A few days ago, I saw this article titled something ridiculous like “How one woman went from obese to bikini body”. I clicked on it only because of the picture – a before picture of a really huge, flabby, sad looking woman and an after shot of her looking absolutely incredible in a bikini.
I thought instantly, “Wow, I wish I could look like that in a bikini!”
So, like all suckers for advertising, I read the article. It was something about her following some sort of low carb diet which pretty much rules out everything I like to eat – nothing starchy and nothing sweet, not even fruit.
This leaves you with no much more than cucumber sticks, hommous and steamed fish.
A few weeks before that, I met an old family friend, an adorable old uncle who is now 80, fit as a fiddle, glowing, active and more alert than I am on my best days. Since finding out that his arteries were getting blocked, he’s been on a raw vegan diet – just giant bowls of raw vegetables with nothing more than one tablespoon of Lingam’s chilli sauce and one tablespoon of olive oil for dressing.
It all sounds wonderful but in the midst of all this diet information overload, I’ve come to realise this one very important absolute truth about myself: I actually really hate salads, and unless it’s smothered in a delicious Caesar salad dressing, loaded with croutons, tasty cheese and giant olives, I’m not eating it.
I’ve also just been on that TRA diet thing right? And while it really wasn’t very restrictive, I still just really didn’t like having to follow rules – when to eat, what to eat, how much you should eat, foods to avoid etc
The universal truth about dieting and food is that the more you’re told that you can’t eat something, the more you want to eat it. So following the diet may really yield some fantastic results and make you lose weight or whatever, but it will also make you just feel bloody miserable all the time.
The flipside to this truth is that if you’re allowed to eat it, you don’t necessarily want it anymore. Just relax about it, listen to your body and what it wants, and you’ll find that you’ll end up eating just enough of what’s good for you.
So I’ve decided: no more diets. No more avoiding of or demonising of foods. No more measuring out exact portions of protein vs carbs vs veg. No more of feeling guilty about eating a chocolate chip cookie, or three (which I baked myself, thank you very much, and which taste amazing).
Then I saw this, by the amazing Isabel Foxen Duke my new favourite person:
“The only answer to fear around food, is allowance, more allowance, and deeper still allowance. If you are a veteran of this work, you may not even be conscious of all the ways in which you are still restricting yourself, but let your “lack of control” remind you. Lack of Control = Lack of Allowance = Binge Waiting To Happen.”
(read the rest of the delicious wisdom here)
I was also just talking to a friend about this who reminded me that really, we all actually already know what we should be eating, what’s going to be good for us, what’s going to make us feel good. It’s whether we choose to listen to what we already know or not. We just know, she said. And that’s enough.
So. Just eat.
You’ll know what you need to eat – how much, what of, when to start and when to stop.
See, Shantini’s sister had it right all along with her “how you feel” diet which is not even really a diet).
No more diets, really. Just more of listening to the body.