Well, what a rubbish few days! Work went a bit ARGHH and then just as things were settling down, the events of New Zealand happened, Paris Jackson attempted suicide and Mike from Love Island sadly took his own life.
Talk about putting things into perspective. It certainly has for me.
We get so caught up in our own lives or expressing our unwanted opinions in other people’s lives that it takes something monumental to pull us back into the ‘real world’.
I was sitting on the sofa scrolling through Instagram and YouTube (standard), and once again everyone was promoting their videos/photos as ‘gluten free’, ‘dairy free’, and ‘refined sugar free’ and I couldn’t help but think to myself “what has this world come to?!” Is this truly all we care about?
No amount of ‘free’ will make you #health.
Not that I’m defining weight loss as ‘health’ but that’s what the majority of these posts imply. If you’re trying to lose weight, the only true way is to go into a calorie deficit. Whether this consists of eating 1500 calories of donuts or 1500 calories of salad, you will still lose weight* – it’s just how healthy you want to be during the process. And before anyone suggests this is a lie, I lost 35lbs on diet shakes, Starbucks hot chocolate and Dominos. I would in no way recommend it but it did happen.
On the back of this is the ongoing battle between Paleo, Whole 30 and Keto. Cutting out processed food isn’t a revolutionary new thought – it’s what our Government recommendations mostly are (The Eat Well Guide in the UK and I know the USA and Australia have similar versions). Perhaps if the Government stopped trying to force Theresa May into having a breakdown over Brexit (not that I’m pro Theresa, but she’s been dealt a rubbish hand), they could perhaps spend 5 minutes reminding everyone that they published a guide on how to eat a healthy diet. It’s not rocket science that chemicals and large amounts of sugar with no nutritional value are not exactly going to be good for our body; it’s just the dieting industry is excellent at promoting that going ‘free’ will make up for the lack of will power and creating habits that are actually required in losing weight.
What the dieting industry forgot to mention is the importance of micronutrients – the vitamins and minerals that keep your body running efficiently. Clean eating came close, but has sadly implied that processed food is the devil. It’s true that by the time you whack your ready meal in the microwave and blast it to death, you are no doubt saying goodbye to the last of the vitamins and minerals in the few vegetables that are cut up inside. I’ve also been reliably informed that chips and cheese don’t bring much to the table either. However, surely there’s a better way to promote healthy eating without giving rise to an increase in eating disorders.
You may also be aware that refined sugar was put through the mill recently (WHAT A PUN!) and I was looking into this (as much as one can at 7am on a Sunday morning). You get zero nutritional value for a lot of calories, and there is some discussion around sugar leading to inflammation, dry skin and fatigue etc (we already know it rots the teeth). Sugar alternatives such as stevia, maple syrup, honey and coconut sugar offer more bang for your buck BUT if we were supposed to eat how the Eat Well Guide suggests, we shouldn’t be consuming much refined sugar in the first place.
Likewise, we’ve seen the rise of the ‘healthy fat’. Again, just another fashion statement. The Eat Well Guide suggests we eat 30% (ish) unsaturated (healthy) fats and just 5% saturated (animal) fat a day.
Then there was a sudden realisation that excess protein can cause you to gain body fat. This might also be because of the whole calorie deficit thing but ya know…
Anyway, what I wanted to say was not that ha. I often find online HUGE arguments about the ‘right’ way to eat to lose weight; normally the people who are pushing to cut certain food groups out. But on the back of the events of the end of this week, does it really matter?! Life is so unpredictable so should we really spend our days arguing with each other about if we ate too much gluten or dairy (unless you have an intolerance) or we dared consume something that was not cooked from scratch. In the grand scheme of things, this is barely a problem.
I’m in no way saying that I sit here on my laptop (that is beginning to overheat, eek) being all perfect. I am FAR from perfect. One of the reasons I have become interested in nutrition is because of my never ending skin complaints, easy weight gain and struggles in losing the spare tyre (or two). I know I eat far too much sugar, consume too many sweeteners and snack too much. But I am trying.
Can’t we just support each other? Congratulate each other on trying to live a healthier lifestyle? The people getting on their high horses about different diet plans will always say they are ‘supporting the consumer’ – you know, whilst encouraging said consumer to sign up to their plan which is so much better.
The thing is there are a zillion diet plans out there, some of which work wonders for some people but not others. I have learnt over time that I can’t stand people dictating to me what I can and can’t eat and would end up eating more of the high calorie foods out of rebellion. As I am yeast intolerant, I have to cut out certain foods and it’s amazing how easy it is when it’s a choice between a slice of bread or sitting on the toilet for a few hours (sorry). However, I would put good money on the fact that if I could eat yeast, I’d be all over bread and pizza.
Due to my skin complaints I will continue to experiment with sugar and try and find a good amount that works for me. I don’t know if sugar is a problem but it would make sense seeing as sugar and yeast have a somewhat complex relationship. However, if it makes no difference I will return to making better choices around the types of sugar I consume (when it’s in my control), but I need to try something as it’s rubbish waking up at 3am because you’re legs are covered in rashes (then I’ll go to the doctors, I promise).
Whatever happens, I will not obsess over striving for perfection in how to eat (I mean I’m pretty rubbish at it anyway). I don’t want to be 95, about to pop my clogs and regretting how many years I spent worrying about my weight.
*1500 calories is an example of a calorie deficit. This will vary depending on the individual.