I know I said exercise was one of my fav topics but food REALLY is my fav topic. Not only because I enjoy food but because I have personal experience of the effects of changing diets and I want to share this with you!
We eat food to survive. It is fuel. We need it to get through day to day life. Simple. However, over the years food has become the answer to everything: sad? Eat. Happy? Eat. Stressed? Eat. Socialising? Eat. Tired? Eat. The food industry is made up of billions of £££ so of course they are going to tell us all our problems can be answered, which has in turn transformed our relationship with something so simple (food) into one that is toxic!
Not only do we have the pressures of food companies but we have the pressures of new & different diets emerging being plastered all over our newsfeeds. Vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, keto, paleo, low fat high carb (LFHC), the list is endless. With so much evidence at our disposal, and so many new studies emerging about what is right and what is wrong, celebrities are posting their crazy diet ideas and promoting skinny pills/teas/coffee, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to know.
So first of all, let’s step back and change our relationship with food. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, maintain your weight or even just feel healthy, having a balanced diet is key. BALANCED.
I say this because a few years ago, I began to experience migraines and IBS which were causing real problems for me. It was suggested that rather than taking medication for IBS and the migraines that I simply changed my diet and introduce probiotics whenever the IBS flared up. Initially, (without sounding dramatic), it changed my life. I moved to a healthy carb & healthy fat diet meaning I completely ‘banned the beige’ (pasta, bread, rice, potatoes) and filled myself with healthy fats.
- My mood improved
- I felt more energised
- My concentration improved
- I became much fitter
- I lost weight (fat)
- The IBS calmed down A LOT.
I could go for longer without eating and my body began to run on my fat rather than carbs: I was able to run a marathon comfortably in under 4 hours having not eaten anything since the night before. Even more crazy was that I recovered from the run so quickly! My body did not feel under stress or in a great deal of pain that many people feel after marathons.
However, as time went on and I became more obsessed, I was thinking about food much more and found myself having a nasty relationship with it. I ended up eating such few carbs that when I did consume carbs/sugars I would feel very unwell. I was having awful diarrhoea, headaches, feeling very tired and even sometimes being sick. I did not ever treat myself and would go far too long without eating. I became obsessed with ketosis and fasting in an unhealthy way for me.
I came to the conclusion this was NO way for a 19 year old girl to live and therefore needed to regain a HEALTHY BALANCE. That meant consuming unprocessed foods, mainly plants, not too much and no snacking.
The point is, I learned from this experience and I believe it is important to experiment with what feels best for your body. Nurture your body through healthy foods and prioritise your health! Many people think not eating is doing them good. It’s not. Likewise by filling yourself with junk food, you are doing yourself no favours. Altering our diets towards having more balanced meals means we will be healthier and happier for longer.
Another MAJOR pet hate is diet pills/skinny pills/meal replacements etc… From the outset, they seem great! Take some pills, and magically you will have your ‘dream body’ within weeks!!! NO. There are so many negative effects of diet pills:
- increased heart rate and increased blood pressure
Oh so you thought that was bad!?
- Really disturb your digestive system
- Cause rectal bleeding
- Cause damage to your liver and kidneys
The list is endless and so are the horror stories… This being one of them.
YES this seems extreme but it is such a problem amongst us Gen Zers. We are surrounded by it with almost every celebrity promoting ‘skinny tea’ and ‘skinny coffee’ and it is hard to not believe it! BUT altering your LIFESTYLE and your FOOD choices is the real winner. YES it is hard work and NO it doesn’t happen overnight. But the effects are not just for a few weeks they last forever. Feeling healthy, strong and energised through food is the greatest feeling.
- Ditch the skinny pills
- Start with eating a balance of all food groups.
- Start with small steps and talk about your wins!
- Eat a wide range of vegetables and fruit (rainbow vibes)
- Don’t be frightened of healthy fats! Eat the avo’s, full fat dairy is also fine! Remember it is the trans fats are bad for you.
- Slowly ween yourself OFF the sugar.
- Oily fish- eat it! It is an amazing omega 3 source… and natural!
- Introduce a handful of seeds/nuts where you can!
- Experiment with fermented foods! This includes cultured unsweetened yogurt, miso and kefir to keep your good gut bacteria happily looking after your immune system and nervous system.
- Buy a water bottle and drink…water… lots of it! (2 litres everyday)
I apologise for the rant… But to conclude: I’m not saying not to ever eat a donut again or count every single calorie/gram of sugar in your diet but just be more aware of what you put into your body! Look after it! Only you can control what you put into your body.
Skinny? Nah… HEALTHY!