For the past 15 months, I’ve been on a healthy eating plan. I’d got to the stage where everything in my wardrobe was too tight, so – being too parsimonious to splash out on a load of new clothes – I decided I needed to lose the odd stone or three.
|I can't find this in my diet book...|
My understanding of a balanced diet is a glass of wine in one hand, and a bar of chocolate in the other…but for some reason, this was frowned on at the slimming group I joined. With a heavy heart, I hid the wine bottles at the back of a cupboard, gave away the remainder of our Christmas choccies, and purchased a bumper-pack of Granny Smiths. This was not going to be fun.
But d’you know what? Turns out this healthy eating lark actually works. Having more fruit and vegetables – and less of the fatty, sugary stuff – on a regular basis means I can now find several things in my wardrobe that fit me properly, rather than threatening to cause an embarrassing incident every time I bend down to tie my shoelaces. I can walk to the end of our street without getting out of breath, and a brisk stroll round the park no longer sounds like a form of mediaeval torture.
Last year, I also kept a record of my reading diet. I’d set myself the challenge of reading 52 books over the course of 12 months. By December 31st, I’d read a total of 56, as well as umpteen magazines and online articles. Some of the books I’d read before; some were new discoveries. I re-read all the Dorothy L Sayers novels (for the first time in about 30 years), and found that some stood the test of time better than others. Some things were recommended by friends, and some I read because they were free – or at least, massively reduced – on Kindle. (Told you I was tight…)
|So many books, so little time...|
Analysing my reading habits in this way proved enlightening. I’ve always preferred to read fiction, but I hadn’t realised how much this informed my choices. Most of the non-fiction stuff I read was in the form of articles, and these were often things I came across at random, usually via Twitter or Facebook.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a preference for fiction (or non-fiction), but it does make me wonder if I’m missing out. I read to be entertained, but I also like to think and to learn, particularly in the context of my faith. There are challenges here for me around what, when and how I read. I can easily devour a novel in one sitting, but some of the other books waiting on my shelf require me to slow down and contemplate the truth behind the words. And yet I can see that when I pay attention to what I’m reading, my soul is more peaceful, and my faith more secure. My goal this year is to balance my literary diet, too.