A few years ago I did a strict weight-loss diet. It was one of those that had me weighing out oats every morning and counting the number of cashew nuts I could have for lunch. There were set menus and exercises for each day, but one day a week you were allowed to eat what you wanted.
Of course, I spent my six days dreaming of chocolate brownies and calorie anarchy on the seventh, but what invariably happened when my ‘day off’ came around was that I ate even more sensibly and carefully than I had done when I was being nannied by the diet. It was a good diet – successful not just at losing weight, but keeping it off and recalibrating my appetite.
The experience of the last eight weeks has been the same. I’ve done good energy-saving things initially because I was told to, or because I knew I’d be asked to make account of them, but those habits are going to stick. For me the biggest change that will stick is about plastic. Those photographs that I was sent a link to as a result of my blog here about reducing waste – pictures showing the skeletons of baby albatrosses on Midway Atoll choked to death by pieces of our plastic garbage that their parents had fed them – have stayed in my mind. It’s hard to persist in plastic habits when you have such a clear image of the consequences. I’m helped, too, because friends and colleagues have seen what I’ve written and are happy to hold me to it. I walked into a meeting last night carrying a plastic folder of papers (that, I should add, I had been given at a previous meeting – at home I’m now trying to use cloth bags to organise my filing) and was greeted with the words ‘uh oh, PLASTIC!’ That helps keep you careful and motivated!
I’ve also enjoyed reading other participants’ blogs. I thought the ‘buy memories, not stuff’ motto that the McGrath family posted about is a really good one. It’s made me think, and I reckon it will make a difference to my shopping, and particularly my gifting habits.
And I promised I would keep count of my Kinder Bueno Bars, after my first disgraceful week of eating four – throwing away each of the individual plastic wrappers of those double-wrapped imported treats. I’m proud to report that following that confessional blog post I haven’t eaten another Kinder Bueno Bar!
There have been low points – for me, the endless boiling of locally-produced beans to replace the tins I’d had in the cupboard – but, like the beans, they were probably good for me. So thank you, National Geographic, and thank you to the other bloggers and the readers of this blog. I think I’m a better inhabitant of this planet now, and I think the planet is, in a small way, better off for the last eight weeks of blogging activity.