Sidebar · 1 January 2022

Hello 2022!

I recall being very excited about it being 2020—the year I would surely develop 2020 vision—and here we are two years later and it’s 2022. Just back from a rather hot trip to Aberdeen in the Eastern Cape. Collected the dog from the kennel, the holiday washing done, and as sure as the treadmill turns, there is that small matter of shedding those extra kilos. The problem about loosing weight, apart from actually eating less, is just how hard it is to do. However, a seasoned dieter of many false starts I have learnt a few things over the years.

Rule No 1 is not to make your desire to trim down public knowledge.  You’ll be inundated by those who with the best intentions want to tell you how to do it. To hear how so-and-so lost your whole body weight in kilos, is not very encouraging when you have for months tried to drop a single dress size.  Moreover, everybody will seem to take a renewed interest in every morsel that passes from your plate to your fork to your mouth. No fun eating out, or even going to my favourite coffee shop. And what is it with those people who seem to think that by bringing you chocolates and cookies, and inviting your to eat their favourite butter chicken, they will be teaching you self-restraint?

Rule No 2 is that dieting is not a group activity either. Good dieters can be very demoralising. They seem to bask publically in the knowledge that they are better at it than you. There is the condescending smile when your eye glides down the menus towards the fig tart, the  polite pause, and ‘I won’t be having any of that’, and you order it in any case because it will go so well with the main course of lettuce leaves. 

Rule No 3 is obviously to start an exercise programme. At least that is what conventional wisdom maintains. At this point you are bound to have an urge to buy new gym clothes. (There is an inverse relationship between fitness levels and the cost of gym gear.) So off you go to the shops to buy a brand new ‘Just do it’ swimming costume. The colours look great, buoyant and carefree. You feel thin, fit and healthy just looking at them, and the shops have such a neat way of hanging the larger sizes so that they look just like their skinny versions. So it is not difficult to choose anything. And revised credit card limits are falling from the sky like leaves in autumn.

Have you noticed how you need to take clothes in triplicate to the changing rooms? One for the size your hope you are after Christmas, one of the size you probably are, and the largest, to compensate for the fact that everything is made in China.  In the cubicle you drape everything over the clothes peg, turn to the mirror and suddenly everything goes pear shape.

Where to they get those convex mirrors? From an auction lot for circus equipment? Here’s some free marketing advice to all clothing store managers: let the mirrors lie a little, we won’t mind. Soft lighting would also be great. Nobody needs that type of trauma while trying to buy a swimming costume.

Which brings me to Rule No 4. And for that matter, Rule No 5. Don’t add too much weight to any advice that can be reduced to three or five neat bullet points. Nothing happens in ‘Five Easy Steps’. 

The very best New Year’s Resolution is to just follow your heart and live with reverence. Happy New Year!