Being super fit and healthy is trendier than ever before. And that’s kinda cool. I’m all for folks wanting to better themselves – especially via nutrition and exercise but I feel it’s all getting rather desperately competitive, especially amongst girls. There’s a frantic daily race to post a bag of freshly ground flaxseed or a sweaty gym rat selfie to Instagram by the social media paragons of virtue. This prompts a status update from someone else that’s given up sugar and a stream of comments from a ton of others that went one better and didn’t just give up the white stuff but now live on a diet of cruciferous vegetables alone.
But what happens offline when there’s no new superfood to post? When the inner demons start to take hold and the little voice in your head gets louder and louder with its demands for a big slice of Red Velvet?
Travel with me for a moment back to 2001, to darker days I’d never want to relive. There was one particular day in that year where I ate a Snickers in a toilet cubicle.
Yip, you read that right. I took a bar of chocolate (I think it was even King Size) into a toilet cubicle. I ate it and put the wrapper in the sanitary bin. I was shaking, light headed and trying to manage the battle in my mind that was one of opiate-like euphoria and gut wrenching, knee trembling guilt.
You see, in 2000 I had (unexpectedly, having merely thought I should count my calories to drop a few pounds) lost 5 stone in 6 months. I was buying clothes from shops I had never bought clothes from before, I was dating the best looking boy in the department, I was known as that girl that had lost a load of weight; I was the girl that felt she had a certain reputation to uphold. No one batted an eye lid when I mainlined up to 7 cans of appetite suppressing Diet Pepsi a day but when I considered joining them for dessert a few eye brows were raised and I feared the whole world would be watching.
But here in 2014 I’m celebrating what feels like a Mini (Egg) Victory. I won at Easter. This Bank Holiday was a mindfully chosen combination of indulgent treats and whole, nutritious foods. I didn’t go to the gym once but instead walked for at least 30 minutes a day taking in new sights and enjoying the outdoors. A slap up Easter Sunday roast lunch was followed by a light supper of raw broccoli and houmous; there were multiple glasses of wine but each time the small size was ordered; I enjoyed a cheese course rather than a panic, binge-driven entire cheese board and I did all this from the comfort of a table shared with family and friends, not a lonely toilet cubicle!
One of the most important parts of this clean eating journey for me has been totally embracing it as a lifestyle. No “off” or “on” days, placing real, whole foods centre stage and enjoying a little bit of what I fancy out on the wings from time to time.
I woke up this morning without a single ounce of guilt and have instead sent messages of thanks to family and friends about what a truly gorgeous weekend it was. I craved nothing other than my usual cup of strong black coffee and I know breakfast, lunch and dinner certainly won’t be coated in a crisp, sugar shell.
I’m at the point now where my health and happiness is my absolute priority. There’s no marathon to train for, no wedding dress to wriggle into just the opportunity to hopefully embrace decades of a happy adult life ahead of me. There’s still cellulite on my thighs and the people behind the BMI charts would probably be more content with me being 5 lbs lighter but here I shall stay in my newly found happy and more mindful place.
How was your Easter weekend? Did you enjoy some treats?