These days the concept of wellness and food have become synonymous. And actually I think that’s great! ‘You are what you eat’ is a term that has been around for the ages and rightly so, we know it’s true. Every single one of us, knows, deep down inside and out that if we only eat crap, it can only lead to bad things.
So where do I stand on the subject of food? Well I can confirm that I am no clean eating angel. But that isn’t because I think it’s all bollocks per se, it’s more because i’m a normal human (please note my definition of ‘normal’ here is my own and measured against my own standards in other words, defined by these terms normal, is me! Terrifying I know.).
My beliefs about food:
- I believe that in the western world we eat too much processed white sugar, carbs and processed food in general, and that this is no good for us.
- I believe that the decreasing standard of diet in the western world is largely responsible for increases in heart problems, increasing chronic ill health and cancer.
- I believe that a diet that reduces the amount of processed foods, processed sugars and chemicals we have never heard of can only be good for us.
- I believe that a diet that consists of a wide range of vegetables, seeds, fish and whole grains delivers the best balance of nutrients our bodies needs to thrive.
- However, here are a few more facts about me and food that may confuse you:
Do I therefore eat a ‘clean’ diet of vegan, gluten free, sugar free, process free healthiness and goodness?
Do I strive to at least?
Please note: this is not a protest. If you do eat ‘clean’ and it makes you feel great, then kudos to you (seriously, I mean that without any sarcasm – good on you!). I have total respect for that lifestyle, and as long as you are getting a good balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats, and are balancing the line between strict diet and obsessive, then that really is great.
However, for me, I would like to incorporate a much cleaner and improved nutrition into my lifestyle as best I can. And I think that really, that is the best anyone can aim to do. Now that doesn’t mean I’m letting myself off the hook by making a brief assessment before deciding the best I can do is very little and skipping off Maccy D’s without any guilt, no no.
Unfortunately for me chronic health problems sometimes comes with an attached sense of constant guilt, you may recognise some of these thoughts:
‘If I only mediated more I would be less stressed and my symptoms would improve.’
‘If I could stick to doing more exercise (which everyone keeps nagging me about) then I would be stronger, and wouldn’t feel so tired all the time.’
‘If I hadn’t been so crap at changing my diet to clean eating then maybe I would be a vision of health by now.’
For us ‘normal’ (see definition above) people this is a more common thought process. If we were only better or capable of doing more, we would be more well, what’s the matter with us? You probably don’t need me to tell you that this thinking isn’t helpful. Neither is comparing ourselves to others.
I can’t tell you how many pots and bags of probably highly mouldy supper foods I have in my cupboard (I honestly have no idea if they’re mouldy because I never open them!).
The truth is there is always more that we can be doing to improve our wellness, happiness, any ‘ness’, but beating ourselves up about what we have not managed to do isn’t one of the things on the list. So we (me included) have to let it go.
The reality is that food bloggers and writers have time to prepare three nutritious meals a day (plus two snacks) because that’s what they do. And a lot of them when speaking honestly have had times when old habits have crept back in and they have struggled to keep it up. We are all human!
I can’t tell you how many pots and bags of probably highly mouldy supper foods I have in my cupboard (I honestly have no idea if they’re mouldy because I never open them!). You know the things, matcha powder and spirulina powder and cacao and whatever, the stuff that almost bankrupted you the first time you attempted a healthy eating kick to improve yourself.
And I’m not denying that those things aren’t great for you, I know that they are. But for me I need to find a way of balancing my usual routine (bung a piece of toast in the toaster and eat it while ushering family out of door style routine) with one that is better for me. And I know that it isn’t realistic that, in the immediate future anyway, that will involve me spending 25 minutes preparing a superfood smoothie.
I’d love to be that woman, I really would. But I’m not, and I can’t beat myself up about it any more. Habits take time to change and my food habits have been in place for over 30 years, so I’ve decided to give myself a little longer than overnight to change them.
So what’s the plan? I hear you cry! Well for me incorporating small changes has always worked best. Last year I actually used these small changes one at a time to build myself up a really good food pattern. I lost some weight and felt much better in myself. However, when I started to slip into a really bad fibro flare, all of those healthy habits quickly went out the window.
Again, at the time I beat myself up, however after watching the recent BBC documentary, about sleep, I now have stopped beating myself up. In the programme they talk about the link between lack of sleep and the (scientifically proven) effect that it has on our relationship with food. In simple terms lack of sleep can drastically increase both our hunger and our craving for sugary white carbs. (See – it was the science that did it, not my lack of resolve, honest!)
I still haven’t actually told you what I plan to do. (Sorry, waffling on, but this is like counselling, I’m unburdening myself of my food demons!)
My plan is actually simple, I want to build back up those small fixes. Small improvements week on week that I will barely notice but that eventually will build up to a big change.
In fact look out for a blog post coming soon where I talk about making changes, and a free worksheet to guide you, because that is my plan for all of my health changes.
My change starts next week and I’ll post to keep you updated of what changes I’m planing on making and how I’m going to track it. I’d love you to try it with me.
Don’t forget you can subscribe for weekly update emails, and if you want to unburden your food demons, please feel free in the comments below, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts…