Most of the time we all – I am sure – try to look after our bodies, for one reason or another.
My own motivations are a) I’m heading towards ‘proper’ old age which my doctor reliably informs me now begins at 75, and I want to be as healthy and fit as I can to enjoy these wonderful years ahead and b) as a ‘diet expert’ it isn’t going to look too good if I appear on TV or in the media with a surplus stone or three round my middle, so I am obliged (thank goodness) to put in a modicum of effort more often than not.
But I have to say that I truly believe the calendar conspires against us, and I do mean most of us, for a good (bad?) chunk of the year. Regular readers may know I tend to rant against the January diet and health push (who on earth wants to live on lettuce or go out jogging through winter?) which tries to engulf us all then leaves us fatter than ever and in despair at our weak will by the end of February.
Then we brace ourselves for another try to ditch the pasta carbonara and take up jogging circa early April in response to the media warnings about the summer holidays being nearly upon us, and we take selfies and pose in our swimwear and feel smug for a full few weeks. That is, until high summer gets to us with its lunchtime cocktails, endless ice creams, trying all the gorgeous local food on holiday, and lazing in the garden rather than running in the heatwave.
If any of that sounds like you, listen to this: Here it is! The season of goodwill to all body-conscious people, to all dieters, all exercisers, all ‘try just a bit to eat a bit less’ers.
It’s called autumn, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s at least twelve weeks of just perfect time to concentrate on our bodies, our health and fitness, our weight and shape, with virtually NO interference from events on the calendar or know-alls telling us what we’ve GOT to do.
Autumn is the perfect time for us and our bodies for several reasons.
1. The weather
Not too hot, not too cold. No snow, no heatwave, therefore ideal for outdoor exercise (including gardening if you happen to have one). No need for cooling fattening things (ice cream) or indeed warming fattening things (steak and ale pie and mash).
2. The quiet
I mean, this is the time of year most likely to be devoid of family get-togethers, weekends/weeks away visiting relatives or entertaining them at yours, or random food-related invites from neighbours. So the temptation to eat more and drink more than usual is low. (And is it just me or do you eat all the leftover things in the fridge you bought for guests who didn’t eat them even if you don’t really want them? At this time of year you can cater just for you with no waste at all.) And of course, you’ve a bit more time perhaps to think about yourself and what you and your body need and want.
3. The lack of urgency
If you want to lose a few pounds or get fitter you can approach it in a sensible fashion – no need for the crash diet, the fad Paltrow ideas, the nearly killing yourself on the treadmill approach. Just do things calmly without undue pressure. You are unlikely to be seeing too many headlines about diets, etc., until at least late November so no need to put the blindfold on until then. Much research tells us that the moderate approach is the one that lasts.
4. The lack of ‘events’
Okay I concede we have Bonfire Night but no-one I know really loves cindered sausages anyway, and it’s just an hour or two; plus no-one will know if you’re there or not as it’s dark. And if your birthday happens to fall in autumn (pun) that’s not my fault, and can I let it be known my husband (28th September) and son (also 28th September) are not getting cakes this year as I’ve only just finished the last of my own birthday cake (6th August).
So here’s to autumn – the only truly body sane season of the year.
Read our guide to autumn super foods