Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Nag a Day...helps you Work, Rest and Play

Very, very (almost obscenely some might say) early this morning - a Sunday - I woke to find bright light streaming through my window. My bed was cozy. There wasn't particularly any reason to get up. So I lay and revelled in the warm comfort of my duvet, idly anticipating the icy cold of a my big British bedroom when I did eventually poke a toe outside. The wind whistled through the chimney. I dozed. And then, ten minutes later, given I'm incapable of lazing in bed, I bounced out of bed, skipped downstairs and started breakfast.

I'm going to get geeky in this post by the way. In depth details, and some little theories that have struck me recently.

At the moment I'm testing out a new way of eating - NOT A DIET - and I have to say, it has turned my life around. I am starting to follow the time old 'Ma Pea nags' and, now that I have time to let them all slot into place, they are working, and the combination of all of them mean that I am bursting with energy, my skin is fantastic, I'm looking the healthiest I have ever looked, and feeling the best I've ever felt.

Nag 1
Want to know the old addage which is helping me out? You heard it here (again) first.

'Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, dinner like a Pauper'.

To do away with your sardonically raised eyebrows immediately (sigh, not another one of her harebrained theories), this translates as eating a large(ish) nutritious breakfast, a slightly less generous lunch, and a light supper. This means that you start your day the Kingly way, roaring about on the amount of calories your generous brekkie imparts, broken by a refuel at lunch and then, when your day is tailing off and you're getting ready to go to bed, a light supper, so your tummy doesn't have to cope with too much to digest when it's trying valiantly to recharge your batteries as you sleep for your next, action-packed day.

An example of a day's meals might be:

Breakfast: a small bowl of muesli with fruit, and some scrambled eggs on toast with roast tomatoes. Carbs, protein, fruit, veg. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

Lunch: a small amount of roast chicken, a big heap of veg (leeks, carrots, peas), a small portion of potatoes, a piece of fruit - again, protein, carbs, veg.

Dinner: a small bowl of soup (beef & veg, chicken & rice, carrot & celery - all soups which will be detailed in due course), with some oatcakes and pate. Yep, you guessed it - protein, carbs, veg.

Nag 2
All of this, combined with Ma Pea's second eternal yet, as I'm finding out, ultimately truthful nag: get outside, get some fresh air and do some exercise. So I've been cavorting about on a daily walk for about half an hour to an hour, breathing in the glorious country air, getting lost in my plots and plans/idle wonderings, and getting on better terms with nature. As a reformed cityaholic, I used to be one of those ones who couldn't bear to leave what was happening up in London. Who knows what excitement I might miss?! I was also one of those who wasn't keen on bad weather - a 'weather wimp' you might say. Now I'm a changed woman. I'm finding that I love all this big space, there aren't people jostling up against me, or tutting if you're slowing down to admire the view. There's nothing in window shops taunting you that you can't buy - but instead everything is there to admire for free - birds, leaves, trees. My illustrations have gone through the roof, I'm producing on a daily basis, and it is serving to continue to inspire me to cook healthy, nutritious but filling food. And, if the weather is bad, and it's wet and windy, I know it sounds crazy, but I put on a waterproof jacket and some extra layers! Who'd've thought it. I am getting seriously converted to the country life.

And The Unplanned Side Effects
The eating combined with the exercise means that - for once completely unintentionally - I am losing weight at a phenomenal rate. Who needs gyms when you have hills?! Who needs lycra when you have waterproofs?! It's proving much more fun this way. I'm not actually noticing that I've been working...

Looking at my life at the moment, I could easily say that, on the surface, I'm in the worst circumstances I've ever been in: I returned from my travels all excited and with a new direction, smack bang into the worst economic circumstances seen in many decades; directly as a result of this companies are firing rather than hiring and there are few (if any) jobs coming in for me to even look at; the few jobs that I have been gone for, been interviewed for, and got through to final rounds for have been frozen last minute as the companies realise they won't be hiring for a while; and, aged 26, after 13 years of living away, I have necessarily had to move back with my parents (before you flinch at the maths of this, I boarded from the age of 13); oh, and, of course post-travels (I know, I can almost hear your heart bleeding) and without any paid work for the time I was away, and then these two months since I've been back, all of my savings are kaput, and I have next to no money! Whoopee!

But wait! Halt right there! Before you start feeling desperately sorry for me (if the travels part didn't completely lose audience sympathy) my message was actually as follows: that, in spite of what appear to be dire circumstances, I am actually the happiest and the most positive I've been for a long time. Keeping healthy in body (see above) is undoubtedly helping the state of my mind, and concentrating on my many and varied creative projects is keeping me motivated and putting my energy into worthwhile causes (art, illustration, food, extra learning, setting up a small community project in West Sussex, doing some small marketing/PR projects for local food companies), spending valuable time with my family, and most of all realising that things are tough but a) it won't last forever and b) thank goodness for my family.

All of this combined makes me a very grateful, and as a result very positive and happy, girl at the moment.

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