Live to eat or eat to live . . .

I’m reading The Body Book by Cameron Diaz on a dear, trusted friend’s recommendation. My first reaction was “why would I read a book about the body by Cameron Diaz, the actress and model and basic epitome of bouncy happiness? What does she know?”. My second thought was “now that was a very bitchy, judgmental thought.”

I have a close friend who we’ll call Monsieur du Sel (he’ll love that) who is an economist. His great passion, however, is photography. He has studied it in great detail and gets up at ridiculous hours to take landscapes. Now, just because he’s an economist, does that mean I wouldn’t listen to any advice he could give me on photography? Absolutely not. So why wouldn’t I read a book about the body by Cameron Diaz? She is a successful actress, which has bought her great fame and fortune, but, it turns out that her great passion is the human body and how it functions. And she has studied. Boy, has she studied. She doesn’t preach, doesn’t tell you what to do but the information you learn changes you. And she is very funny with it. I’ve burst out laughing several times. I think sometimes in our adoration of celebrities, we often lose sight of the individuals. No one’s job defines who they are and celebrities are no different.

Now back to the title of this post, the book got me thinking. I was a member of Slimming World. I loved it. We used to joke about how we were there because we lived to eat. We couldn’t understand people who “ate to live”. Granted that, at the time, we were talking about people who seemed ambivalent about food and didn’t really appreciate the gorgeousness or the delight that could be experienced from eating really, really yummy food but it strikes me now that that is one of the daftest phrases on earth.

Quite frankly, everyone should eat to live. We should all be focussing on what goes in our bodies and what it does for us. I started reading the book because I knew that my problem wasn’t what I was eating but the way I thought about food. If you change the way you think about food, you automatically change the way you eat. The thought is the cause, the eating is the symptom.

Now, I’m not eating that much chocolate, crisps and cakes hold no appeal. Seriously, this is within a week and I do have a sweet tooth. I haven’t had coffee for three days and I suffered with a cracking withdrawal headache. Proof that it probably isn’t that wonderful for me. I’ll still have the occasional cup, just not every day. I’m drinking more water than ever. I’ve never peed so much in my life. I feel more alive, more clear headed than I have in ages. Don’t get me wrong, I still absolutely adore food. I loooooooove it. I’m just really enjoying what I eat and getting an extra kick out of the fact that I know that every thing that I aim to put in my mouth is doing something wonderful for my body. Of course, I’m not such a zealot that I would refuse food at a friend’s that didn’t match these new goals of mine but, left to my own devices, I am looking at food and wondering what good does it do me. If it does me good, I’ll eat it. If it does nothing but feed me empty calories, then no thanks. My cholesterol level is going to love me.

I’ll tell you this, though. Shops and restaurants do not make this lifestyle choice easy. Wholegrain bread, rice and pasta are not on restaurant menus. I don’t even know if there is such thing as a wholegrain risotto rice, one of my favourite dishes. My local favourite supermarket only offered wholegrain spaghetti; no penne, fusilli or farfalle for me. It’s not going to stop me though. I’ll just make different choices; less pasta, more chicken and fish dishes. I will have the occasional cake or biscuit when out with friends but not in my house.

I do have to be realistic. It is one thing to be swept up in the excitement of a new way of living while you are reading the book that inspires it. It’s completely another thing to carry on after you have put the book down. That is why I won’t be lending this to anyone. I know myself. I can get very enthusiastic one minute and forget it the next. I have the attention span of a fly. So I’m keeping the book with me and I’m making sure that when I start to slip into my old ways, I’ll re read it. It’s that powerful.

Now, Cameron is my new heroine. Can you tell? I’m only half way through the book and am in the bit about movement. Now if I can change the way I approach that too, I am set to be one healthy 40 odd year old woman. It could help with my depression, my skin, my energy levels, my PMS, my stress levels, not to mention my creaky, inflexible skeleton and my self esteem. How wonderful would that be?