For some people, January is the month of good intentions, new starts and self-improvement. For me, despite the fact that I left the world of education behind a good few years ago, it's always been September that represents the cleanest slate. New term, new start.
So it seems to have become something of a ritual that every year when September rolls round, I vaguely attempt some form of resolution. Some have been successful (deciding to go freelance, volunteering for charity, learning to cook something that isn't spag bol) others less so (learning to park properly, giving up reading the Daily Mail sidebar).
This year, due to some kind of as-yet unspecified general life crisis, I have decided to step it up a gear. Last week, during one of my 'stalking famous people on Instagram' sessions, I stumbled across Miranda Kerr's account. I wonder what it would be like, I thought idly, flicking past yet another bikini shot, to do ALL the yoga, eat stupidly healthy organic things, drink green sludgy juices and just be so damn serene and glowing all the time that everyone simultaneously envies and hates you. Is it actually possible to live like that? Or does it only work if you're a wheatgrass-loving, Victoria's Secret-strutting millionairess?
So this September I will be embarking on a challenge, which, for want of a better name, I have called 'What would Miranda Kerr do?'
It's out with wine after work, and in with yoga and coconut water. Out with the spag bol, in with kale and quinoa. I will meditate instead of watching X Factor and daydreaming about being 'discovered' singing in the showers at the local swimming pool. I will run in the park and actually attend yoga more than twice a month (my current record). No sugar, no red meat, no booze, no coffee, no refined, processed beigeness. I will, in short, do all the things that we're supposed to do, but none of us actually do.
When I casually floated this idea over a heavily sugared mug of Starbucks last week, I was met with a series of sniggers. "You couldn't even give up cake for a month, never mind all the running about and green things" said one friend helpfully. "We used to take great joy in shouting 'SCRUBBERS!' out the window when we drove past joggers" pointed out my ex-housemate. "You can't become one of them"
It's only a month, I think to myself. How hard can it be?
Thinking it over, a few potential problems begin to rear their pesky heads. The most obvious of these is that I am a huge foodie. A good meal out is one of my great joys and I've inherited my dad's ridiculously sweet tooth. If it's made of chocolate I'll eat it. Several years ago I asked a friend to describe me in a few words for an online dating site. How about 'Will do anything for a sandwich?' she suggested. I fear my greatest nemesis of all may be, not the local café or the Sunday morning lure of bacon sandwiches, but The Great British Bake Off. I have been known to charge off to Tesco in a cloud of smoke because Mary Berry talked for five minutes about a really good Victoria sponge.
So in short, I'm going to need back-up. I've enlisted the help of a personal trainer, a nutritionist and a specialist health journalist to keep me on track, bully me when necessary and provide more encouragement than my inordinately unhelpful friends. I have stuck a photo on the fridge of Miranda Kerr on a beach doing yoga poses to inspire me. This, strangely, seems to be the one part of the experiment that my boyfriend doesn't mind.
For me, this isn't about dieting. There won't be any calorie counting or weigh-ins. I'm thinking of it more as a social experiment: Does a healthy body really equal a healthy mind? Are some of life's pleasures (wine, cake, sitting on the sofa for the whole of Sunday watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians) worth the health implications, or is there really a better way?
And is it at all possible for a mere mortal with a job, a busy life and an ingrained hatred of smug joggers to convert into a serene, celeb-worthy wheatgrass obsessive? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, I am preparing for my journey into the chocolate wilderness by having toast and nutella for dinner.
Image: @mirandakerr, Instagram