I have been struggling in the past little while (hmm, make that the past 3 years) to be disciplined with my eating. My focus has been keeping on top of my work and it is so easy to let things slide when you are constantly in ‘hustle’ mode! I know that if I ate better I would have more energy but it is so easy to get stuck in a rut and end up eating lots of snacks during the day.
So, as a result of a few conversations while I was in Austin (one was with James Clear who gave a great talk about building habits), I have decided to begin my sketching diet again!
It started in 2008: As part of a maintenance program for my big weight loss diet (lost 23kg in 5 months) I had to start to keep a food diary and record everything I ate and count calories. This seemed way too tedious, until I thought of drawing my food! For some reason this seems easier, and definitely more fun.
I had a wonderful time sketching everything I ate for a month – even though it got rather repetitive after a while. I continued to lose weight and the sketching really helped developed a lot of fast sketching techniques. The full set is found on my Flickr here.
I have tried it a number of times since, and whenever I stick with it for longer than 2 days, I always see results. The hard part is sticking with the sketching part!
The rule of the sketching diet is simple:
I MUST sketch at least the outline (or a paint a few shapes) before I have the first bite. Sketching food after the event from memory is not acceptable!
- By simply drawing my food I become more accountable not only for what I eat, but also the colours of my food – am I eating enough green?
- The additional time it takes to eat and sketch, slows me down and fills me up.
- There are huge benefits for my art too. It gives me something to sketch, something which is colourful and has a time limit (I don’t like eating cold food).
So that I don’t have to focus on what I should be eating, and to make the sketches full of variety (an important part of a sketching diet!) I am starting with Lite’n’Easy. All my food arrives at my door each week and all I have to do is stick with the plan and not eat anything extra – the only exception is that I am allowed to havecelery whenever I want! It’s not my ideal solution but I hope that it will help with my current lack of motivation to eat better.
So anyway, I have just begun but intend to keep this up for 4 weeks and will share my progress and art adventures along the way. Already I can see how beneficial it is for me to be painting my food each day as I prepare for my SketchingNow Watercolour online course. I’m pushing the limits in terms of speedy wet-in-wet watercolour sketching.
Ah! I have just made myself accountable for a big side project!
If you are interested, there are a few more articles on my sketching diet here.