I’ve always rejected the idea of dieting, almost on principle: they’re faddy, pander to idealised body images, they’re substitutes for fulfilment, and – most damaging I guess – they simply don’t work.
Over the past few months, however, I’ve changed my mind as I’ve been following one diet in particular – the Fast Diet. This diet has no difficult rules to follow* and doesn’t involve constant deprivation; it just involves eating up to about 20% less.
For those who are not familiar with the principles, the idea is to ‘fast’ for two days a week and eat what you like the other five days. It’s not a complete fast on those two days – men can eat 600 calories and women 500 – but the idea is to go as long as possible without food.
The main motivation for me was not so much weight loss – I was reasonably happy being a bit porky. However, there is a widely-held view that the slightly chubby demeanour that passes these days as normal for western societies leads to a whole host of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The principle of the fast diet is that, instead of your body constantly processing food, it’s beneficial to have some downtime where it can perform essential maintenance to repair cells, deal with toxins and so on.
However (and why I’m blogging about this here!), I would also suggest that this diet is very much in tune with the principles of Transition. Eating around one-fifth less is good for society as well as individuals: 20% less energy/carbon is needed to grow, cook and transport our food and, in principle at least, there is more room for wildlife if the diet’s adopted by a large enough number of people. If the diet really has the claimed health benefits then it would also mean less strain on our health services.
I’ve also found the diet to be personally transformative beyond (I feel I have to admit!) rather liking the new slim-line me. I’m saving money, I feel more vital – all that food was making me sluggish – and my life is newly-liberated knowing that if I don’t eat at a set time, I’ll won’t just expire on the spot. For me, fasting also allows a better connection with my spiritual needs (there has to be a reason most religions recommend fasting in some shape or form).
Perhaps the killer point is that fasting opens up much more time. For two days a week, I get up later, have a shorter midday break and I don’t need to cook in the evening…or do the washing-up. Just think how much transitioning we could achieve with all this time to do other stuff.
* Although most people take a while to work out a routine that works for them; for me, I skip breakfast, have a very late lunch of a boiled egg and banana and a small bowl of cereal in the evening
As winter starts to take its hold, it’s nice to reminisce about days spent on the hills as some of us were diligently clocking off the viewpoints that made up Clock New Mills.
For those who need a reminder, Clock New Mills was a walking challenge where participants walk to twelve (mostly elevated) places around New Mills from where the town can be seen (‘clocked’) and collect sponsorship money towards solar panels for New Mills School roof. (More details here: http://www.transitionnewmills.org/page8.htm)
It felt a joyous activity – a chance to revisit some familiar places, perhaps from different angles, and an opportunity for unexpected and less well-trod sights, such as The Lantern in Lyme Park. And the total money raised was £406.25, including Gift Aid. We’d like to thank everyone who took part.
For those of you who were paying attention, we offered two prizes for the whackiest and most challenging ways of clocking New Mills and a further prize for the most money raised. We didn’t feel anyone quite deserved either of the first two prizes but Hazel Ashworth (aged 6) put in a fantastic performance to raise £125. So very well done indeed to Hazel – she gets a free meal at Simply Indian.
We would like to run Clock New Mills again in 2014 – if you have any comments about how it may improve or what it would take for you to join in, please do let us know.
Of course, it’s not too late to donate to Solar Schools, so if you’re feeling minded, visit http://www.solarschools.org.uk/newmills/
Meanwhile, as we finish off the remains of our Christmas meals, everyone involved in Transition New Mills would like to wish all our members and supporters a happy, healthy and peaceful 2014.
Special thanks go to the Clock New Mills team of: Judy Daborn, Jacqui Gadd, Karl Sinfield, Maggie Cole, Alex Bond and Mike Daw for making Clock New Mills possible.
For those of you who don’t yet know, Clock New Mills is a sponsored challenge to walk to twelve viewpoints around New Mills shaped (roughly!) like a clock face from where you can see (‘clock’) the town. The idea is to raise money to contribute to putting solar panels on the roof of New Mills School. As a Transition Initiative, we want to encourage low carbon and healthy fundraising: you don’t need to fly all the way to Peru to trek to Machu Picchu for this kind of thing, especially when we live in such a beautiful part of the world as it is.
Are you involved? If not, there’s just about time to get your boots on and do the twelve walks because they have to be completed by the time the clocks go back at the end of October.
And if you need any incentive other than the warm glow that comes from doing a good thing (and indeed from the calorie-busting exercise), there are prizes for most money raised, whackiest and most challenging way of doing the walks.
Here’s news of an upcoming event that may be of interest. It’s a Clean Energy Event on Saturday 31 August 2013 run by the Co-operative.
It’s starts at 10am with a visit and tour of Stockport Hydro (picking up at Stockport Town Hall), followed at noon by a ‘marketplace’ of local community groups and initiatives in Stockport Masonic Guildhall, including your very own Transition New Mills, Torrs Hydro and New Mills Solar School, but also the Energy Saving Trust, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust and others.
There’ll be presentations from Colin Baines of Clean Energy Revolution about fracking and another from our very own Richard Body, MBE.
To finish off, you can even take advantage of a free lift back when a coach will be coming here for a tour of Torrs Hydro.
Sign up and read more about it here: http://www.co-operative.coop/join-the-revolution/our-blog/clean-energy-revolution/join-us-for-community-energy-fortnight/
I attended a excellent workshop a while ago that provided training and guidance on how to execute low carbon projects and bring your community with you. The workshops are being held again. So if you have a hankering to erect a wind-turbine, give Archie some company or slap some solar panels around the town, you’d do worse than attend one of these events. Here’s the info I got emailed. If you go, do let us know how it went and if you want to apply your new-found knowledge in New Mills…
Have booked your space at the next PlanLoCaL community energy event?
Are you involved with a community group through work or in a voluntary capacity which would benefit from resources and guidance on low carbon projects?
The four events in Birmingham, Manchester, London and Bristol will explore community approaches to energy efficiency and the Green Deal, showcasing the brand new PlanLoCaL toolkit and featuring some excellent guest speakers. You can sign up via the links below.
The different events will feature speakers from DECC, Green Deal Advice Midlands Ltd, Carbon Co-op, Energise Barnet, Bristol Green Doors, Birmingham Social Enterprise Energy Network, Co-operatives UK Community Shares Unit, as well as more to be confirmed!
And workshop sessions will include: Exploring roles in Green Deal; Understanding your area; Identifying funding; Managing Risk; Writing a community engagement strategy; Planning permissions; Housing Assessment Tool; Energy efficiency game.
We are able to offer travel bursaries to community group volunteers, and all attendees will get a free copy of the new PlanLoCaL pack. But sign up soon as places are filling up quickly!
Friday 5 July | The Priory Rooms, Birmingham | http://planlocalbirmingham.eventbrite.co.uk
Saturday 6 July | Bridge 5 Mill, Manchester | http://planlocalmanchester.eventbrite.co.uk
Friday 12 July | Roots and Shoots, London | http://planlocallondon.eventbrite.co.uk
Saturday 13 July | Create Centre, Bristol | http://planlocalbristol.eventbrite.co.uk
Please feel free to pass these details on to your contacts. There’s more information in the attached flyer.
CSE Communities team
See www.planlocal.org.uk/planlocal-energyefficiency-and-community-green-deal to view the new toolkit.