Friday, 15 June 2012

On food, exercise and disorders

As someone who is very active, I often think that if I were to change my eating patterns I could be that person with a six pack. It is said that great abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym:

However, there are a couple of reasons why I have issues with this. 

Firstly, I love to eat. Food is so much more than fuel to me - it is a joy, a social experience, a comfort, an adventure, a connection to the land, and so much more.

When I was younger, someone very close to me developed an eating disorder. I won't go into detail to respect their privacy, but suffice to say, it changed my view of the world. I had always thought that people were happy as a baseline. The idea that people weren't turned my world upside down.

When someone else very close to me also had eating issues, it was too much. My way of rebelling was to be happy, and make a conscious decision to be happy. Part of this was by eating. If there were people who were unhappy and not eating, then clearly eating was a key to being happy.

This mentality has largely stayed with me, for better or worse. I have never dieted, partly for this reason. I have also realised that if I try to eat healthier I end up focusing on food so much that I end up eating more. And let's be realistic here - most people who are eating healthier are never going to turn their nose up at losing a bit of weight as a side-effect. Subconsciously, I still equate food and happiness - restriction means unhappiness.

It really frustrates me that society today tells women (and men) that skinny is the key to happiness. You look at all of the celebrities that were larger, lost a heap of weight and now are famous (Nicole Richie, Ricki Lee Coulter, Kelli Osbourne for some modern examples). Many of these women suffered through eating disorders or addictions and really aren't the kind of role models for health that we should have. At the same time though, looking at pictures of super toned women with abs of steel on places like Pinterest (and I love my Fitsperation board on Pinterest) isn't necessarily healthy either! What kind of work and restricted eating have they gone through to get those abs or those amazing triceps? If healthy is indeed the new skinny, at what price? 

Get healthy not skinny with this diet, fat burning and nutrition program.

I KNOW that I'm not fat. I know that I am healthy, and that that little pot belly isn't the end of the world. But sometimes it's easy to forget that with all of the images you see, all the negative reinforcement that gets given, all of the 'good' and 'bad' labels that food has. I suppose the key is to remember what happiness is. 

And sometimes, happiness is cake. 

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