Real food – how many of you are embarking on diets for the new year?
How many times do you diet, lose weight, put it back on and diet again?
The diet companies and brands bank on that happening – think about it, it’s a great business model. It works in the short term, but is never a sustainable way of eating, which ensures you will always be a returning customer.
Many of the diet products are also highly processed – meal replacements, special ‘diet’ products, which gives the impression you could never lose weight without consuming them instead of ‘normal’ food.
Well, I don’t believe that! We consume far more highly processed and mass manufactured foods than ever. As a result, nations across the world are putting on weight, becoming obese and suffering from weight and diet related problems such as diabetes. Take a look at this – How The World Got Fat – funny how consumption of convenience foods has risen in conjunction.
But, who am I to say that switching to real food instead actually works? Well, I’m not a nutritionist, but I’m a human being who has struggled with my weight over the years and learnt from my mistakes. As a result, I haven’t ‘dieted’ in over 10 years, but I eat well and my weight has remained stable. I’ve always loved food, and as a child would eat, more or less, anything that was put in front of me (with the exception of broad beans – which I now love). But, my relationship with food hasn’t always been a good one.
I’m old enough to be able to say, when growing up, the majority of food in our house was homemade – or real food. Although those convenience foods definitely started to creep in during the 70’s (Angel Delight anyone?). But, the majority of the time, we ate well. I wasn’t fat or chubby, but neither was I skinny. In fact, looking back I didn’t have anything to worry about with my weight (but thought I did – as do most girls, unfortunately) and then one day, when in my early 20’s, I went on a diet. Why? I really can’t remember, but I know, looking back, I certainly didn’t need to.
And that was the start of around 20 years of yoyo dieting. It seems that once you start – that’s it. A bit like shaving your legs! Once you lose weight (using whatever method), when you go back to ‘normal’ eating you put the weight back on, with a little bit more. In fact, I will go so far as to say that for around 10 years I was on a permanent ‘diet’ – everything low fat, wouldn’t eat this, wouldn’t eat that, no frying, nothing made with oil, skimmed milk, low fat marge (yuck!), low fat cheese (yuck again!), only ‘treating’ us to real butter at Christmas. And nuts – I absolutely love nuts, but would only eat them at Christmas (now I eat handfuls of them every day). I dread to think what damage I did to my body on such a low fat diet – we need fat to function and feed our brains. I basically deprived myself – someone that loved food not allowing myself to enjoy it and feeling guilty if I ate something I shouldn’t. Anyone relate to that?
Then I got divorced, met the love of my life and became content – put on a bit of weight but basically still dieting or overeating – no middle ground. We sold our caravan and I realised I was going to have to get my body out on the beach abroad – something had to be done! I found a diet that was based around the Mediterranean way of eating – it was all real food, lots of cooking and absolutely no diet or low fat products. Every recipe started with olive oil (something I had avoided like the plague) and I lost the excess weight without feeling I was on a diet or deprived in any way.
This was one of the many triggers that started me on the road to Cooked From Scratch – my little brain started piecing the bits together – processed/convenience foods, containing strange ingredients, additives and chemicals had to be linked to weight gain and making the wrong food choices.
Since then, I eat nothing but ‘real’ food – I eat good food, full fat everything (butter all the way thanks – and lots of it), loads of nuts – I eat well, I eat 3 course meals regularly, desserts (not everyday), eat in gourmet restaurants – and all without a smidgen of guilt. But, I am also now a food snob, as I absolutely refuse to eat anything processed or ready made. It has to be homemade, high welfare, good quality (organic preferably, although this isn’t possible when on holiday). The other stuff doesn’t even tempt me. And guess what! I never diet – in fact, I’m slimmer now than I’ve ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ‘good’ in the week – but certainly not deprived. I love my food again and enjoy every mouthful. I also keep as active as possible, but you won’t catch me anywhere near a gym! Let’s face it, sitting down all day is just not good for you.
So, do yourself (and your body) a favour. Rather than going on that diet this new year, switch to real food. Become a food snob – question where your food comes from and what’s in it. What have you got to lose?
Not convinced – take a look at my tips for a healthy lifestyle here.