I spent the night awake and in pain. Why? Because we went to a local pub chain for middle child’s birthday and had dinner. I thought I’d made a fairly sensible choice. Spicy sweet potato burger with a jacket potato. When it came out it was clear it had been deep fried. Virtually dripping. Within half an hour I was feeling heavy, sluggish and uncomfortable, as if my whole body was recoiling in horror at what I’d just done to it!
I think it’s safe to say my body has gotten used to life without heavy frying. It enjoys fresh vegetables and healthy fats. I still use oil, and I eat avocados. But I don’t make a habit of eating heavily processed, deep fried, fast food. My food now takes some preparation, and I buy fresh produce nearly every day.
I think many of us exist in a constant feeling of being slightly below par. We accept the aches and pains and tiredness as something we just have to put up with. We get used to the sluggishness with each meal time, and to compensate, we up the coffee intake, or grab something sweet to give us that sugar rush that we need.
But we don’t have to live like that. It’s taken a long long time to get to this point. I was a perpetual dieter for many, many years. I used to have a psychological block to “healthy” foods because I felt they were diet food, or “rabbit” food. The various slimming clubs would recommend fruit and veg if you wanted to lose weight. They wouldn’t focus on the sheer bliss your body feels for eating more fresh produced, they’d just focus on the weight loss, and alongside the diet fruit and veg, there would be the recommendation for over processed, artificially sweetened gunk, substitutes for all those puddings and sweets that you now had to sacrifice as a dieter. These substitute puddings and sweet gimmicks often taste vile, and you have to fool yourself into thinking you like them!
I became vegan a month ago. It was going to be for a week. A bit of a cleanse out after weeks and months of ready meals. But I enjoyed the food, found I didn’t miss the dairy, or meat, and figured I’d keep going.
I’m not suggesting anyone reading this blog should become a vegan. But what I would suggest is that you give consideration to cutting down on the processed stuff for a week. Yes. It takes more time and preparation to get a meal together. Yes. You may actually have to get a recipe book out and follow instructions if you’re not a natural cook. But there are so many sites and books with recipe ideas for delicious tasting veg filled meals, and these meals could really make a change for you emotionally and physically. Try wholemeal pastas, brown rice, basically things that haven’t been stripped of all the fibre that helps your body.
But actually I know these suggestions are wasted if you’re stuck in a diet mentality. You are thinking of fruit and veg as the “fillers” to make a low fat, low volume meal more filling. You are thinking of all the instructions and rules that the various diet clubs have given you. The various ideas like “Your plate should be half veg, a quarter carbs, a quarter protein”. Why would you want to eat veg when all you really want is a Big Mac and Fries?
I would also say that I’m not promising a magic super fast weight loss from changing your diet a little bit. And you may think, “but weight loss is what I really want”. What I’m suggesting though, is that you could find yourself feeling much better physically and mentally. That you might find you sleep more soundly at night, and feel more alert in the day. You might find you’re not run down with colds on a regular basis. you may find out your stomach isn’t very bloated, and you poo a bit more regularly (I laughed at Gillian Mckeith and her obsession with poo, but a fibre full diet actually does make a noticeable difference!).
My mental changes have taken several years. I would recommend looking into Intuitive Eating, and starting to see food and body image in a different way. I may not be dropping 40lbs in 40 days on this new way of eating, but I’m gaining sleep and mental clarity, and health!
Enjoy your day!