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When did food become the enemy?

Monday, July 01, 2013

Ok, so I'm chilling on Pinterest today (if anyone wants to follow or see what inspires me, I'm Casya88 on there with a board named "Fat Chick Slim") and I see several food related health pins. Some of them ("do NOT reward yourself with food. You are not a dog.") Made me giggle and make sense to me. But there are others, too, that made me look sideways and go "huh?"

One source gives the following advice (among others):
- You will no longer drink sodas, fruit juice or alcohol - only water. (Passable advice, but there's a difference between "no X Y and Z" and "ONLY A")
- No pork. Ever. (Actually, pork is not that bad, it's the cut and method that makes the difference).
- Avoid fatty add on's like cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise (there's no reason why fat, especially the fat found in otherwise healthy foods like cheese, cannot have a place in a healthy diet. You just need to know your fats!)
- Eat a tin of tuna or a chicken breast every day ( I know plenty of healthy vegetarians that don't see this as a requirement).
- Eat cottage cheese with berries (didn't you just say to avoid cheese etc?)
- Make unflavoured oatmeal and have for breakfast every morning with a boiled egg and a banana, a multivitamin and a glass of'll f***ing eat it and you'll like it. (Not a bad breakfast, but hardly perfect, and there are plenty of other breakfasts that are just as good. Also, a lot of people will give up on flavourless oatmeal because it takes like sludgy cardboard; you can at least recommend some cinnamon for it; there are ways of flavouring stuff without sugar)

And my personal favourite:
- "You should not care about how (food) tastes. If it has the nutrition you need, it's f***ing delicious."

Now, I get that none of this is particularly bad's not like the "6 weeks to OMG" diet that recommends icy showers to make your body burn calories warming up, but there's some stuff there that makes me cringe a little...chief among them being the idea that food is somehow the bad guy, and that good tasting food is to be shunned; food is ONLY fuel for your body. Nothing more. Now, I know different things work for different people, and many folks, my partner included, feel this is the most helpful attitude for them. But then, my boyfriends relationship with food is a bit like a bulimics without the vomiting; he'll shy away from sweets and chocolate and burgers, then gorge himself once or twice a week and feel rotten afterwards. I have a couple of biscuits when I feel like them, I lose more weight, and I don't feel bad; who's doing it right?

Then there's Bob Harpers "Skinny Rules" (oh, do I hate this man.) Among them there is;

Rule 7 - No carbs after lunch (bullsh*t. If I don't get my pate on toast before my evening workout, I WILL gorge on biscuits later. It's nothing to do with discipline; your body demands carbs because YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBS and it's only when you reach the "eating disorder" stage that you become prepared to starve your body of what it NEEDS in order to get 'skinny.)

Rule 11 - Get rid of those white potatoes. (Why? Did I slip into an alternative universe where suddenly starch is bad for you? I've seen plenty of diet books advocate jacket spuds and I've used them as a weight loss aid myself).

Rule 18 - Go to bed hungry. (NO. A healthy diet is one where you are never hungry, nor are you ever completely full. My fave advice here is the Japanese 20/80 diet; eat when you are 20% empty and stop when you are 80% full. Never go lower or higher).

Rule 19 - Sleep right. (A great rule I advocate myself, I just found it hilarious that Rule 19 [sleep well] follows Rule 18 [go to bed hungry]. Yeah, I'm sure they're not mutually exclusive).

Rule 20 - Plan one splurge meal a week. (No, no, NO! This is probably the WORST piece of advice I have EVER heard! So basically, you're allowed to pig out once a week [which perpetuates the unhealthy mentality that food is a forbidden fruit that you simply must avoid], encourages unhealthy eating once a week ['cause it totally doesn't count as unhealthy if Bob Harper tells you to do it] and forces you to only enjoy 'unhealthy' foods and large portions on a pre-designated schedule; no finishing your partners dinner or having a biscuit every so often. Nope. Just one big splurge every Friday night. Can't possibly end badly, right?)

I just don't understand when food became a bad thing; I like eating, personally. I have a HUGE breakfast every morning, I have snacks every day, and I have a big mug or organic sugar free hot chocolate with organic raw honey (and sometimes even a sweet or two) every night. I eat burgers sometimes, I eat fries, I eat onion rings, I drink sodas...all in moderation. I know they are bad for me, they are 'the enemy' and they're an unhealthy habit, but I also know (and I mean from independent academic research, not just from personal experience) that the more you say "no" to something you want the more you'll want it. Which will give way first? Your will power, or your desire to have it? So why not just give in, have a small, healthy amount in moderation and with significant intervals between each indulgence, and feel all the better for it? It won't do you any good but it's not going to kill you either, and a chicken burger every other weekend is far better than a midnight binge on pizza because you just couldn't tell yourself "no" anymore and went the other way altogether!

Am I the only one who feels this way? Do you find it easiest to simply say "no" to all and any unhealthy foods, or do you believe in all things in moderation? Let me know :-) I want to get your feedback here.

Also, what's some of the worst dieting advice you've heard lately? I know there's got to be someone worse than Bob Harper out there!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    While I try to stick to real food (prepare whole ingredients into a meal) I also want them to taste great, so I don't get the idea of food being only nutrition either. And I also enjoy my dark chocolate and glass of wine most evenings after dinner as well....I find a small bite or portion of really good stuff goes a long way to satiation, where more processed foods don't really do it for me anymore.
    1753 days ago
    Two days a month, I eat EVERYTHING - no holds barred! I've been maintaining for 2+ years and my blood tests are all normal. So, it can work.
    1754 days ago
    I eat whatever I want, including butter and cheese, just slightly less often, or in smaller quantities. I don't often eat sugar, but that's more for my teeth than my weight. I don't often eat bread, but that's because I don't much like it, I'm naturally a low carb eater. I cannot stand the idea that one slice of cake, and you're damned forever, or that it's the slippery road to perdition. Life is for living and enjoying, and that includes food.
    1754 days ago
    Oh my God, where to begin? Personally I don't eat certain things at all, like Reeses and Cheetos. Not even one. It was hard at first, but after awhile I didn't miss them with that visceral longing I used to have.

    As far as eating for nutrition instead of taste, that isn't sustainable over the years. I looked and tried different real foods cooked in a different way, and now have a very long list of foods that I love and look forward to, all legal. I eat by exchanges so I don't eliminate any food group (junk food isn't a food group,alas), and I love every bite I put into my mouth. I have been at goal for over 40 years, and I couldn't have done that if I hated what I eat. My old WW leader all those years ago told me that the period of weight loss was the time to experiment, to find new and legal foods to love. The better you are able to do that, the more confidence you will have in maintenance.
    1754 days ago
    I eat ice cream and chocolate. When I get to my goal weight I want to be able to eat well and also things I like. I just have small amounts at certain times. I did change to dark chocolate and I prefer it. A lot more taste.

    Worst advise ever? hmm where to start...Detox diets... rubbish in a bottle!!!!
    1754 days ago
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