THE ART OF HAPPINESS

The Happiness Pie: FEBRUARY

*Rewind to Pancake Day*: As I write this, I am nursing a small food baby. – Maia, Grandad and I had quite the Pancake Party this morning. I thought with Maia being old enough to know what a pancake was, I should probably whip something up. (And for once; no lumpy bumpys, no black bits, and no squishy uncooked parts; just several perfect little golden splodges of joy. *And one blotchy elephant.)

With February comes a new set of resolutions (or REVolutions as many are calling them now..) for The Happiness Project. But I thought, given that my circumstances are so different to Rubin’s (the author of The Happiness Project) and I could barely keep up with January’s resolutions, that I would adjust the project slightly and have only ONE resolution each month. – Far more achievable and much easier to monitor. I thought of several for February and decided on the one I feel takes top priority: A healthier lifestyle. (So pretty much what everyone else wants: Optimum health, time with family and friends, work I enjoy; a long and happy life. – Too much to ask? I think not.) 

This means making exercise and healthier eating a priority. (Whilst also spending maximum time surrounded by nature, in the fresh air etc.) No diets, detoxes, or marathon training. – Just small simple changes. I can still eat cake. There are no rules (rules are too tempting for me to break), nothing is banned (banning something only creates cravings), and this is not temporary, this is permanent.
I want to change the way I think about food. I’ve said this before; no one should feel guilty about devouring a cookie. If you’ve eaten well all week, what’s a little processed sugar on a Friday night? If you’ve eaten crap all week.. Well then do you really need another cookie?

I want to learn to see these foods not as treats but for what they really are: Sugar, chemicals, additives and preservatives. They’re not a treat for your body. Your body is screaming “NOOOOO not another sausage roll”, but your hot impulsive mind is going “ooohhh but the salty salty goodness, tastes so good, feed me feed me”. Then the Cool Cognitive voice is going “you could actually have a baked potato with some salad, far more nutritious”.. But sadly this voice is too small and overridden with hunger pangs and impulsiveness. You eat the roll in record-breaking time, barely allowing a moment to Savour the salty salty “goodness”.

I dedicate this month to fighting the impulsiveness and listening to the Cool Cognitive voice that’s fighting to be heard.- This means learning to experiment and explore food, trying new recipes and generally spending more time in the kitchen. – I normally can’t wait to get out of there, it gets crowded and Grandad always has the biscuit tin open – “Hello?! It’s 11pm and I’m trying to change the way I see food!!… Oo they look Scrummy- a nice hobnob before bed, delightful, thanks Dad..BUT NO, one DOESN’T need it.” – and so the fight continues.

So far I’ve really taken to Deliciously Ella, I’ve made Green Smoothies, Sugar Free Banana Bread and Date and Sultana Brownies. – It’s not all a battle with the biscuit tin.
I’m very happy with this month’s resolution, and feel quite positive I can actually stick to this one. – Small changes, baby steps, as in teeny weeny. I’m looking for progression here, not the perfect diet and exercise regime by the beginning of March. If I’ve tried a handful of new recipes, avoided late night snacking and gone to the gym often then I can say I’m satisfied with February’s slice of the Happiness Pie. I mean Salad.

  Julie and I at Brunch. Salt intake: high, happiness boost: oh yes, guilt: zero. 

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