分量をいつもの半分にした夕飯の一品。このやり方なら無理なく体重を減らせるかも？！ JACKIE HOFFART PHOTO
I'm opposed to dieting, morally. I hate the way dieting culture makes people, especially women, feel inadequate. I don't know a single woman (regardless of her size) who doesn't think she needs to lose weight.
If people spent half the energy they spend worrying about their weight on trying to improve their level of fitness, or nutrition, or mental health, I think the world would be a better place.
But if I'm honest, I also have to say that I have been gaining weight slowly and steadily these past few years. I am starting to feel like I need to fight back a bit harder at it. It's like I'm losing a game I don't even want to be playing.
So, in order to morally sanction going on a diet, I've started what I call "the Julie Andrews diet." I read in her autobiography (which is excellent, by the way — get the audiobook, she reads it!) that the only diet she could ever abide was eating half of whatever was put in front of her. She didn't change her diet; she just halved the portions.
I've set about doing this, but I must admit it hasn't been going very well. It's so hard to halve your meals without wasting the other half, or being rude to the person who made it. But I will keep trying and report back in a little while.
I often write at the end of my columns that I wish to continue with the challenges I took up. Since we've reached the 10th column, let's look back and see how well I've done.
My first challenge was to quit smoking (April 22 issue). I've had no problem keeping that up, I'm a happy nonsmoker! The next one was about walking 3 km a day, to and from work (May 6). I'm happy to report that I have pretty much stuck with that one, too. I probably take the free shuttle bus once every 10 trips — not bad! Then, there was the one about "disconnecting," or staying away from the Internet (May 20). Since that challenge ended, I've gone right back to being constantly connected. Maybe I should start having one or two nights a week where I don't turn on the computer at home ...
The next one was about letter-writing (June 3). I haven't written a single letter since that challenge ended. How shameful! I still have all of those stamps I bought. I must be more diligent about writing letters, especially before I leave the U.K.
With the talking-to-strangers challenge (June 17, July 1), I have continued to push myself. I recently attended a full-day course on my own on a Saturday and then joined some people from the course at a pub afterward. Even though I didn't know anyone, I was able to have several long conversations and had a really good time.
I haven't given up caffeine (July 15), but I've managed to stick to one cup a day (sometimes I will have two). I feel I've earned it since that challenge was so hard! The most recent one was about applying for a job (Aug. 5). Despite that job not turning out, I had a different phone interview just last week that went well! So I'm feeling optimistic there.
Next time: What if I ... speak French?
I would like to thank readers for their kind letters and emails. It's exciting for me to see the range of English writing skills you have (the Japanese ones are translated for me). I was especially touched by Mogami-san's and Yamaguchi-san's responses to the "What if I talk to strangers" piece. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone!
To Nakajima-san from Kyoto: There are many foods I find difficult to eat, but after living in Japan, I feel I can try anything. I like to surprise people by eating whatever is their strangest regional food. Just this weekend I tried andouillette sausages in France, which are basically tripe. It was edible, but I wouldn't say I really liked it.
Kanomata-san: It can be difficult to find really good coffee in Japan. I wonder if you can order some online and have it delivered. That way you can stay out of the heat!