I’m a fairly healthy person. I eat well, exercise regularly, don’t smoke and i drink in moderation but I do allow myself cheat days because, well, I just love food.
I wish I didn’t enjoy food, but I do, I’m the definition of the word foodie and I really don’t think that will ever change. Tomorrow I’m jetting off to warmer climates for a week of relaxation and as I will be spending the majority of my time wandering around in a bikini I, like most other people, want to look good. I’m also very aware that we have 7 days of all inclusive bar and buffet access, so before we go I’ve been attempting to shift a few extra lbs in order to help me feel a bit more beautiful in my bandeau and less guilty for that 5th sugar laden mojito of the morning.
But over the past two weeks of cutting back and ‘dieting’ I’ve ended up feeling more negative than positive and have come to the sweeping conclusion that all diets are rubbish.
Here are my reasons why:
1. Telling yourself you can’t eat something is like telling your brain not to think about polar bears. There, see – impossible.
Enforcing imaginary rules that certain foods are off limits will leave you a miserable shell of a woman within the first three hours of your diet especially when Sandra from accounting brings over a tray full of cakes for her birthday that everyone tucks into while you’re sat at your desk licking a Ryvita and wishing death upon them all. Allow yourself to eat whatever you want whenever you want, just ask yourself before you tuck in if you really do need it or want it and go from there. You’ll be surprised how strong your willpower is when it’s not being told what it can and can’t do by the diet police inside your brain.
2. Most ‘low fat’ ‘low calorie’ options are a complete jip.
Think you’re being a saint for eating that low fat chocolate muffin, or swapping your normal dinner for a low calorie ready meal you can count on one hand? Think again. Most of the ‘low fun’ alternatives are more than likely packed full of salt, sugar and other nasties to make up for the fact that their factory is a butter-free zone. And those low calorie meals for one? They’re all the size of a thimble when you peel back the film and leave you frantically sniffing that packet of digestives in the cupboard within minutes of putting your fork down. I say if you want the taste of your favourites then bloody well have them. I mean don’t pick up the phone to your local curry house and order the entire front side of the menu, but do ditch that ‘Be Good To Yourself’ child-size masala and whip up your own version with brown rice and zero fat yoghurt instead of cream. More than half the calories in a takeaway and it satisfies those cravings. It’ll also be filled with good stuff (no nasties) and it will actually fill you up unlike that depressing plastic-wrapped prison food sat in the chilled section of Sainsburys.
3. Calorie counting apps make you miserable. Simple as.
I started using one (Nutracheck for those wondering) to keep track of how detrimental my ‘cheat days’ were to my overall weekly calorie total and it turns out, VERY. The problem was I then became addicted to counting everything that passed my lips on my app and it made me incredibly depressed. These apps can be really useful as a guide but don’t take them as gospel – I found myself on a number of occasions sat clutching the Chinese takeaway menu rocking backwards and forwards whispering that we don’t have to tell the app, It will be our little chow mein secret. Normal.
4. Diets turn all women completely mental. Fact.
The moment you say you’re on a diet it triggers the crazy lady switch in your brain and suddenly anyone else eating any type of food is out to get you. Have you ever noticed how loud people chew before? Walking through town at lunchtime with the sights and smells of freshly baked pasties, plump looking sandwiches in windows and that cake shop that you’re pretty sure was sent from the devil to test you becomes a marathon of unbridled self-hatred for wanting to shove your face into Greggs big chicken bakes and motorboat them before drowning in an oily, flaky, pastry mess. And heaven forbid your other half enjoys a beer or a piece of chocolate at any point, even when you’re not around. You become a bloodhound sniffing out the Peroni he had down the pub three days ago when you were at the gym and hating every bone in his body for it. Diets make us crazy. Bat.Sh*t.Crazy.
5. It’s all about the confidence anyway (who let Gok Wan in?)
The truth is, Aunty G had it right. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, how many curves you have or the ratio of wobble to slim – if you know you look hot, then you look hot. I know telling you that men don’t notice that cellulite on your bum or that little roll of fat between your boob and your armpit is about as useful as a fork in a sugar bowl (mmmm sugar) but it’s true! They’re going to be spending more time looking at how great your bum looks in those skinny jeans or how amazing your bazoomers are in that bra, stop obsessing and love yourself how you are. A woman walking across a bar or a beach bursting with inner confidence and that little ‘yeah, I’m bloody gorgeous’ wiggle in her walk is going to turn heads and make men feel things in their pants department whether she’s a size 8 or a size 18. That girl however who’s hiding her tummy, shoulders slumped with her head down and that ‘please don’t look at my *insert list of insecurities here*’ look on her face isn’t going to get any heads turning whether she’s got the perfect body or not. Wake up every morning, look in that mirror and tell yourself ‘God damn I am a fine specimen of a woman’ not ‘Oh dear lord look at the size of that muffin top I’m never eating again’ – it’s not healthy and it’s not cool. You’d be amazed at what a bit of confidence can do for you, suddenly that diet doesn’t seem so important any more.
So if you’re currently cutting back on the cals and feeling like the universe hates you please remember that you’re not alone – go to the kitchen and get yourself whatever you want because that chocolate bar isn’t going to kill you and life is way too short to feel this miserable! I’m officially banning the word diet, and voting for healthy lifestyle changes over a normal period of time and making it mandatory to love yourself how you are because ladies, we’re fabulous and no amount of weight is EVER going to change that.
…now, where did I put those hot pants?