Monday 5 September 2011


St Benoit Du Sault, darkest France
I’ve worked out why New Year is such a damp squib for me: It’s not exhaustion after the effort of Christmas for all that New Year/New You stuff or a lack of enthusiasm for a Brave New Dawn when there’s only three hours of daylight, it’s that January is not my physiological, or psychological fresh start. No, my internal clock is set to start the year afresh in September, after the long summer break – well, a fortnight away from work – and whilst there’s still a glimmer of sunshine around to keep one feeling optimistic and encouraged. Long after leaving school, the imprint of the school year’s rhythm is still so strong that September always seems to offer a much more promising clean slate.

We spent our holiday in La France Profonde – it was so profonde that I spent my first fortnight in nearly ten years without an internet connection. Even my work Blackberry could only summon up one bar of signal if I went to the other end of the village, which was a marvellous excuse for staying out of touch with the office, and our only contact with the outside world was an occasional text from my mother. The world didn’t stop turning on its axis without Facebook or Twitter, but I did realise what a time thief twitter has been. I adore twitter, and there are few better ways to fritter away the idle minute, but fewer tweets could mean more time to spend doing other things. It’s no coincidence that I became a much more infrequent blogger when I joined twitter. Twitter has its place - and it's huge fun - but there are things which require more than 140 characters.

And so I made La rentrée resolution #1: see if life without twitter means a revival of the blog.

We spent part of our holiday in a very prettily restored 16th century town house in one of Les Plus Beaux Villages en France – the village itself is a walled medieval town, which despite its size, boasts three hairdressers, two butchers and three bakers. I love the morning ritual of going off to the boulangerie to buy bread, crisp and still warm from the oven, but if I ever see another baguette, it will be too soon. Between the baguettes and the vast quantities of wine I managed to put on six pounds to add to the ten I’d put on after a year eating cake and drinking cocktails, which wasn’t any the less depressing for being inevitable. If I don’t arrest the growth of my waistline between now and Christmas, I predict this blog will become nothing more than an endless series of whinging about not fitting into any of my clothes.

Hence, La rentrée resolution #2: Do the Dukan diet.

I’m not really a great one for punishing regimes – I lost the three stone I put on when pregnant with the Tiniest Trefusis by joining Weightwatchers, which was very effective, but I need something quicker and more ascetic. Two friends have done Dukan with absolutely amazing results too, which is quite encouraging. Anyway, according to the Dukan website, if I start now I’ll get to my goal weight by October 28th: sounds do-able. Hmm, I've just looked at my diary - I have a wine-tasting tonight and dinner with one of my very best friends on Wednesday, I think I'll start the Dukan on Thursday....

There were a few other tweaks and changes I decided to make too – but I think two main resolutions are enough to be going on with, and certainly the twittering and Dukan-ing will require daunting amount of self discipline. I shall let you know how I get on.

Update: 5th October - the Dukan does work - it's not a healthy long-term solution, I don't think, and certainly it's probably best if you have only a small amount of weight to lose, but it was easy enough to drop the few pounds that stood between me and a comfortable fit to my clothes.


sabel said...

Dear Mrs T., I come occasionally to your blog because I really like your writing, but rarely comment. I don't feel the need. But reading about your intention of doing the Dukan (aka Dukon in France) thing, I am very surprised. He has just lost in a key trial in France and has been shown to be a money-motivated conman giving out dangerous advice. His "method" has also been discredited and proven to be useless in the medium to long term. And it really beats me how anyone could contemplate eating only crab sticks, slices of ham and lean chicken for a main meal for days on end. I saw my sister attempt it, then give up after a couple of weeks, and it was simply gag-inducing. If you read French, I recommend books written by Dr Zermati. Very enlightening.
My apologies for the unsollicited advice, I just hate intelligent women getting dragged into what I see as pernicious nonsense.

Sally said...

Mrs Trefusis

I love your Blog and follow you on Twitter [I hear you regarding the time consumption!]. Please continue to Tweet (and blog for that matter)

Regarding the *ahem* avoirdupoids, may I recommend something I have found to be invaluable (with which I have no affiliation incidentally: just personal experience)?

My Fitness Pal dot com is a free website which will calculate your daily intake of calories for loss. You then fill in the online food diary from a database which contains every food/brand you could want (it is updated by site users]. This lets you eat ANYTHING so long as you don't go over your allowance. You can also log exercise calories earned.

It is very much like WW in this regard but no faddy points calculating.

It is sensible and it works. You don't have to be involved in the "online community" whatnot if you want to stay private.

Dukan strikes me as too fussy and not a normal way to eat but I make no judgment on your choice. Chacun a son regime!

Helen Brocklebank said...

Hi Sabel - that's really interesting - and an interesting pice in nouvel observateur: thank you for posting the link. I have a couple of friends who've done very well with Dukan, but it is very hardcore. I'll definitely look out Dr Zermati (Mr Trefusis can help me with the tricky bits - his french is very much better than mine)
And Sally, My Fitness Pal sounds very much worth a look - again, thank you for bringing it to my attention.
I'm a hopeless dieter really: As Oscar Wilde said, 'I can resist anything except temptation'. ;)

Joanne Noragon said...

Thank you; so glad to see a new post. I enjoy your writing and check for more every morning before I go to work. I knew the long drought would end. Satisfactorily.

Rose said...

hello! I had no internet for one weekend in Wales (and no phone signal) and it forced all kinds of interesting thoughts from me. I must say I think I felt calmer, less anxious that I was missing things.

I have also neglected my blog badly and it is something I love but sometimes I feel by the time I write a post I'm bored with it, if that makes sense- I too will be endeavouring to do more blogging- I hope you can because I really enjoy your writing style.

With regards to boresome diets I do agree about my fitness pal- it sort of scolds you- though it's quite easy to just not tell it about the odd latte/ glass of wine- what it doesn't know won't hurt it!

My friend did Dukan, I think it works but she did have to just eat pieces of fish whenever we went out and of course it didn't last because no diets do- it is a cruel truth that desk jobs do not think people make

Unknown said...

France sounded wonderful. I did buy the Dukan book but got no further. Instead, vowed to run with the dog once a week. Yet to lose any weight but feel better for it. Can't bring myself to leave twitter, I'm far too nosy.

Unknown said...

Good luck!

I feel the same way about La Rentrée. Fresh start.

Unknown said...

I have the Dukan Diet book on my bedside table, but I am yet to find the 'right time' to start...I keep thinking if I put it under my pillow I'll lose the 5 kilos I need to overnight.

Delusional is not the word.

Helena xx

Alison Cross said...

oh you've blogged!!! Huzzah!!! What a nice thing to discover as I puruse the intertubes as a way to wind down after the pairings were announced on Strictly!!!

I don't know a thing about the Dukan diet, but have seen the book. It was cellophaned shut. I was wondering whether the contents might have been censor-worthy.

*pops open the Pringles and waits to hear about the excitement of the new diet*

So glad that you're back!

Ali x

Patience_Crabstick said...

I've been doing the Dukan diet and I rapidly lost ten pounds and have now reached a plateau, although I have been cheating. You do get awfully sick of non-fat Greek yogurt. I'm sorry to hear he's been exposed as a charlatan because I felt like this diet was actually working for me.