[insert name of any diet]-diet. If you follow it, you’ll consume less food or calories overall and lose weight. That tends to be how most diets work – eat fewer calories over a period of time. They often work very well, often quite quickly. So well in fact, that once you’ve come off them, after a period of time you go back on them, to lose the weight you’ve gained. Because it worked so well the first time… See where I’m going with this?
I’m suggesting we stop the roller coaster. That we work instead to change our relationship with our body and what we put in it that means we never again bore ourselves or others with ‘I’m on a diet’, ‘I’m being good today’ / ‘I’ve been bad today…’, that we try to change the internal indulge-feel-guilty-diet-indulge cycle. The eating in times of stress, loneliness or boredom.
That you set yourself free to do and eat stuff that feels good to do and eat. Not just right now, as you’re eating it, but afterwards too. That we consider ourselves important enough, fabulous enough and worthy enough to take care of with balance and self love.
For what its worth, heres a snapshot of my weekend. On Saturday we had friends over for dinner. We drank Prosecco out of fancy glasses – just because. We had dinner… Italian pork with crackling, piles of buttery pasta and roasted veggies. We drank wine, and then ate cheesecake… had lots of laughs… then peppermint tea and bed around midnight. Fast forward to a nights sleep that probably wasn’t as long as it should have been, Sunday morning and a drink of hot water and lemon (kinda zingy on my fuzzy mouth), a ginger shot (an apple and an inch of ginger, juiced) and a large green smoothie (kale, spinach, celery, pineapple, lime, apple, pear and avocado). Out the house at 8.30am for rowing training. Around an hour hard rowing on a choppy sea and all traces of indulgence are well and truly blown away. Later my daughter and I walked and ran and played hide and seek in the woods with the dog.
I won’t bore you further with the minutiae or dinner table of my life – but this is what balance means to me.
I do the juicing vegetables thing and the walking every day, I do the intensive workout thing about 5 times a week. I do less yoga than I intend to, but I do some. I eat pretty much zero processed food. I like meat and butter and green vegetables and dark chocolate and occasionally wine. I really like food and I also really, really like moving a lot. None of this is a chore – its just what feels good.
Many healthier-than-me people choose to never, ever eat sugar or drink alcohol and to always get 8 hours sleep. Some less-healthy-than-me people may have stayed up later, or drunk a little more… they probably wouldn’t have juiced kale and spinach in the morning or done an hour’s intensive exercise in the rain and the cold (fair enough). This is none of my business. I have absolutely no, none, zero, nada, interest or desire to tell anybody how they should go about… well, anything really. I just know what things and foods make me + my loved ones feel good and happy, and try to do that as much as possible.
And in my line of work, I can of course advise others on how to eat and move to look and feel better if thats what you want. On the whole, that works out pretty well but my approach, like anyone’s approach, won’t be for everyone.
If you want to look and feel different, you have to change some stuff. You have to move and eat differently. HOW differently – well that is entirely, your decision. It depends how different you want to look and feel.
It is NO-one’s damn business what you want to eat or do. If you’re not hurting anybody… and you want to do or eat that (whatever that is) then do it or eat it. Do your thing and be judged by no-one. Don’t feel guilty about what you eat or ashamed or unhappy about your body. Love it – either as it is, or say ‘Hmm, might like to change that a little’ and then do things differently – things that feel good to do – to change it.
How do you find your balance? Does the mere idea of ‘health and fitness’ feel daunting? Overwhelming? Like deprivation? Or do you love the changes you’ve made? And if you got past the challenges to genuinely enjoying the changes – how did that work for you?