It’s January, so naturally everyone is going on a ‘diet’ post Christmas indulgence. I was knocked out with a bit of man flu just after new year so I had plenty of time to read awful magazines and catch up on all the newspapers and supplements, and there was at least 1 ‘diet’ article in each and every one! As I was reading them all I actually got quite dismayed. There is so much conflicting advice out there, with ‘experts’ promoting totally different approaches. Is it any wonder people get so confused and end up on their way to very disordered eating. January has become a time when everyone looks at their lives and feels they need to change everything, often thinking all this change will in turn make them happy. Changing what you’re eating and the way you’re eating it is usually the first thing people turn to, followed by a crazy new training program. Yes it may be a new year, but you are still the same person. I think the majority of ‘diets’ promoted in the new year are pretty faddy- they just aren’t sustainable. There is no point starting some brand spanking new way of eating and training if it can’t be sustained. Obviously some people have competitions to prepare for which means they may be slightly extreme with their eating and training for a given period but if you’re just a Joe Bloggs on the street, it’s unnecessary.
What Are Fad Diets
In my opinion a Fad Diet is something of a gimmick. Yes, it may work in the short term but it isn’t something you can stick with. Again only my opinion, but I believe any change to the way you eat should be about changing your lifestyle and attitude towards food. There have been soooo many diets and eating plans thrown around over the years, and it’s still happening. When I was at the beginning of my anorexic hell I would have read all these, analysed them to the max and then tried to do a combination of every single one! It’s not healthy, and it’s not something you can stick to.
The Different ‘Diets’ Being Promoted
Juicing– I love a green juice as much as the next person BUT I will always have my juice with food. If I was only to ‘eat’ juices for a few days of course I’d lose weight as I’d be in a calories deficit but as soon as I started eating my usual foods again the weight would come back on. While I am not qualified in anything and there is SO much I don’t have an understanding of, I know that digestion has a whole process of its own. Chewing and creating siliva are part of this process, these are bodily functions that need to happen.
Detoxing– we each have a liver, it is part of the livers job to ‘detox.’ I saw a top performance nutritionist during my ED recovery and I remember asking him about detoxing……’but surely it must be something I should try because everyone’s talking about it!?’ He’d look at me dead in the eyes and say ‘that’s absolute crap Clem, please stop reading these awful magazines and getting your information from a ‘foodie’ on Twitter.’ That was me told, and whenever I think about ‘detoxing’ I remember his face!
Veganism– this seems to have become quite a fashionable thing to adopt. If you are vegan for your own beliefs then that’s fine and I would respect that but becoming vegan because you think it’s ‘healthy’ isn’t something I’d agree with. I was vegetarian for years pre ED, not for any ethical issues but just because I was quite picky with meat and didn’t really like the idea of it. Post ED, and off the back of learning more about my body, I wondered how I would get enough protein not eating meat, so I started. I personally think it’s quite hard for a veggies, and especially a vegan to get enough protein. I train a lot so I need protein to help my muscles repair. Meat proteins are complete, veggie protein are not. I think the only complete protein a veggie can have is quinoa. I’m not saying don’t be vegan or vegetarian at all but think why you’re actually doing it.
Fad Diets and EDs
As someone who’s suffered with an eating disorder it makes me quite sad to read some of these diets plans. There are so many different options and opinions it makes it hard to know what’s a good approach. Also, if something is written about enough people will see it as the truth, when that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s hard for a ‘normal’ person to see the wood for the trees but an as ex anorexic it’s impossible. You can feel yourself getting sucked in, thinking that obviously a soup diet must be fine to do if everyone thinking about it? Maybe you could just do it for a bit to get over the three extra Quality Street you had?! So you do that, and then before you know it you’re on that slippery slope of wanting to lose more and more weight. If you ate a little more than usual over Christmas that does not matter. As we all know, it’s what you do on average that counts- averagely you probably don’t over eat so a few days of having more than usual won’t make any difference and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to try and kill yourself, literally, by surviving on next to nothing. The best thing I find is to try and avoid all these articles, and to not listen to those who may actually not know what they’re talking about! I’ve said before that I’m not qualified in anything relating to nutrition, yet, and I really don’t know anything, so I’m not saying listen to me! However there are a lot of people around at the moment who equally aren’t really particularly qualified yet they are dishing out advice to anyone and everyone. Just because it seems like everyone else is doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to. Your body needs all three macros (fats, carbs and proteins) and it needs enough calories to function. Under eating will only damage your body further, as well I know.
Do I Diet
NO! Pre ED I probably would, and I’d have considered a ‘juice cleanse’ as its all over the papers so it must do something right?! But now wouldn’t do that. I learnt a lot about my body in recovery and continue to do so with my studies. I wouldn’t recommend juicing, detoxing or cleansing to a future client but I would instead try and give them an eating plan that they could stick to, for life. This is all just my own opinion and I don’t know enough about nutrition and the bodies functions to delve into it further but please don’t assume everything you read is correct