‘Healthy’ Words and Phrases You Need to Rethink

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, everyone is different, and that’s ok. Everyone’s body is different, and the fact is different things work better for some than others; its all about understand your body and finding what is best for you.

But when it comes to fitness and health, there’s something I feel very strongly about, and that’s people trying to do things in a way that isn’t healthy, and while it might not seem like it to some, the way we talk about food and fitness can be very unhealthy. What am I talking about? Well do you use any of these terms?

Cheat days

There’s an actual psychological term called the ‘what the hell’ effect, and this is actually used in relation to diet psychology. Essentially its the whole ‘oh, I’ve had one slice of pizza, I might as well eat it all’ thing that I bet we’re all too familiar with. Well the same thing tends to happen when people give themselves a ‘cheat day’.

More than that though, the unhealthiest thing about cheat days is they make us feel guilty. You’re allowed to eat whatever you like, and eating what you want to eat isn’t cheating – all you’re doing is creating negative association.

Guilt-free and guilty

On the back of cheat days, I’m tired of people referring to things as either guilt-free or guilty. I’ll say it again: YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU LIKE and you don’t have to justify what you eat to anyone. Food is fuel, and your body needs fuel to function, end of.

Weight loss

No, I’m not saying that you can’t think about weight loss if you’re trying to be healthier, but weight loss shouldn’t be your only goal. I am fitter now than I’ve been in the last few years, but I also weigh more, and that’s totally normal because while I have lost fat I’ve gained muscle. So many people, women especially, concentrate far too much on what the scales say, and get down when they don’t see that number dropping, but what you really need to be looking at is how you feel and look at measurements rather than weight.

‘Skinny’

Nothing gets me riled up more than ‘skinny teas’, ‘skinny pills’ or quite frankly any use of the word in relation to a product or food item. Chances are these products are full of chemicals, or just full of something that’s just designed to help you poop your innards out, and there’s nothing actually healthy about them at all.

Calorie-controlled

Sure, there’s evidence to say that reducing your calorie intake can lead to results, but if you limit yourself to 1300 calories a day but are still eating junk, that doesn’t make it any healthier. Calorie counting can also become an obsessive behaviour, and that unhealthy relationship with food that I talked about earlier, plus not giving your body enough fuel to function.

For me, the most important part of staying healthy is keeping everything in balance. We all have good days and bad days, but rather than stressing ourselves out over the bad days, we just have to relax and accept that it happens every now and then. Mental health is just as important as physical health, they both go hand in hand and you have to put yourself and your happiness first, always.

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4 Things I Never Thought I Could Wear

The official definition of fashion from the Oxford English dictionary is:

‘A popular or the latest style of clothing, hair, decoration, or behaviour’

but I personally feel that over the last 10 years or so, fashion has very much moved away from this definition. In fact, I truly believe that in the society we live in now, while we may not all agree on some things, personal style has become much more widely accepted, and you don’t have to be wearing what’s on the cover of magazines to be rocking your own look, and for people to respect you for that.

For many years, there were certain things that I didn’t think I could wear due to certain features of my body, but as people’s views on fashion and style have broadened to become more accepting, I’ve started to realise that the clothing I never thought I could wear without facing judgement, are actually items that I not only love wearing, but that do actually suit me.

Crop tops

While I’ve never really strayed from size 10-12, I always have been and will probably always been a little bit squishy around the edges, and because of this I used to think that crop tops would never be for me. Well about 3 years ago I decided to hell with that, and not only did this do absolute wonders for my confidence, it introduced me to one of my wardrobe staples. I discovered that wearing a crop top doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stomach is on show for the world, and even if it is, I’m much more comfortable with that being the case.

Midi skirts

I’m the tallest in my family at a not-so-staggering 5ft 4, and thus I felt that If I ever wore anything that wasn’t essentially a mini skirt, I ran the risk of looking ridiculous. Back in 2013 I got over my fear of the maxi dress, although I still don’t really wear them often, but last year and this year for me has been the time of the midi skirt. No, they don’t make me look shorter, and I actually feel pretty damn cute in them thanks. Ps. I normally wear them with crop tops..

Soft cup bras and bralettes

I always thought that with my boobs sitting pretty above a B cup that I would have to spend my life in wired contraptions in order to keep everything under control. Wow, have I ever been so wrong?! Not only have soft cup bras and bralettes become my favourite inventions ever, and my go-tos most days if I can help it, but I’ve also discovered that some days its ok not to wear a bra at all! This has been freeing in so many ways.

Anything off the shoulder

Bardot-style tops, strapless dresses, these always felt like items that were never ‘everyday’ convenient. In fact, only until a few weeks ago I never thought that I could wear a bardot top, until I took the plunge and bought a pretty lace style bodysuit on a whim and when I tried it on I fell in love! And when it comes to strapless, I’ve actually found myself gravitating to those dresses and playsuits in my wardrobe during the summer months. I can’t explain this one because its not like I’ve ever had any issues with my shoulders, I just think I figured I’d always look a little out of place in them..

I guess what I’ve learnt from this more than anything else is to ignore any stereotypes that the fashion industry may set, but also that fashion really is about you doing you and being happy with that.

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#YearOfFit – Let’s Talk Fad Diets

This post is probably the one I’ve been most looking forward to writing so far this year. I’ve done a bunch of research and interviewed people and everything, and the reason I’ve put in so much work is because this is something I feel so passionately about.

Now before I get into things, I’m just going to say that while I’m not an expert/dietician/nutritionist, I’ve studied a lot of the areas that are involved in this topic: food science, diet psychology and human biology, so I’m not just sharing opinions here. I’m also going to be using my own terminology, so let me just explain that.

Fad, of course, just means something that’s popular for whatever reason, but I’m going to be discussing the main two different types of diet that people do: restrictive diets and lifestyle change diets. Restrictive diets are just that – purposefully cutting out or restricting the intake of a certain food type or group; think Atkins, Slimfast, juicing, fasting 5:2 etc. Lifestyle change diets are the ones where you aren’t necessarily cutting anything out, you’re just looking at your diet more carefully, maybe working on a point system for foods etc. These are your classic Weightwatchers or Slimming World style.

Ok, so I’m gonna start with restrictive diets.

You’ve seen your favourite celebrity drop from a size 14 to 6 in the blink of an eye and they’re putting it all down to this new diet. Naturally, you’re intruiged, and with summer just around the corner and the thought of your bikini looming, you figure why not give it a go, right?

All of these diets offer quick results – big weight drop in a short amount of time. Now this seems great, and short-term, sure, they’ll do the job, but I’m gonna let you in on a not-so-little secret: as soon as you go back to your regular habits, all of that weight is gonna come speeding back to you, and might even bring a friend, sometimes leaving you heavier than you were pre-diet. All of the people I interviews put some weight back on, and most put it all back.

The biggest issue with RDs is that you are denying your body, which is something you should never do. You NEED carbohydrates for energy. You NEED those good fats to protect your organs and maintain a healthy metabolism. You NEED protein to repair and grow. I could go on. Now your body can go a certain amount of time working just fine if you cut back, but after a while, you’ll start noticing that you’re not on your A-game.

Now everyone’s body works differently, and this is where the effects of these diets can differ hugely. Take my mum for example. A good few years back, my mum did LighterLife – a shake based diet – and was loosing a fair amount of weight. Woo, right? Well yeah, until she started to find her hair was falling out.. Lots of my interviewees experienced breakouts, some felt sluggish all the time, I could go on.

So apart from denying your body vital nutrients (which not all of them do, but still), there are mental ramifications to these diets too. By cutting certain foods out of your life, even if only temporarily, your brain will change the way you perceive this foods, and this will generally go one of two ways. First up, and this is more common with sweeter foods, it can lead to a ‘forbidden fruit’ mentality; you can’t have it, therefore you want it even more. Hello cravings. A ‘slip up’ here will normally result in a response of – and this is a genuine thing – the ‘what the hell’ effect; ‘you’ve had one Pringle, you may as well eat the whole tube’ thinking. This mindset is NOT HEALTHY.

Alternatively, and more dangerously, it can lead to certain food having negative connotations attached to them, and this is association is most common with carbs. You’ve been ticking along on Atkins just nicely, but someone brought home a pizza and you had a slice, and now you feel horrendously guilty and you’ll spend your whole day tomorrow on a cross-trainer in an attempt to ‘atone’. This mindset is NOT HEALTHY.

We’ll move onto lifestyle change diets.

No, these diets can’t promise you a drop of 3 dress sizes in 2 weeks, but the average member can expect to lose 1-2lbs a week, which is still pretty impressive.

Notice how I said ‘member’? Well that’s because all of these diets promote a community aspect, whether it be weekly meetings, online forums or just support from other members, and this community plays a really key part in the success of the diet. Sure, you don’t have to attend the meetings to see the results, but having other people with you doing the same thing can be a real help and motivator.

So why are these diets better for you? For starters, you’re still eating properly. Yes, you might be cutting back on certain things, indulging less and watching what you eat very carefully, but you’re still eating real, balanced food. Balance is important. You might be counting ProPoints, or syns or even just counting calories, but you’re making your own choices and staying in control. I call them lifestyle change diets because over time, you’re just developing better eating habits, and the more you stick at it, the more eating better becomes a part of your lifestyle. We’re talking being healthier for life, not just until summer is over.

Talking to some people who have done these diets, they loved how they never felt that they were missing out on anything and how easy they were to stick to, compared to RDs they’ve tried. Now my interviewees did still have some negative comments about these diets. For example, one person struggled with how liberal the diet was, and due to over-eating some foods didn’t lose as much weight as she felt she could have.

But really, after reading all this, do I even need to tell you what’s best? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a hundred times if that’s what it takes: eat right and live healthy and your body will reward you. It is, first and foremost, your body, and it can look however you want it to look.

Being healthy and happy is so important, please don’t forget that.

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