At the beginning of September, overtaken by temporary insanity, I decided to set out on a month-long experiment nicknamed 'What Would Miranda Kerr Do? The idea was to take all of the 'healthy' things we know we should do (stop drinking, cut out sugar, eat weird green powders, do yoga... you get the idea) and try to do all of them, all the time. Obviously, if you are a billionaire supermodel, this isn't the most difficult thing in the world. But what about a normal, cake-loving, hardworking Londoner? Could it be life changing, or does it turn you into a dreadful, depressing bore?
To my great surprise, I actually managed to keep this up for an entire month, with the exception of an unfortunate Hobnob incident, which I am successfully glossing over. Even more surprisingly, some of it did make me rethink my attitude towards healthy living and the difference it can make to your life. Before you write me off as Gwyneth Junior - Revenge of the Goop, let me reassure you that this insanely angelic lifestyle went out of the window at midnight on 1st October.
Having said that, there are elements of this experiment that really worked for me. And of course many, many things that didn't.
Let's start with the bad news. What didn't work?
With the exception of some joyless homemade banana flapjacks around the Week Two mark, I have been bereft of sweetness for four weeks. No, a strawberry does not count. Nor does anything containing carob. IT IS NOT CHOCOLATE. Carob is to chocolate what Miley Cyrus is to Beyonce. Imagine buying tickets to see Beyonce. You look forward to the gig for weeks, practising your Single Ladies dance in the shower and occasionally on the bus when no one's looking. You arrive, all excited, only to be told that Queen B is a bit busy, and instead you will be treated to Miley and her tongue doing horrible dances to Beyonce's Greatest Hits. Now let's not speak of this again.
Maybe if you're an uber-focussed beacon of pure work POWER, then you need to take the time to meditate, clear your mind and embrace a moment of stillness. I on the other hand, spend an average of 87 percent of my time daydreaming, while the remaining 13 percent is divided between thinking about writing, trying out sentences in my head, and actually writing. I need no encouragement when it comes to stopping and staring out of the window.
Cutting out alcohol
Now here's a surprise for you - spending a sober night with a load of drunk people isn't that fun. Neither is clinking glasses with lime and soda while everyone else tops up with prosecco. I know that excessive alcohol consumption is never a good thing and that there are loads of very legitimate reasons for cutting out the booze. I just don't feel like I have a good enough excuse to turn down a glass of grapey goodness on a Friday night.
When juicing, you spend about three minutes making a juice, about two minutes drinking it (or 10 seconds if it contains spirulina - aka pond powder - and is so disgusting it must be downed immediately) and then half an hour cleaning the bloody juicer. Just eat an apple.
What actually worked?
Cutting out coffee
I LOVE coffee. I need it, I crave it, I adore it. But a month without it made me realise how much I rely on it to get me going in the morning. The first coffee I drank after a month off tasted wonderful, but it also gave me the shakes and made me feel a bit weird. It's never good to be reliant on anything to that extent, so I'm going to try to keep the lattes for weekend chats rather than early morning train journeys.
If you're one of these people who actually have the motivation to get themselves to a gym every other day, then you're probably ok. I go to the gym to sit in the café, or occasionally use the Jacuzzi if it's a posh gym. I always thought that personal trainers were the domain of the trophy wife, but it turns out, I actually kind of like getting up early on a Friday morning to jump around in the park. Who knew? Oh, and if you train with a friend, it's cheaper than, or similar to a gym membership.
I am a carb slut. Any carb, anytime, anywhere. I have a bit of a preference for the sweet ones, but I'll take a bit of savoury. I'm not fussy. So as you can imagine, cutting out refined carbs made me want to cry a lot and lock myself in a room with some donuts. However, as the weeks went past, I started to feel better - WAY better, on the wholemeal stuff. It fills you up faster, stops the bloat and often actually tastes better.
Cutting out red meat
I was pretty surprised by this one, but in a matter of weeks on only chicken and fish, I feel utterly transformed. It's actually easier than you think and, with the exception of the peerless bacon sandwich, I think it's something that I'm going to try to keep up.
So, in the words of Jerry Springer - here is my Final Thought.
I think most of us have a few bad habits that have been hanging around since uni days (or even longer) and have convinced ourselves we don't care about living a cleaner life. The media's obsession with skinny legs and eternal youth has twisted our idea of health - making it all about 'bikini bodies' and faddy diets where the sole purpose is to end up thinner than when you started.
The thing is, it doesn't have to be all about losing weight and getting better hair. Making some small diet changes and ramping up the exercise regime from 'very occasional, slow movement' to regular, varied and energetic is really all that you need. Just don't obsess about it to the point where it stops you having any fun. I for one will be leaving the coconut water, weird green powders and 5am yoga to the professionals from now on.