didn’t eat a pepper until I was about 18 and my university cooking repertoire consisted of pasta, chilli and curry (from a jar) on loop. And kebabs, obviously. And cider. And….you get the point.
If you read my first post of the year, you’ll know that one of my goals was to work out with Nike Training Club twice a week.
Apart from the privilege of paying triple the rent of my hometown and five quid for a pint, one of the nice things about living in London is access to exciting free stuff like Nike Training Clubs. Over the last month, I’ve tried out classes at the Stratford Nike Store (queue burpees in front of bemused strangers on the shop floor) and Finsbury Park (queue running through clouds of marijuana smoke and heckles from horny homeless guys).
It’s a freezing cold Sunday morning in January. I’m in a line with 10 other women, facing 10 women on the other side. We’re in formation, holding ourselves in a plank position, cold hands pressing into the spiky pavement of Finsbury Park. I can feel every ridge pressing into the skin of my hands, icy and sharp. I pull my sleeves down. My upper arms start to burn. And then it starts.
If you saw my last post, you’ll know that one of my January goals is to complete Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge.
I’d always thought yoga wasn’t really for me. My mind moves fast – I like to be busy, can find it hard to really switch off, and struggle a little bit with feeling the pressure to be totally zen and wear hemp trousers that I used to associate with yoga.
I’m also not what you’d call bendy – I’m more the kind of woman known to grown when I have to pick my keys up off the floor. I did do an amazing Ashtanga Yoga session at Shambala festival a couple of years ago, which I found relatively straightforward, but I’m quite sure that was because I was possibly (read definitely) still a teeny, tiny bit shitfaced from the night before and feeling a bit gung ho about it all.
New Year’s Day. We force one eye open, groan, and look down to see if we fell asleep in our clothes. We inspect the room for the tell-tale polystyrene carton strewn with leftover lettuce and a smearing of guilt. Bacon happens. Eggs happen. Hollandaise is bound to happen.
The guilt sets in. This year, THIS YEAR, it will all be different. I will be different. I will force myself to develop superhuman willpower, find previous un-knowable universes of spare-time and waterfalls of untapped potential I never knew existed.
I will run marathons, climb mountains, do a triathlon, win tough mudder and be able to casually do the splits whenever I damn well LIKE. On the bus, in The Club, on the petrol station forecourt, etc etc.
AND I WILL DO IT ALL IN JANUARY.
January. Without a doubt, one of the most depressing times of year. I’m broke, you’re broke, it’s as cold as a witches tit outside and it’s dark by 4pm. We’re riding a post-Christmas wave of nausea as we remember we have to work for a living and that there’s four months ’til Easter. Creme eggs provide some consolation, but it’s minimal.
Let’s keep it real here. This is not the month to overhaul your whole life. So let’s take a deep breath and reboot.
I’ve just finished a 30 -minute YouTube workout in my bedroom. My face is its usual shade of post-workout mahagony and I’m feeling grateful that my window isn’t overlooked. Hauling myself into a downward dog in knickers, trainers and half-rolled up Karrimor t-shirt isn’t my best look.
I’m also on day 5 of Paul McKenna’s hypnotic weight-loss app plan, teamed with his book ‘I can make you thin’. Having to disguise his beaky-faced book cover and hope the size 16 Arial isn’t as easily readable on the tube as I think it is bad enough. But I’m also working through feeling guilty if I chew my food less than 20 times (muesli is MUSH, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!) or because I accidentally didn’t leave any of the delicious pasta I made for dinner on my plate like a reformed character.
This is the latest in what I jokingly call my ‘weight-loss fads’ to friends and colleagues. Though Paul disagrees – he (and many of his formerly fat and disturbingly convincing Amazon reviewers) says it’s a total change in your attitude to food. We’ll see how I’m getting on after 21 days of falling asleep to Paul’s hypnotic trance – spoken in tones not dissimilar to The Fast Show’s Swiss Tony. I half expect him to kick off with ‘losing weight is a bit like making love to a beautiful woman’. But alas, I remain disappointed.