One of the first things people ask me when they hear about this experiment is whether or not it’s had a noticeable effect on my appearance. Three weeks in, the answer has to be yes. The clothes are definitely feeling a bit looser, while my skin has finally got past the ‘beard of rash’ stage and into the glowy, awake stage. I look like me, but a little bit better. I’m also more energetic – I’ve reached the point where a workout makes me want to do more exercise, as opposed to lie down for a week with a bag of Doritos.
So far, so good. However, as the days pass, my sweet tooth is creeping up on me more and more, tapping me on the shoulder saying ‘Wouldn’t a bar of chocolate be great right about now?’
It has happened. I have been undone by a chocolate hobnob. Well, several chocolate hobnobs. Picture the scene: an empty house, a mid-afternoon lull, a tin crammed full of delicious sugary oaty chocolaty hobnobbiness. Yes, that is a word. Suddenly, the box is open. No one will ever know, I think feverishly, ramming hobnobs into my mouth like a five year-old at a midnight feast.
I come out of my hobnob coma with a growing sense of paranoia. For reasons best known to myself, I decide to have a shower. And brush my teeth, just in case the postman spots a crumb between my gums and yells ‘IMPOSTER!’ when dropping off the mail. I’m left with a stinking sugar headache and serious concerns about my sanity.
In an attempt to get back on the wagon wholeheartedly, I purchase some ‘Noni Juice’. Miranda Kerr claims this is her biggest beauty secret – a Tahitian fruit, supposedly rich in all kinds of nutrients and youth-promoting goodness. It is eye-wateringly expensive (over 20 quid for a smallish bottle) and slightly worryingly, claims to be ‘raspberry flavour’. I am immediately suspicious of any fruit that needs to be flavoured with another fruit before its drinkable.
My worries are well founded. It is brown and smells like cheesy Ribena. Luckily, you only need to take two tablespoons of it a day, as I think an entire glass would truly finish me off. I had better wake up tomorrow looking at least five years younger, that’s all I’m saying.
I don’t look five years younger. But I don’t have a craving for hobnobs either so you can’t win them all. I work through a 90 minute hot yoga class, and even manage to meditate without getting interrupted, falling asleep or getting the giggles over something I watched on YouTube last night. If only every day could be this easy.
After last week’s disastrous attempt to train myself, I am determined to give this PT session all I’ve got. It was raining earlier, but now the sun’s coming through the clouds and I’m feeeeeeelin’ good (to be sung in the style of Nina Simone, obviously). This week involves a lot of boxing. Elena tells me to picture someone I don’t like and punch harder. I get irrationally angry with the really perky girl who kept trying to give me free hot chocolate at the station and imagine her in front of me saying ‘Oh go OOOON! NO ONE can turn down free hot chocolate! It’s just too chocolaty!’ BAM.
Saturday night at a Mexican restaurant, and some d**khead is eating guacamole off a spoon, because they can’t eat the tortilla chips. Oh wait, that’s me. I grudgingly hand over my half price margarita to a friend and try to look happy with my glass of water. I am starting to become the kind of person that I would avoid like the plague if I met them at a party, and this bothers me a lot. Without wishing to sound melodramatic, without the genuine, unbridled joy that comes with a really good table full of food, I feel a bit less like me. I was anticipating many things this month, but an existential crisis wasn’t one of them.
I decide to get over my life crisis with a visit to ‘The Countryside’ to see my mum. Her village is in full festival mode this weekend, complete with torch-lit processions and A FUNFAIR. I immediately regress by about 20 years, moan about how much I want some candyfloss, win a soft toy dog I really don’t need and spend half my salary on rides. A particularly competitive spin on the dodgems leaves me with an enormous bruise on my knee and an impressive limp. Is it bad that my first reaction is utter delight at the realisation that running will be off the menu for a while?
With one week to go, I’m still torn between enjoying the new superfit me and planning in intricate detail exactly what I’m going to eat when this is all over. Prosecco and banoffee pie, if you must know.
By Lisa Maria Garza
Sept 25 (Reuters) – A writer of fantasy books set in swamps of Florida and a primary care doctor in New Jersey are among 24 of America’s most creative and original thinkers who will each get $625,000 “genius” grants this year, a U.S. non-profit said on Wednesday.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has chosen 13 men and 11 women, who can spend the money how they wish, according to the organization.
The grant, up from $500,000 last year, will be paid out over the next five years.
New York-based fiction writer Karen Russell’s biggest worry two weeks ago was dealing with an insurance company about her stolen car. Russell, 32, now plans to continue her work of writing fantasy books, often set in the Everglades of Florida, where she grew up.
“What’s so great about this award is that it’s completely validating on so many levels,” Russell said. “It’s an unbelievable gift to get to dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to a fiction project.”
Since the program began in 1981, the foundation has provided grants to 873 fellows from a variety of fields. Scientists, scholars, artists and activists in the past have pursued their passions with a financial safety net from the foundation.
“Their stories should inspire each of us to consider our own potential to contribute our talents for the betterment of humankind,” the program’s Vice President Cecilia Conrad said in a statement.
Anonymous nominators and selection committees decide who gets a grant, and recipients usually do not know they are even being considered unless they win.
Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, 44, founded the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers after his private practice in New Jersey that cared mostly for Medicaid patients flopped.
Brenner said he discovered that a very small number of patients consumed a large share of the overall costs of health care and social supports in Camden.
That knowledge inspired him to construct a searchable database and geographic mapping of discharge data from all patients at Camden’s hospitals with the goal of reducing repeated emergency room visits and hospitalizations, which cause health care costs to increase.
“We worked for a lot of years in relative obscurity with not a lot of resources so it’s really nice to see the work we care about get recognized,” Brenner said.
Other recipients include a choreographer, medieval historian playwright, neuroscientist, immigration lawyer and a photographer. (Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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