Taboo subject alert. We don’t talk about this and we all smile and say that we’re “fine” and that we actually love celery because it’s so crunchy and delicious, and we have 742 different food intolerances. We are naturally skinny, good genetics, it’s effortless, lucky us. We love the taste of a protein shake. Thanks to the media promoting things like thigh gaps, size 0 models, supplements instead of real food, teeny tiny bikinis and more, pretty much every woman on the planet is left feeling inadequate. Since the millennium, being thin has been the norm and being anything larger than a size 6 (US) is considered plus size. We have seen celebrities battle with anorexia, coke addictions, clinical exhaustion and more (Nicole Richie, Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner… shall I name a few more?). And many of us have copied these behaviours because we thought it would make us thin, beautiful and happy. We did what we thought we were supposed to do, we listened to what the media told us and we copied the behaviours we learned. Does this sound familiar to you? Read on.
We have been taught that we have to “earn” our food. Fitness trackers have encouraged us to get in as many steps as we can, even if it means pacing up and down the driveway. Somewhere along the way, everyone became terrified of carbs. TV Shows like the Real Housewives depicted women slaving away with a personal trainer and then nibbling on a plate of salad. No wonder so many men and women are suffering from eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Fitness professionals stick to a very regimented lifestyle where meals are measured, macros are counted and workouts are structured. But for everyone else, the pressure to live, work and look like a million dollars is huge. Example: Bethenny Frankel has publicly denied having an eating disorder but on her reality show, she spoke about not wanting to exercise because then she ate more and felt like she had to then exercise more to balance out the extra food. THAT is disordered eating. THAT is a result of what we have learned and been taught and any shitty magazines or blogs that have published this type of content should be ashamed.
Ok, I realise I sound angry and bitter. Hear me out. We should be conscious of what we are eating, we should know what ingredients are in food and what our calorie input and output is. We should be supplementing if necessary and intaking probiotics, plant-based nutrition and clean whole foods. We should all cook more and scale back processed foods and refined sugar. This is all important for our health and I am a huge advocate of holistic nutrition. We should stay active, take the stairs when possible, walk to work if we can and keep fit. Most of my pay check is spent on kombucha, vegan protein powder, vitamins and protein bars. It’s shocking how much I spend on trying to be healthy and make sure I’m getting the right nutrition. But I tell myself that it’s money well spent. I love finding food and drink that tastes good AND makes me feel good, from the inside out.
What I do not condone is the media’s obsession over thinness, dress size and diet culture. We are bombarded with stupid advertisements for waist trainers and skinny detox teas. There are an overwhelming number of models, influencers and celebrities who are completely dishonest about the lengths they go to to stay as thin as they are. Fitness models shred themselves down to 10% body fat and then get breast implants to have the “perfect” body. These people project images of their lives, as if they are completely normal and their lifestyle is achievable. Please remember: these people do not work 9-5 jobs, they are military-style strict about their macros and their meals, they spend hours in the gym every day and they get a lot of shit for free (i.e. personal trainers, gym memberships, holidays, supplements, etc.) because of their social media following. Strip back all the Instagram filters and the falsities, and you are left with humans who are probably pretty insecure, irritable, hungry, tired and self-obsessed.
Stop being scared of carbs; just read up and understand them. Don’t over-exercise, you’ll just end up being plagued with injuries. Embrace your body type and find a size or a weight that feels comfortable for you. Don’t make your goal to look like someone else; they’re not you, you’re not them. Don’t replace food with alcohol because you’re calorie-counting. Don’t take laxative teas, you’ll end up dehydrated and sick. Eat chocolate, but try and go for the dark stuff. Eat healthy but don’t restrict and end up bingeing at the weekends. Exercise but do it because it makes you feel good, not to punish yourself. And stop believing everything you see on social media, remember the golden rule: people only show you what they want you to see. And as always, love yourself and be mindful that your mind can be your best friend, but also your worst enemy. Happy Sunday.