Healthy Life Stories Lifestuff
Feeding the fad.10/10/2016
A few months ago, I realised I had a problem. I was searching for places to buy some kombu online, and I was getting annoyed. For thos...
A few months ago, I realised I had a problem.
I was searching for places to buy some kombu online, and I was getting annoyed. For those as clueless as I was a few minutes before my shopping spree, kombu is a seaweed. One that has health benefits. You know the kind of thing. Can cure all cancers and bring your beloved nanna back from the dead etc etc.
I had read about it on Gwyneth Paltrow's website. Don't ask why I was there. It was a weird day.
I was having a bit of crisis with this seaweed. I wasn't even quite sure what I was supposed to do with it. I'd read so many kooky articles this past year about putting magical ingredients in places I would never think to put things in order to 'detox'.
So was I supposed to eat it? Cook with it like a seasoning? Put in on my face? Shove it up my whoo-haa?
It's not so preposterous to think, coming from the woman who suggested we steam clean our lady parts like we do our kitchen floors.
However, my problem doesn't lie in researching seaweeds (or where to shove them) on the internet. My problem was that as I muttered "Ugh that looks disgusting" to myself & added it to my basket anyway, I realised I was on the cusp of THE NEXT FAD.
I had been in a circle of them for about a year, around about the time that life started getting a little difficult and I was struggling. I thought, naively, once again that losing weight would solve my problems. We've been here before & I written about it before. Hence, the circle of shit began again. I think I was just looking for something, anything to build myself up from, I turned to old faithful - my body.
Life was handing me lemons, and I was googling how to make lemonade. I already knew how to make it, but I was looking for a better recipe.
Or something. I really don't know where I was going with that.
The problem was I was relying on these lifestyles to 'fix me' and make me into the woman who wakes up looking like the sun shines out of her arsehole because she is SO CLEAN AND SO VIRTUOUS. Someone that can deal with a tough year without feeling like a bit of a failure.
I am very bored of talking about diets, and science of diets, and whatever the latest thing is that's going to kill you. It's the latest bragging right, and our weirdest privilege. Over the past year I have been round and round in circles, cutting things out, replacing them with faddy counterparts, scrunching my face up as I ate shit bread substitutes and used lettuce as a fajita wrap. (You can tell the difference, of course you can.)
I tried weight watchers and then calorie counting, with no real results and so onto the fads I travelled, I tried meditating, I tried drinking teas that supposedly raised your metabolism but just gave you the trots instead, I cut out meat, I tried juicing, I tried low carb high fat, I tried clean eating, I even, in my darkest hours, tried creating my own lifestyle, based on the same positive principles I was using to train my puppy.
Yeah, yeah I know. It's sounds mental, and it IS mental. I was desperately grasping onto something that would make sense to me, and help me do the whole weight loss & health thing easily.
Here is a picture of baby Flynn to give us a little break.
So I had reached a desperate place and it always ended in the same way. Me, slightly poorer, with more random self help books on my shelf and a brain full of conflicting information. The more I read to try and make sense, the less I knew.
After months of calorie counting, you are desperate. In your instagram searches, you come across a great blog about working out.
You are trying the 30 day workout thingy on said blog, when a guest article about being hungry all the time takes your eye. You read it, you like it, you see the author has written a book... so you buy the book.
You devour the book, and in a review for said book, you read about banting. You read an article. You read a few success stories.
You buy this book. You sign up for the emails. The emails contain lots of articles. You feel a little brainwashed, so you don't implement all the rules into your life.
One well researched paper says carbs are bad and you are going to die a horrible carb fueled death. There are graphs. The graphs make sense. It is scary. It scares you into implementing all the rules.
A few weeks down, and you feel a bit greasy & bunged up - though you've lost a few pounds, you are starting to fear it isn't as simple as not eating bread & you really really miss potatoes.
Soon after you see a link to an article that states carbs are the reasons we grew these nice big brains we have here, & that potatoes are sexy muddy little nuggets of health and we should eat them in moderation.
Then you read a blog about clean eating that makes you wish you were dainty and did yoga on the beach - after all the cheese you feel heavy and clogged up - all you want is that clean fresh feeling described in this blog. You subscribe to the blog. EAT ALL THE GRAPEFRUITS.
Then you read a think piece about the toxic ways the commercial clean eating industry is destroying people's diets as we cut out perfectly edible things & demonising food groups that we are capable of processing healthily.
So you go back to moderation, but find yourself surrounded by the SUGAR IS TERRIBLE train & the guilt that comes with enjoying those occasional treats. No more grapefruits & chocolate you terrible human being.
But then you see the papers claiming that artificial sweeteners are causing cancer. If you're gonna pick some sweetness, have the sugar.
Then you read that fat is good! BIN OFF SUGAR. Eat all the fat!
BUT NOT TOO MUCH FAT. MODERATION.
...but eat nuts. Nuts are good for you. Actually eat more nuts.
NOT TOO MANY NUTS. MAYBE LIKE 6 NUTS TOPS.
Then came the potato hate. Don't eat potatoes. They are nutritionally void. Po-hate-toes.
But then you read a great opinion piece about how fantastic potatoes are.
Which brings you back to the original piece you read about carbs killing you. But then you remember how sluggish you felt eating eggs, cheese and bacon all the damn time.
So you go back onto calorie counting, but remember an article you read about how it's the quality of the calories, not the quantity, and you look at your life and wonder why you can't put together a god damn meal without a near mental breakdown over what is healthy and what is not.
You breathe a sigh of relief, because the only thing all these things can agree on is fruits & veggies are good for you. Phew.
Hold on a sec there, it's not THAT easy.
Because they can't decide on how they are served, where they are grown, whether or not to juice them, what they are grown with, which ones are actually 'natures junk food' (yes that phrase exists), how you cook them, whether to cook them at all, how you clean them and apparently where & when you buy them that is the problem.
-Cue heavy breathing-
You know what, this is getting heavy, let's have another Flynn picture.
The things is, I know what works for me, I've known it all along I suppose and I always come back to it. Eating varied foods, going for lots of walks and asking myself if I REALLY am hungry. I lived quite happily that way for years.
But I have learnt that I am still easily swayed. I am wooed by the glitz, the glamour and the promises.
After sitting around with some friends of mine, and openly chatting for a bit, I decided to NOT have such an open mind about it all. Just cause someone put it in a graph, and made some correlations, does not make them right.
It was time to detox myself of detoxing. I'd spent a lot of time focusing on the bad stuff, and not a lot of good time focusing on the the good.
To quote the wise words of one of my best friends....
Feck 'em, do what works for you and OWN IT.
I don't think it's as simple as eating more veg, going on more walks and making myself meals, but that's where I'm starting. Oh and I'm keeping a few habits from my travels across the clean eating desert too. It wasn't all fanny seaweeds (never did find out what to do with that stuff) and shit bread substitutes.
I found a love for fermenting stuff, moderation and I have a renewed passion for the humble sweet potato.
I feel the reason so many ways of eating exist is because we all have our own circumstances, our own lifestyles, our own budgets, our own tastes and bodies that react differently to certain foods. Different things work for different people, and I am working towards my own version of healthy, based on variation and what healthy stuff I like to eat, not what I think I should eat.
There was no fresh start, my diet has not been perfect (if there is any such thing) and I've had situations in my life that means I am not focusing on my food at all. Plus I think it's going to take some time to undo the damage I've done to myself by fad-dieting. I'm afraid this isn't one of those blogs where I wrap it up by telling you I'm a new woman and all healed. I'm still very much working through it all, and finding what works for me.
But I'm good.
Moderation might not be sexy, but it's my go-to.
So, whilst the sun isn't shining out of my arse, I am feeling positive. Bring it on.