Yes, let’s talk about food, because if there’s one thing I’ve realised over the last few years it’s that our relationship with it is REALLY f*cked up. Like really.
And I’ve fallen for it massively. From the time when I was a teenager that I was super proud of the days I managed to eat less than 500 calories a day, to buying weird “5-day detox” kits in Boots and living off vegetable soup for 2 days before I caved and ordered a pizza. I’ve tried the 5:2 diet, Atkins, and fallen hook line and sinker for clean-eating nonsense.
I’ve obsessed over my high BMI, thought sugar was the devil and fat was the enemy, stocked up on the latest Super Food and yo-yo dieted my way through much of my adult life with the belief that 1500 calories a day was surely the MOST I could possibly need to eat.
Then I started doing some real reading. It started when I started running. I subscribed to Runners World magazine and although it loves an occasional super food, it was the start of actually learning to think of food as fuel, rather than the enemy.
When I discovered Roller Derby, and then weights room at the gym I broadened my reading a little further and discovered that outside of the world of Women’s Magazine and the latest glossy diet books in WH Smiths the world of Sports Nutrition actually thinks about Calories a little differently. Apparently, and who’d have thought it, we actually need calories for our bodies to function.
Turns out carbohydrates aren’t the devil, and white bread doesn’t kill you, but it can cause your blood sugar to spike more than a wholegrain bread. But it turns out that sometimes actually you might want that sugar spike anyway and if you need some quick energy, then, hey, have some sugar!
These days I try and balance my diet. And I mean really balance it. We live in a world where it’s absurdly easy to over eat, so I do keep a food diary, and I do count my macros, but not religiously. It’s just a way of keeping an eye that my diet is balanced that works for me.
Most days my diet has fruit, vegetables, grains, lean meats, fish and dairy in it. I eat avocados, bananas, oats, chocolate and ice cream. I eat somewhere around 2000-2300 calories a day most days and my weight stays pretty stable (apart from Christmas, lets not talk about Christmas, all bets are off at Christmas).
But I still see so many people split their food into “bad” and “good”. Active women on Instagram claiming they are being naughty eating a doughnut. Women’s magazines sharing the diet plans of celebrities who apparently survive solely on grilled chicken, avocado and water and have literally no joy in their lives.
Good food is one of life’s pleasures, and that includes doughnuts and pizza, as well as a really well made grilled chicken salad, with dressing.
So, it’s about time we stopped judging our moral worth by how many cupcakes we ate today and got on with enjoying life. If you want to lose weight, you can do it without demonising cheese or bread, and if you don’t then remember, your body can function just as well on a cheese sandwich as it can on quinoa and avocado, just make sure you fling some fruit and veg in there and keep your diet varied.