My younger cousin Cathee, who turned 18 last year, sent me this great article she wrote after a month of trekking in India. I thought given it’s diet & health message, I’d share it with you here.
When I think back to when I was 18, there were social pressures to be ‘thin’ and ‘pretty’, but the only people you had to compare yourself with were girls in your school or town. Perhaps you’d occasionally wonder why you didn’t look like some of the celebs on TV or in Magazines. But usually, if you were going to compare yourself to somebody, it was your peers, not the entire world as seen through photoshop or a heavily edited social media feed. You also didn’t have a constant stream of conflicting information about what you should or shouldn’t eat in order to fit this perfect ideal.
And I’m grateful for that.
However, it’s so refreshing to see a generation of media savvy girls (and boys!) rising up, taking a stand against stereotypes, rejecting the fads and taking charge of their health.
I loved reading this.
I hope you enjoy.
Why I Refuse To Go On Another Fad Diet
“You should try paleo”
“You should try this, I found it in a magazine”
“You should stay away from carbs”
“You NEED carbs”
“You shouldn’t eat fat”
“You should ONLY eat fat!”
Yes, these statements contradict each other. But these are all things that I have been told, or heard whilst trying to lose weight. I remember one day, talking about the jacket potato that I planned to have at lunchtime and have someone tell me that by eating that jacket potato, I would get fat. I also remember watching people sit and nibble on one measly slice of cake, every lunchtime and refusing to eat anything else, in the hope of losing weight. Because you know, “one slice of cake contains less calories than a bowl of pasta…” Really?! Nice try! I am not being funny, but when was the last time you saw J-Lo nibbling on a slice of cake in an attempt to gain a “bikini body”!? Although, nothing would surprise me! Nowadays, the diet and weight loss industry is a multi-million pound business, because we ALL want one thing: to look good, and for most people, that means losing weight!
Personally, I think we are too paranoid about our weight. A healthy mind and body should be all we have to aim for, but then again, if you are like me, you know you are healthy, but wouldn’t mind shifting the odd few pounds to feel a bit more comfortable.
But how do we do it?
Apparently, through dieting and exercising until you have burnt off every last calorie of that minimal calorie meal you ate at lunchtime. But tell me this, when was the last time you stuck to one of those fads or quick fix diets? We are constantly being thrown information from everywhere and everyone and it’s all getting a bit chaotic. Well, I am going to tell you a secret…
The secret to feeling better about food is not in magazine, diet pills or cake (unfortunately!)…
It’s not obsessing!
I have tried many a diet, and reached points where I wouldn’t eat a thing, to points where I did nothing but eat! From one extreme to another, but I never lost weight for good. I would always put it back on because of one key thing: I was unhappy. My relationship with food was a mess, and it needed a little more than some marriage counselling…
It took a month of trekking in the Himalayas, in India…
Whilst trekking, we would walk for approximately 8 hours a day, burning a hell of a lot of energy! So when it came to refuelling ourselves, it would be 3 course meals and a lot of extra helping! By the time I had finished the trek, I was expecting to have a whole lot of weight gain, but I actually hadn’t. After the trekking phase, we spent the rest of the month exploring India, and during this time, we were only eating 3 meals a day, and those meals were made with fresh wholesome ingredients and we were eating huge portions! By the time we got home, I found that I had still managed to lose weight. I was proud of my body, working that hard and I felt like at the end of every day, it deserved that extra fuel!
For the next few weeks, I was only eating when I was physically hungry and I found that my sweet tooth had gone because what was going into my body was just good, simple stuff. No low fat brands, no sugar free products and even the odd sweet thing. I was still exercising, but I was only eating when I was truly hungry, and I was eating the right stuff. In fact, I forgot about my old, obsessive ways, I was just doing my thing.
I ended up losing half a stone. And considering that I never had to give up carbs, or fats or even chocolate, I was really surprised. I realised that while in a developing country, I understood the importance of food. Not only is food a source of valuable energy, but it is a privilege. While many people are begging for scraps of food, we are here taking it for granted. We either over-indulge, or we waste it. When was the last time you looked at your plate and thought “I didn’t have to beg for my food, this meal came really easily for me, and I am lucky.
We have grocery stores and markets and fresh food supplies within such easy reach nowadays, we need to go out and take advantage of what we have! Instead of limiting what we eat, we should be out there stocking up on fresh fruit and veg, feel good foods, like pasta and rice and lots of bright, colourful, good stuff!
I have had a conversation with someone recently where we were talking about heathy eating. And while they told me about how they simply adored living on a strict no-carb, sugar free diet, I admitted that I just wasn’t into that. They even suggested that next time I am hanging out with my friends, I should just swap our usual popcorn and pizza, to nuts and seeds….
Nope. I don’t think me and my mates are the type of people who are willingly going to sit around eating nothing but bird food on our occasional movie night sesh…(even if it is better for you!)
I’ve realised it’s okay to enjoy food. Why do we punish ourselves for being food lovers, and why do we let our bodies and minds suffer? As soon as I stopped obsessing about how much I ate, or feeling bad for allowing myself to eat treats, I relaxed, and I found myself less prone to comfort eating because I “messed up”!
Too many of us become miserable because we make food into this horrible thing. It’s a burden and it’s sinful, but the moment we stop this nonsense, we can start focusing on the important things, like being happy!
So let’s just imagine a world where we don’t count calories, and we don’t ban ourselves from chocolate; where it is okay to enjoy a glass of wine and nice bit of cheese, and we don’t need to go for a 10 mile run afterwards! Stop listening to what the fad diets say, and listen to what the experts say.
Food is good!
Just try it for a week, no calorie counting, no obsessing and just eating what feels right and listen to your body, rather than Beyonce’s personal trainer! And you can be assured, life is just a little bit easier!