Emma 2014 Before and afterSo #cleaneating has become the # dejour and I am one of the many people who use it. BUT I have to admit even I am getting jaded by it all. The one thing that helped me get closer to achieving my fitness goals was not putting negative connotations on food. Trying to get rid of all negative thoughts and associations with food and eating. Previously I was always beating myself up for eating what I used to perceive as bad food, once I stopped doing this and enjoying everything I had to eat I noticed positive changes in my body, attitude and emotions. In these photos of me above and the Summer 2014 one I was along the route of eating well but enjoying my favourite food when I felt like it and not feeling bad. For me it is far more about balance and wellness than anything else. The Summer 2013 photo was a few weeks after having Maya by C Section.

I know I look far from perfect in the photo but seeing that it was a year after having a baby by C Section, Breast Feeding for 6 months and being in my later 30’s I don’t think I was doing too badly. Now I am seeing the negativity creeping back in partly because my diet hasn’t been on point for me the last while but mostly because this # along with others makes you feel ‘dirty’ and bold for letting it slip. I genuinely have been thinking about this for so long. You see photos of bars of chocolate etc with hazard signs over them. People constantly telling you how much sugar is in each and everything you eat or drink. People almost gasp when you say you eat potatoes, the staple of the Irish diet 40 years ago when we the level of overweight adults and children was dramatically lower in Ireland than it is now.

My diet isn’t that bad, I know that, but I also know I love to eat pizza, cheese, bread and  chocolate. I don’t eat them all the time but I definitely do eat them. It is as I said a matter of balance, wellness and enjoying my life the way I want to as much as wanting abs of steel and a bum that could crack walnuts!

I know sugar is not good for you but I also know that growing up we had sweets and chocolate and if anything kids back then were a lot less likely to be overweight than now in our food obsessed world. There are so many people scaring us into thinking we may as well do cocaine or heroin as eat sugar. Once again I know sugar isn’t great but I personally don’t believe it is quite the demon it has been made out to be. It is definitely the case that the advent of processed food has been a huge downfall for Irish society. This is not just evident in Ireland, many counties are realising the repercussions of this, look at Japan, they had close to zero levels of obesity until fast foods and convenience foods were introduced and now their levels are rising. This is what the #cleaneating means to me:

  • Eat Fresh.
  • Consider Your Portions.
  • Drink Water.
  • If you can’t pronounce what’s in your food don’t eat it, except Quinoa of course 🙂
  • Keeping a food diary can be super helpful.
  • If you eat something considered not clean; enjoy it, savour it and move on. Don’t obsess over it and don’t let it lead you into a downward spiral because you feel so bad for having done it.
  • Be mindful of your caffeine intake as it can quite adversely impact on your adrenal glands.

We had those who allegedly knew all telling us not to eat fats until recently when we realised this is wrong and we need good fats.

We now have quite a number of slimming and weight watching groups which actually in most cases sell their version of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ that is just not healthy. They still tell people not to eat good fats. They often say not to exercise, the reason for this is they go by weight alone which is not healthy and when you exercise you can weigh more due to muscle gains but you are actually far healthier, fitter and usually smaller in size. They tell you to eat their processed over priced food when we should be eating fresh food as much as possible. One group calls the treat foods you have Sins, how awful is that. As I am sitting her writing this an ad has just come on for a 90 calorie brownie, all the people featured in the ad are women and tbh they look like complete gobshites losing their head over this brownie. It would be interesting to see the ingredients on this product as maybe it is lower in calories and or sugar but it is definitely higher in chemical crap!

So I am going to look less at this #. Go back to not being mean to myself about food and go eat a Crunchie 😉

Emma Forsyth, Founder Pilates Plus Dublin