These days, you have to be a bit of a freak to be healthy all the time
I’M A BAD person.
I’ve just gone and made myself a morning coffee, with caffeine in it. Plus three sugars, and some Cadbury’s drinking chocolate on the top so it mimicked a café cappuccino.
I even got out my sad little electric whisk and frothed up the milk. What a loser!
I’m disappointed with myself, you see, because I’m not supposed to be drinking caffeine. The doctor told me.
And, until this morning I’d largely given up coffee, and excised Diet Cokes ruthlessly from my life.
The doctor also told me to cut down on alcohol and fatty foods – as well as doing more exercise – and I’m trying, really trying….
Yesterday, I went for my second run in two days and nibbled on fruit. I didn’t drink in the evening and I eschewed chocolate and sweet treats. What a guy!
But this morning, I was tired and completely lacking inspiration/motivation, so I weakened, and went for the coffee to jolt me into action.
It seems I can only make healthy choices for so long. Something always has to give.”
It seems I can only make healthy choices for so long. Something always has to give… but at least it’s not just me that has that problem.
I read on the BT Sport website about how ex-rugby star Brian O’Driscoll keeps the weight off in retirement by intermittent fasting, meaning that he doesn’t eat between 9pm and 1pm the following day.
He said it helped avoiding snacking, but in almost the next breath admitted: “I must’ve had three cups of coffee this morning to keep the hunger at bay!”
So – with all due respect to B.O.D. – isn’t he just trading one unhealthy thing for another?
He may not be bingeing late at night but he’s hammering the caffeine, which as my doctor would probably relish telling him, is another no-no…
Staying healthy is like juggling balls, and there’s always one more than you can manage.”
The coffee thing has got me thinking that there’s a chain of increasingly miserable substitutions we can make to stick to our healthy living plans. If we really want to…
So, when I gave up coffee, I started drinking some nice Earl Grey tea, with no sugar – but mug after mug after mug of it.
And then, I calculated that I was probably racking up as much caffeine in all those teas as I would in a cheeky cappuccino – so I wrote ‘peppermint tea’ down on my shopping list.
After which, I thought: Peppermint tea stains your teeth and the dental hygienist won’t like that…. but I could drink it through a straw like she always says…”
And, by then, I’d had enough: Drinking a hot drink through a straw? I’m 54!
All of which has led me to formulate my Dropped Ball Theory… because staying healthy is like juggling balls, and there’s always one more than you can manage.
If you keep the ‘Not Drinking Alcohol’ sphere up for a while, you might also manage to keep the orb marked ‘Fatty Foods’ in the air. OK, so how about another ball marked ‘Cappuccinos?’ And now ‘Tea?’
Splat! There it goes, onto the ground…
And we shouldn’t feel bad about it, because the way we live our lives today, with all the choices and temptations we see laid out before us, we would have to be somewhat freakish never to give into any of them.
Maybe Early Human felt dissatisfied with what they had and longed for more – even if they couldn’t name it as Prosecco and cheesy chips?
I mean, it was all right in this sense for Early Human because they didn’t have the burden of choice.
Yes, they had to run like fuck to catch their breakfast and eat loads of – I don’t know – bergamots, even though they weren’t really wild about how they tasted.
But you’re not going to persuade me that – if you gave them temptations like we have – people from the Stone Age wouldn’t get a taste for, say, chocolate with a buttery biscuit base and end up bingeing on whole packets of Hobnobs.
Maybe Early Human actually felt dissatisfied with what they had and felt an inchoate longing for something more – even if they couldn’t name it as Prosecco with a side of cheesy chips?
It also seems to me that, when scientists explain our modern problems with diet, exercise and temptation, they are doing Early Humans a bit of a disservice by identifying them as our true natures, the idealised state, the all-action, nothing-wasted hunter gatherer…
And I wondered, while agitating my ersatz cappuccino to its frothy peak, whether Early Human would welcome the pressure of being this Poster Boy/Girl for optimum health.
Didn’t they sometimes fancy a longer lie-in near the fire, instead of kicking themselves out of their warm aurochs skin before dawn, just so they could surprise and dismember another bunch of fucking wild boar?
I, personally, would cut Early Human some slack for not being able to keep it up all of the time – so maybe we should cut ourselves the same slack, too.
Because, as the scientists love to tell us, we are still them, deep down.