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A woman at work was talking about going out to eat with her friend, to be sociable, rather than about the food, and about how it was hard to get a table, and then super cheap because of the Government’s Eat out to help out scheme (where they pay half the bill Mon-Wed, I believe, to help the hospitality industry recover from lockdown.) The woman, a beautiful slim woman in her early thirties said: “My friend, she is this big (miming very overweight person), “She LOVES food; it’s like she lives only for food. Me I can take it or leave it, one toast two days, no problem.”

I felt a little envious. I am not like that, unfortunately…. I am a Taurean, a lover of food, with a lack of discipline, and sometimes hedonistic. My husband talks about how important it is to have control and not be addicted to anything, to be able to pick things up and put them down again. This only works if you can put them down again, which is why we are doing this programme. It’s as much to prove to ourselves that we can do it as well as to get a bit healthier physically.

It’s about attachment, practising what we preach and ultimately, it’s all part of the lifelong preparation for death, can you pick it up and put it down? Worldly pleasures, and ultimately, when the time comes, life itself? I’m misquoting George Harrison, but he said something like, You don’t want to have to come back because you left the cat out, or whatever. Or haven’t finished your book. The moment it comes, all that ceases to matter, and the focus is on letting go. When he was attacked by an intruder in his home he realised ‘This is it’ and had started letting go when Olivia hit the guy over the head with a lamp stand and saved him.

The programme:

No cigarettes, no alcohol.

No pointless food- crisps, biscuits, cake, teacakes, etc

We did this last year, a made up month of purification/self improvement, prompted in large part to my terrible addiction to Greggs Vegan Sausage Rolls. Regular readers may be surprised to know that I have completely conquered said addiction. Just before everywhere locked down, I was in my home town of Diss, Norfolk, UK, buying GVSRs with my husband, having first been to Grapetree to stock up on nuts, seeds, dried fruit, maca powder, cacao powder, hemp protein powder (like all people I am a mix of apparent contradictions.) The young lad at the counter and us were bemusedly talking about Corona virus, and the lad mentioned Greggs might close down. I was disbelieving, “Close down Greggs?” I said, “Never!”

Of course I was wrong, and spent much of the first part of lockdown grieving for my occasional trips to Daventry (my current home town) and Greggs for an Americano and a VSR (or two), or same on the way to Norfolk for our regular three- four hour drives to see friends and family. But when we did try them again, they tasted horribly salty and we ended up throwing them away! We overheard meat eaters saying the same about the meat ones. Was it a change of recipe? Or had our palettes just changed over lockdown? Anyway, for my body it’s a blessing.

However, we’ve managed to put on weight via plenty of other means: crisps, teacakes, and for me, alcohol, starting with my lockdown birthday and sliding into regular G&T or beer on the deck after work.  And cigarettes. I love being outside, but what to do with myself? The last couple of days after work I sat on the deck and had a glass of lemon water and a bowl of trail mix or a banana, and it really was okay.

Walk/yoga daily

I really slacked re exercise during this big period of writing/editing.

Increase cooking from scratch and Avoid eating so much processed food

With the boom in ready made vegan food it’s tempting to go to Aldi or Tesco and pick up something ready made, new potatoes and a pack of salad for ease, rather than, what can I make out of what we have, and the more fiddly things/things that require going out of the way to shop for get sidelined or forgotten.

No caffeine- no coffee, no fizzy drinks, decaf tea, herbal/fruit tea, lemon water, water only. (from around 10 Aug I went to just caffeine tea first thing then no more tea or coffee or fizzy drinks, to help with the headache of abrupt coffee/caffeine stopping.

“Can I do it if I drink decaff coffee?” Someone at work asked me. “Yes of course, it’s just a made up thing,” I said. No real rules, other than what you make up yourself.  We’ve focused on our biggest weaknesses- last year, GVSRs, this year, crisps, smoking, and lack of exercise. Some things are fixed for us- no cigarettes, no alcohol- some are more general not 100% e.g. I’m sure we’ll have the odd processed meal, and processed is a definition that can be strict or loose- we’re reasonably loose- but we know where we need to make improvements.

So if you want to join me, I’m giving you some notice- particularly useful for caffeine as if you go from four cups of coffee to none in my experience you get a banging headache for a half a day- just make up your own programme but we could do it together, and share a blog about it? Do I need to tell you I am not a doctor? And that stopping excessive alcohol consumption abruptly can be dangerous and you need to seek proper advice re coming off that.

Talking about sharing the blog- if anyone would like to write a guest post for this blog do get in touch via the contact box. Promote your blog/ book/ music; tell us your story, about the detail of your daily life, comment on something on the blog that interests you…

No sex- this is the one I don’t tell people at work when I’m telling them about my September purification month, and the one people find most weird. But I refer you back to the intro re attachment.

Thank you very much for reading!