It’s that time of year again. The one when everyone feels compelled to give up X or start doing/eating/being Y. Despite my best intentions I am as susceptible as the rest; reading about how amazing you’ll feel when you start juicing thirteen unpronounceable fruits, adding just a spoonful of £45 per ounce whateveritis powder, how anyone can be running 15 miles a day and getting up at 4.30am looking like they’ve just come back from a beach holiday and not like they’ve been lying awake terrified about getting up at 4.30am and fantasising wildly about Dairy Milk.
I did once give up sugar for a period of time. I like to give up things for Lent mostly so I can enjoy eating them again after Lent. Last year, I gave up processed sugar, including alcohol (sad times), dried fruit and most other fruit things. It was hard and I gave up giving up the minute that I got run over and had to spend 12 hours nil by mouth in Lister Hospital in a badly tied gown and compression stockings.
However, for a few weeks I did quite well. But did I feel better, people wanted to know. And I did! But after a while I realised that I felt better, but I couldn’t tell whether I felt physically more well or whether what I actually felt was just more smug. It was really hard to distinguish between the placebo effect of knowing that I was now a morally superior being because I was being so splendidly abstemious and thusly a better person or whether my digestions etc really was more efficient and less full of wind.
To this day, whenever I have tried to change my diet (usually in response to feeling morally bad because I am a fat, greedy failure, but disguised as wanting to ‘feel healthier, look after myself better’ or whatever fatuous gumph I had lately fallen for) I still can’t tell if I feel better or if I just feel smug.