Monday, 14 November 2011

Howdy partners!

Well hello there ... NITC is back in the saddle after my holiday in the Big Apple and champing at the bit to start blogging about my American food fest. But quite frankly looking at the FAB blogs from the lovely Lisa and my great friend the Zen Dog, I'm not sure I'm even needed back on the blog! Major thanks to both these amazing ladies for blogging in my absence and providing me, and hopefully all of you, with inspiration to make some positive changes.

In particular I know I need to get some Zen back in my life and start up my regular yoga practice again. On the environmental front I don't exactly feel saintly about all those airmiles, but I did have to have a clear out to fit my shopping in my closet and put a bag of clothes in the charity bin this evening .. does that count?!

Anyway enough of the preamble and onto my lessons from New York, one of my top three favourite cities. I remember my mum being very concerned about my first visit, back when I was 19 years old, thinking of New York as a very dangerous city and murder capital. But New York has undergone a huge transformation since the 1980s being cleaned up both literally and in terms of crime.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani kicked off the good work based on his “broken window” theory of government. The “broken window” theory is that a broken window left unfixed in an apartment block would give the appearance of decay and disrepair to the area encouraging the congregation of criminals, who would see the physical deterioration as a sign that their shady activities will go unnoticed. Once the criminal element started congregating then law-abiding citizens would start avoiding the area pushing it further into decline. By clamping down o,n and cleaning up vandalism and graffiti, the police were able to reduce the amount of run down areas and associated crime.

But this isn't just a phenomenon observed in big cities .... it applies elsewhere including in my bedroom! No it's not a centre of crime, but whilst I generally keep my bedroom pretty tidy and put my clothes away, if I have a couple of tops left out then I'm more inclined to dump the next one on top the pile and before you know it I have clothes all over the place!

The broken window theory also made me think of how this applies to eating habits. Something I've observed both with clients, and in myself, is that if you start letting yourself eat little unhealthy treats here or there you almost always end up gradually eating them more and more often and in larger portions. It starts with a couple of chocolates from a box in the office, a few biscuits with your tea, a chocolate bar from the vending machine because you were tired .... and without even realizing it you end up eating unhealthy snacks pretty much every day.

This is why I recommend people have their regular healthy day to day diet and then deliberate meals or days off, rather than just letting yourself have little treats here and there. If you have some basic rules you follow for healthy eating ... avoid sugar, don't eat dairy foods, avoid wheat ... whatever is healthy for you ... then it's easy to make healthy choices day to day. It also means that when you have your day off or meals off you can eat whatever you want without restriction and truly enjoy the food without feeling guilty.

I usually have a couple of meals a week where I indulge and eat whatever I fancy, which I can work around a special occasion, a nice meal out, or just feeling like a bit of comfort food on a night in. The point is I know how to eat the rest of the time so I don't have an excuse for naughty food to gradually creep into my diet without me noticing, but at the same time I don't feel deprived from never having any treats. This rule works for me and keeps my diet clean and crime free just like the streets of NYC!

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