Nutrition awareness has improved dramatically in recent years. We are bombarded with healthy recipes from celebrity chefs. Every man and his dog tells us, on a daily basis, to cook and eat fresh. We all know by now what we should and shouldn’t eat. Right? But do we listen and put it into practice?
If the answer’s YES – congratulations, please proceed to the top of the class and feel free to look smugly down at the rest of us… It’s very high up there on your pedestal. And lonely too I imagine… Are you sure I can’t tempt you to join the rest of us down here? We have cookies. And ice cream. Yes, I know you like ice cream… One of us, one of us. [Sorry my imagination got away from me a bit there]
It takes a person will iron will to eat perfectly healthy all the time. If you manage it I genuinely salute you, you are a far more disciplined person than I. Like 99% of the population, I enjoy treating myself. And I don’t see this as necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I happen to believe it’s entirely healthy to enjoy the occasional treat. Occasional being the operative word here. I don’t succumb to eating junk food every day. But I do enjoy a pint after football on a Saturday, or a bar of chocolate whilst watching a film or something.
What do the experts say to this? It turns out, they agree;
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) that the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. All foods can fit within this pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.” (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2013)
Of course, this statement is quite broad and undefined. It doesn’t state what is a healthy moderation. And it can’t. One size sadly doesn’t fit all. Lifestyle, genetics, wellness, all come into play on an individual level here. If you exercise a lot, chances are that your definition of healthy moderate consumption of junk food can be applied more loosely than someone who doesn’t exercise at all.
Now I know what you’re thinking; “So, what’s the point of this blog? All you’ve said (aside from a weird daydream diatribe with an alarming cult-like association) is that it’s ok to eat ‘unhealthy’ foods sometimes.” Well that is exactly my point. I work with so many clients who struggle with their relationship with food. They slip off the healthy eating wagon at the start of the week and it derails them for the rest of the week. Sound familiar? It needn’t. The vast majority of us enjoy ‘unhealthy’ food treats. Accept it. Embrace it. Don’t let it consume you or define your week/ month/ year/ life. Eat a chocolate bar. Enjoy it. Savour it. Know that you deserved it because you’ve worked hard for it (especially if you’ve done a training session with me) and will continue to work hard to earn another one.