Don’t eat carbs, red meat, sugar, fat or salt. Don’t drink alcohol, fizzy drinks or coffee… The list of evil substances is long, so long that I won’t even try to complete it.
A few years ago, I was an advocate of such a list. I tried to follow all of the commandments of what I call Super Healthy Living – I even bought Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook. For a good few months I was an avid follower, preaching to all and sundry about the benefits of a super healthy diet. Until I realised I was lying to myself and that I was, in fact, miserable. It was shortly after I tried Gwynnie’s “Brownie Recipe That Could”, when I realised I just could not. Gwyneth clearly hasn’t eaten a real brownie in decades, or she would know that hers taste nothing like the real thing and much more like coffee flavoured mud. (To be fair though, there are a few killer recipes in that book, “Crazy Good Fish Tacos” being one of them).
Anyway, having a general interest in a healthier lifestyle, I find myself reading article over article on how to survive on fruit, vegetables and legumes alone and still have the energy to do gruelling exercise six times a week. All the while I am thinking, this is just so unrealistic! There are but a precious few, who may actually need to go to such great lengths to look absolutely amazing: models – and any other celebrity who has to make up for lacking talent with their looks. But even models and celebrities need perfect lighting, make-up and photoshop to look the way they do in the glossy magazines. Trust me, I know. (The fact that I think clients’ expectations of what a model should look like are too high is a whole other kettle of fish which I won’t go into here).
Everybody else should just relax.
I truly believe in a happy medium. I eat what I want to eat, in moderation. I exercise, in moderation. I am a happy size 10, with bits of me a size 8 and other bits a size 12. So no, I am not perfect and perfectionists would say bits of me are out of proportion, but that is by their standards. By my standards, I am just fine.
For me, happiness comes with self-acceptance. Part of me is a health-freak, yes. But another part of me is a slovenly, lazy, lard arse. So, had I carried on with the super healthy diet, I would have continued to suppress a part of myself and make myself miserable. However, I have decided to embrace the supposed dark side of my personality and occasionally feed it with crisps and proper cake with butter icing.
But that’s just me. If you don’t have a slovenly, lazy, lard arse side to your personality and a super healthy diet and lots of exercise make you happy, then be proud of yourself and do your thing. For those of you who constantly feel like they are eating too much of the wrong thing and doing too little, ask yourselves: is that really true? If yes, then try a little moderation. If no, then you probably already are a happy medium, without even knowing it.