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Saturday, 25 March 2017

A Balanced Diet? by Fiona Lloyd


            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.



Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013 and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. You can find her on Twitter at @FionaJLloyd. Fiona is vice-chair of ACW and is married with three grown-up children.

12 comments:

  1. Well done to you on both! An inspiring article - I need to get going on both these challenges and you have got me thinking ☺️ x

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    1. Thank you - I'm still trying to work out exactly what a more balanced reading diet looks like!

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  2. 56? 56?!! Admit it - you were so hungry, you ATE the books :)

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    1. Only the chocolate-flavoured ones, honest!

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  3. Really good article. Thank you.

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  4. Thanks Fiona, that's good advice to balance out our reading for learning and entertainment. I'm not so good with the healthy eating ... it's all those frothy coffees while I'm reading!

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    1. It's taken me a while to get into good habits...and I still can't resist sticky toffee pudding!

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  5. Thanks for this, Fiona. I love your honesty and there is challenge in it for us, too.

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    1. Thanks, Janey - I'm hoping writing about it will make me be more self-disciplined.

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  6. That was fun, and kind of nourishing! Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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