It’s that time of the year again, when I have traditionally gorged myself on alcohol and food for about a fortnight. Come January, I berated myself for gaining unwanted and definitely unnecessary kilos of fat around my belly and backside. It’s not that I am obsessed with my weight or anything, I barely stand on the scales these days. It’s more that I greatly dislike the sluggish feeling I get from those extra kilos. What I dislike even more is the wrestling I have to do to get into my jeans. I avoid doing this in front of my husband for obvious reasons but also as he might think the red face is linked to a heart attack. I walk around with the ring of fat hanging out over my jeans, (it has to go somewhere), then I have to wear something on top that will disguise the new acquisition that I’m not proud of. And year in, year out, the same thing happens. What’s even worse, last January I noticed my gain was the biggest it has ever been. I weighed the same as I did when I was seven months pregnant with my first child. The reason for the marked increase can only be attributed to the hormonal changes that menopause imposed on me. Otherwise known as middle-age spread. Now that was a gain that brought with it real pain.
No more gorging
So, I have decided that I am not doing this anymore. Why gorge myself on stuff that is bad for me, and then suffer for it? It doesn’t make sense. Just as drinking alcohol and suffering hangovers make no sense to me. I hear you say, ‘but it was nice at the time’ and I argue that it is purely a mindset that allows us to see gorging on junk food or drinking toxins as a good thing. What if we were to find the same joy in eating what nature provides? We can, if we put our minds to it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to enjoying some treats this week, just like everybody else. But a treat for me might not be a treat for somebody else. I don’t see alcohol or meat as a treat. I do see fresh raspberries, juicy mangoes, ripe nectarines, organic cacao, dates, coconut and cherries as delicious indulgences provided to us by Mother Nature. Anything else, whether it’s a slice of pavlova, a mince pie, a piece of cake or other so-called Christmas treat, is just sugar, butter and eggs packaged differently. Call me a grinch, I don’t mind. I am so over the heavy, bloated and loathsome feelings I get when I eat these things. My body used to scream at me for days afterwards. I would tell it to shut up and would feed it more of the same. I have finally started listening to my body, and it is telling me it doesn’t like sugar, butter, cheese, eggs, alcohol and meat.
I am therefore going to live the next part of my life on a plant-based diet. I love the fact that, in doing so, no animal will have to suffer on my behalf. I have already made some massive changes to my diet and I feel better for it. It’s not about numbers on a scale anymore, it’s about how I feel in my skin. Already I notice I am less congested and have more energy.
The doors of perception
It’s quite incredible the way my perceptions have changed since I embraced a sober life. It’s as though a door has opened in my mind and allowed the old views to exit and new views to enter. I question everything now. Just because people eat fatty meat and drink toxic alcohol, doesn’t make it right. For me, it is wrong. I have done the research, watched the documentaries, listened to podcasts and have arrived at a conclusion where the evidence is convincing enough. I know what I need to do to live better. My days of carefree drinking, eating meat, dairy and processed foods are over, I know too much.
Don’t believe everything they tell you
And here’s the thing. We are bombarded with sales pitches every single day. Big corporates want us to buy their products because they owe it to their shareholders to pay out dividends. There is rarely room for ethics when it comes to making money. It is up to each of us to question what is best for us and be firm about what we want from our lives.
Instead of buying into the advertising campaigns that aim to sell you things you don’t need or things that aren’t good for you, think about what really makes you happy. Listen to your body, because your body knows.
And finally …
This is my last rant of the decade. It’s been a hugely challenging decade for us as a family. It started with a move to a country that is over 15,000 kilometres from our homeland. The move was punctuated by a horrible accident involving our children that left us all traumatised for a time. We have come a long way since then. Our children have thrived here in this beautiful country, excelling at cycling, running, swimming, hockey and music. I am so grateful for all the opportunities that have been provided to us. I am so chuffed that the decade is ending on such a positive note given the challenges that we experienced at the start.
The most wonderful and amazing thing about this is how far we’ve come with our thinking. Both Damien and I are committed to being kinder to our bodies, minds and spirits as we leave this decade behind and we look forward to being better than we have ever been, at the dawn of the new decade.
I wish for all of you to feel liberated in this way. May the joys of the season fill your hearts, and may you be loved, healthy and prosperous throughout 2020 and beyond.
I will be in touch again in January and will share with you the material I mentioned above. I will be keeping you apprised of my journey into veganism and sharing my favourite recipes with you.
Thanks for all your support. I have loved writing this blog and receiving your encouraging feedback.