What I’ve Learned in 2019

This year has been quite a messy year across the board and although I’ve miraculously kept my mental health relatively intact, I would say that my relationship with food has been affected. Well maybe my relationship with dieting rather than food…. I can’t quite pinpoint with what is ‘off’ but something definitely is.

I’ve somehow managed to lose 8-9lbs this year which may not seem much but with a crazy job, relocation and financial fun times, I think I have achieved somewhat of a miracle.

They say knowledge is power, but I think in the case of nutrition and weight management, this isn’t always the case. Divulging into the ‘library’ of nutritional ‘advice’ on Instagram makes for a very interesting read with everybody expressing their opinions, fat shaming, diet shaming and even massive disagreements among health professionals.

I know that a calorie deficit is required. I know that after 20 years of on/off calorie counting that I don’t require much energy to run on. I know that I snack when I’m not hungry. I know I need to increase my strength training. Yet ‘influencers’ are always there encouraging me to believe something different (highlighting that they are skilled at their job at least!)

The thing is… I’m beginning to think I’m very much on the journey of being a mindful eater and it makes it tricky to believe all the rubbish that is on the internet.

My ultimate goal would be just to mindfully eat and get rid of all the dieting apps and memberships I currently possess. That’s my long term goal. However, in the meantime I can’t guarantee I won’t track calories here and there and there is nothing wrong with that. I ain’t perfect and I’m no longer trying to be.

The thing is there is so much expectation and pressure to be the perfect dieter, with the perfect weight loss journey and quite frankly guys that just isn’t a thing. Different approaches work for different people and primarily the goal is to prioritise your health over everything else. Losing weight to the detriment of your mental health is achieving diddly squat yet it is SO easy to end up there.

There is so much extremism on the internet that it’s ridiculous and by shaming anyone for anything is causing so much harm. I once used #intuitiveeating and was kindly informed I was a trigger for eating disorders. For someone who has a cosncious, I didn’t take that well. Sometimes some of us fall in the gap between dieting and intuitive eating and I won’t apologise for that.

2012 vs 2016

My biggest goal is not what I look like tomorrow or next week, but to build up my muscle, drop my body fat to a slightly healthier level and prepare myself for my future. I’m at high risk of osteoarthritis AND at risk of low bone density, which if my new scales are to believed then it’s teetering at being low as it is!

I am a bit bigger now than what I was in 2016. Body image does affect my confidence and I am often the ‘bigger’ friend in the group. I want to be able to not have to worry about covering up when the sun shines. I want to be able to wear mini skirts. No one has imposed these thoughts on me, it is my own belief system which is a LOT better than it used to be. But I’ve lined up a couple of things for next year to help me along the way.

So by the end of 2019 I’ve learnt that I’m generally quite confused by weight loss (and generally speaking the world we live in!) I’m learning that I am a rule breaker and don’t like to be told what to do and what to eat. I’m learning that I don’t massively enjoy calorie counting but I do appreciate it has it’s place and is something I may have to use for a while. I’m learning that I’m so glad I’m not a dietitian because I could not be bothered having to unpick what the internet has told my clients to do. I’ve been informed that most people in the fitness industry have their own complicated relationship with food and aren’t always the best people to listen to. Finally, I’ve learned that this is my journey and ultimately I know what works best for me. I have so much confidence in knowing this in other areas of my life, but it has most definitely been a pitfall when it comes to weight loss.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post then I applaud you for making your way through my ramblings. I hope that you take with you that it takes time to really know your body and that it’s OKAY to find weight loss plans difficult to stick to. Restriction is hard and ultimately our bodies don’t care what they look like in a bikini – they want to survive and by reducing our calorie intake, they foresee a food shortage. We should really thank our bodies for being clever enough to respond to try and keep us alive.

Let’s try to break the doom and gloom and focus on living a simple healthy life!

Welcome to Simple Healthy Living

You should probably know that as I type this I am lying on the sofa in my PJs, with Tim (my husband) rubbing my feet and a tub of Cadbury’s Minitature Heroes by my side. Bliss right?

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

On the flip side I’m also lying on the sofa with a sore big toe, a pending cold, controlled epilepsy, gallbladder-less, yeast intolerant and I have some very sore muscles from being in quite a sedentary job and not doing much exercise. I’m also lying on said sofa with approximately 40% body fat and with borderline low bone density.

And this my friends, is the inspiration for setting up Simple Healthy Living. I have spent the past (almost) 20 years on endless diets (with only some success) and have found that the more information I gather on weight loss, the more confusing it becomes. Well, the basics aren’t confusing – calories in versus calories out and strength training.

Social media would have you believe that it’s anything but calories in versus calories out. It’s food type, body type, exercise type, hormonal imbalances, food addiction, intermittent fasting, low calorie, high calorie, in the middle calorie. Basically anything but a calorie deficit that aids weight loss.

Yet every diet group and social media influencer drives a hard sales pitch with great success and as a result I have spent the last 18 months spiralling into the deepest pits of diet culture hell.

And quite frankly, I’ve had enough.

I’m bored of spending money on diet plans, bored of being a sheep and most importantly bored of dieting.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m also wary of the Health At Every Size movement and think that in due course it will come back to bite certain individuals on their derriere. But that’s a discussion for another time.

The biggest focus on this website will be on the word ‘simple’. I need to reduce my body fat (I’m fortunate that I’m not overly fussed about the numbers on the scales), I need to build my strength, I need to manage my stress and I need to introduce more hobbies into my life.

I don’t want to ‘eat clean’ all the time – moderation is definitely key. There’s room for both kale and cookies here (although I’m not mad for a cookie but you know what I mean!).

So please, take a seat, sit back and relax and enjoy the simplicity!