Case in point, is the recent series in the Sunday Times, Body & Soul section about a woman in her early 30′s (having always been a yo-yo dieter) taking on a ‘body challenge’ and writing about her experiences for all to read. Katie admits to exposing herself to public ridicule as a form of motivation! She has the help of a nutritionist and a personal trainer and feels that this is her last chance to finally lose weight and start feeling good about herself.
I was dismayed when I read her plan – an extreme regime of 2 hours walking per day plus an hour in the gym. Her diet is protein heavy, including 9 egg whites and 2 egg yolks per day (yikes!), with no carbs other than a single early morning weetbix or banana, and no additional fats other than fish oil supplements. But oh yes, she’s allowed diet soft drink and sugar free chewing gum! Her comment on the food she is eating… “well, it’s not so much about flavour anymore. Food is fuel, plain and simple.” How very sad.
This type of regime will get quick results if she is able to keep it up, but at what cost? Is she really learning anything about how to eat mindfully and joyfully? Is this something she will be able to happily sustain for the rest of her life? Absolutely not! I wish her all the very best on her health journey but fear for her post ‘body challenge’ lifestyle. At the moment, she associates weight loss with deprivation, exhaustion and guilt. I really don’t see how different this is from any other diet or fad that she has attempted unsuccessfully in the past. It’s essentially teaching her that food is the enemy.
An alternative approach…
I would much prefer to see Katie learning how to eat (and exercise) in a way that makes her feel great, with weight loss a natural consequence of her renewed and much more enjoyable relationship with food.
Why is it that we are programmed to think that our love of food is something that has created our weight problems? It’s simply another example of the diet mentality gone wrong, where we are made to believe that enjoying food inherently conflicts with the ability to maintain a healthy weight.
At Équilibre, we think everyone can be a ‘Foodie’ or lover of food and at the same time, achieve an optimum weight and healthy, vibrant lifestyle. Yep, that’s why we use the term Fitness for Foodies!
Foodies are defined as someone who:
- Has a refined or ardent interest in food
- Has an enthusiastic interest in the preparation and consumption of good food
When preparing to eat, a foodie makes sure it’s something she (or he, of course) really wants to eat. It’s usually high-quality food – very few highly-processed foods prepared quickly meet her standards. And it’s varied. She’s interested in exploring the wonderful world of food.
If it takes time to make a meal or snack, she’ll invest the time. But that doesn’t mean all her meals and snacks take hours in the kitchen. She knows that sometimes a hunk of cheese, slice of great bread, and juicy piece of fresh, seasonal fruit is all she needs to satisfy her hunger.
As she eats, she savours. Her food has her attention; she enjoys the taste, eating just enough until her hunger subsides. Then she’s done with eating, getting on with other things in life that are important to her. Which may mean shopping for a future meal or something that has nothing at all to do with food (like some exercise and fresh air that makes her body feel good!)
You could also call a foodie a mindful eater. For me personally, it means being a little bit fussy and not settling for second best. It is my creative outlet, it allows me to nurture myself and my family, and is even a form of meditation.