I suppose what’s expected of me today, being the first issue of 2017 and in the health section, is one of the following subjects:
It’s a New Year, it’s Time for a New You!
Detox and Go Dry for January
Diet Plans to help you lose weight
I’ve never liked conforming to what’s expected of me, and although once upon a time, I would have been writing with conviction about all of these subjects, today I’m going to share with you exactly why I won’t be doing any of these things myself, and therefore I won’t be promoting them.
I’ll take them one by one and try to help you understand my thinking, then you can decide the approach you will take.
New Year, New You
Why do I need a new me? I want the old me back, the one aged 4 on a Space Hopper at the Silver Jubilee celebrations on Hurley Road 1977.
I want that sense of freedom, play, vitality and joy again. I want the old me but with what I’ve learned in 2016, and every year before that, and without the shackles of past experiences that clouded my rosy view of the world.
I don’t feel the need for a “new” me, I want to learn to accept me as I am now, warts and all.
We are already living in a society where the feeling of not being enough has reached epidemic proportions. I’m not buying into this stuff anymore, I want to think to myself “I’m ok”, not “I need to change myself”, in order to reach the impossibly high expectations of what we should look like and how much we should achieve in our lives.
I think it’s ok to ask for more in life (of ourselves), but first and foremost, we need to accept ourselves as we are. Or go back to the way we were before our conditioned minds made us go mad.
Detox and Go Dry for January
Detox? In January? Surely January is depressing enough as it is without adding denial, restrictions and abstinence into the mix.
Purely from a mood perspective, it doesn’t make any sense to me, but there are physical as well as psychological reasons why it’s not the ideal time to detox.
Winter is a time to nourish our bodies, not punish them. The last thing we need is to live on salads, juices and light foods.
We need sustenance in the form of stews and starchy vegetables (and in my opinion the odd glass or two of Malbec) to get us through the colder winter months. If you want to detox the liver, springtime is the best time for that, so wait until then.
The whole reductionist idea of detox is not one I really subscribe to at all. It’s much more effective to positively state your intentions. Think about what you’re going to do more of, not what you’re going to take away. You’re only going to make the naughty thing even more desirable.
Simply being more “mindful” in your decisions is a better idea. Think more in terms of “what is going to best nourish my body right now?”.
Diet Plans to Lose Weight
So this one is my real bugbear, so I thought I’d save it until last in case my rant spiralled out of control, and you didn’t get to read the other two.
With my background in fitness and nutrition, and having run weight loss camps for years, I constantly get asked about how effective certain programmes are in helping people trim down.
Conversations generally go like this..
Them: “So what do you think about Juice Fasts?”
Me: “Fine, as long as you’re happy to live on juice for the rest of your life, otherwise it’s not sustainable”.
Them: “What about Slimming World? Their plans are really good now”
Me: “Yes they are good for keeping people on the plans, but for me anyone that tells me a Hi-Fi bar is a better nutritional choice than an avocado (and is selling said bars) is not someone I’m going to be taking advice from. But that’s just me.”.
The 5:2 Diet
Them: “So I have a friend who’s been on this since last year and she looks great!”
Me: “And what’s she like to be around on the two fast days?”
End of conversation
Them: “My personal trainer tells me that I should replace two meals a day with Herbalife shakes and I’ll be in great shape. What do you think? ”
Me: “How long have we got?” (Rolling eyes)
Lean In 15:
Them: “What about Joe Wicks?”
Me: “Oh yes, he’s cute….”
Them: “I meant what is his plan like?”.
Me: “Ah ok, actually he’s pretty good, and his recipes are accessible and sensible. But he’s not the answer, unless you manage to persuade him to come and live with you”.
So what is the answer?
Well that’s simple. It’s you.
There is no magic pill, no one size fits all solution, no plan that is outside of you.
You are the plan. You know instinctively what your body needs to nourish it and how much it needs. Learn your own body, not a product or plan. Get to know what makes you feel good, what leaves you craving more an hour later and decide what’s going to be best for you.
I’d guess in most cases we know what’s caused the weight gain in the first place, so we know how to fix it. We need to stop doing the things that make us feel rubbish or put on weight. We need to start thinking how we can best nourish ourselves, taking into consideration all the individual factors that will affect how and when we can eat. Only we can do that and we need to make that decision for ourselves.
Or as my hairdresser would say: “Own it baby!”.
My advice would be that if you need help and support, get it from a professional (not one that sells fake-food products) or read up online or in books and then experiment on yourself. Approach it like the old you, a curious child learning and discovering for the first time how your body works.
When you find the answer you have a plan you can stick to, and eventually you won’t need a plan, it’ll just be a part of you, as it always was when you were a child, free from diets, plans, goals and yearly transformations.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be free again?