The same thing happens every year, we get through Christmas and a little bit of guilt kicks in for having over-indulged. Whether it was too many mince pies, the Christmas pud, the Brandy Sauce, the cheeseboard, the alcohol, the box of chocs under the tree x 6, the lifetime-on-the-hips Christmas Tiramisu, there is no doubt that all the ‘added extras’ that come along with Christmas seem to make the year end on a heavy note. Thank goodness then, for the New Year, which marks a brand new start and a chance for us to renew our healthy eating vows - for another year.
Watching Mary Poppins with the children over Christmas, I was reminded of a wonderful saying within the film: “Enough is as good as a feast.” Oh, how I love Mary Poppins. The original Supernanny. Sensible, firm but kind, gets the job done but is a lot of fun. How I would love to be able to click my fingers and tidy up mess, or take out a tape measure reading my height as “practically perfect in every way.” I digress. My point is that Mary Poppins is the epitome of self-control and discipline. You wouldn’t catch her sneaking into the fridge late at night to stuff a mouthful of chocolate Christmas tree cake in her mouth.
And so again, I, along with many others, join the millions of people around the world in making my New Year’s resolutions. An attempt to improve ourselves, to better ourselves, to strive to greater goals and ambitions.
Making resolutions is actually a tradition that dates back all the way to 153 BC. The Romans named the first month of the year Janus, after the Roman god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. Janus was depicted with two faces, one of the front of his head and one on the back, so that one could always look back at the old year and the other could look forward to the new.
Although the date for New Year hasn’t always been on January 1 and is only observed on this date now by those following the modern Gregorian calendar, New Year’s celebrations across every culture, whatever the date, have a common theme: it is time for change.
Will we achieve our goals? According to research by Quirkology men are more likely to succeed when asked to engage in goal setting. Women are more successful when they share their resolutions with friends and family and are encouraged. The biggest pitfall, it seems, is making too many resolutions or trying to achieve too much. Re-visiting past resolutions sets us up for frustration and disappointment, whilst failing to plan ahead and being too spontaneous also sets us up for failure.
A good way forward is to approach an old problem a new way. For example, instead of resolving to lose weight, we could try making a commitment to exercise more. Rather than giving up chocolate or cake, we could resolve to eat more fruit, or to eat fruit every day for breakfast or as a snack.
What about resolutions that benefit others? We could plant a garden and involve our children with our tasks, this way we rely less on commercial produce and clock up less food miles. Or if this is too much, we could try and shop more locally, to help our local economy and local food producers.
We could chose a new charity to support, donate our baked cakes to a local home or hospice, or resolve to fill each and every charity bag popped through out door with clothes we no longer need or want. Slowly, but surely, new (and hopefully healthier) habits will form. Persistence is key. There is no value in excess, as Mary Poppins points out to the children wishing to play for longer.
The aim then, is to change for good, rather than change for a week or two. Since the focus of my blog is food (and it seems it is an occupational hazard to gain weight whilst food blogging) I’m going to have to turn Fabulicious Food into Healthilicious Food in order to succeed whilst reminding myself daily of my new Mary Poppins mantra. Instead of my old thinking, which tended to be: “A little of what you fancy does you good,” my new ‘Mary Poppins’ way of thinking will be that a little less of what I fancy will do me even more good, as will a little more exercise. There. Easy. Ish. Perhaps with a spoonful of sugar?!
What are your goals? What are the secrets of your success? Share your tips with me in the comments box and let’s crack these old habits together!