Hey guys! Before I get started, let me introduce myself! I’m Tara, I’m 22 years old and since starting to lead a healthy lifestyle almost 2 years ago, I have lost 5 stone and gained so much confidence and happiness.
When you ask most people what it takes to lose weight or to be healthy, the most common and most generic answer is ‘eat less, exercise more’. Technically they are right. If you eat less and exercise more, your weight will probably go down. However, it is SO much more complicated than that. There is a psychological aspect to eating that isn’t really talked about and sometimes gets overlooked. For example, for me, when I first started to change my lifestyle, I didn’t just have to eat less, I had to change my entire relationship with food. This took me a long time because this relationship was so unhealthy. I used to use any, and I do mean any excuse to eat. If I was sad, happy, bored, whatever the emotion, food was always involved, and lots of it. I even remember in my second year of university I would reward myself for getting up and going to my Monday morning 9am lecture by having a full English breakfast afterwards. In addition to a kitchen full of unhealthy food, I also used to have a desk drawer filled with treats (mainly KitKats with the odd Twix and packets of M&M’s). No word of a lie, every morning I would have a KitKat with my breakfast. I wish I was joking.
As you can see I had a real challenge on my hands in terms of the amount of bad habits I had to change! It wasn’t an easy journey, it took me about a year to actually find a healthy way to approach food and I made so many mistakes. I started out okay but I quickly began to confuse being healthy with being skinny. I would count and weigh absolutely everything I ate, if I ate more than 1200 calories a day I would freak out and I was obsessed with carbs. I avoided carbs like the plague not realising that they are actually an essential aspect of a healthy diet. So many people told me I was being ridiculous, but there was no reasoning with me. It got to the stage where I wouldn’t even eat bananas or sweet potatoes because they were ‘too carby’. I went from one extreme to the other and it wasn’t until I started using Instagram that I really started to educate myself about health and I found a really great, healthy and balanced way to deal with food. I saw other health bloggers have plates filled with delicious looking food, and then I would look at my plate of boiled broccoli and be filled with food envy. Instagram made me realise that health and fitness could actually be enjoyable and it wasn’t supposed to make you miserable.
I have found that because of my tumultuous relationship with food, counting calories and carbs and weighing everything doesn’t work for me. I’m not a nutritionist and I don’t know the ins and outs of all foods but I just eat things that I know are good for me and things that make me feel good. I never count calories and I don’t worry too much about portion sizes. I have also stopped forcing myself to eat food that I hate just because it’s nutritionally valuable. Let’s take a minute to talk about celery ... apparently it’s a great source of vitamin K, but it really does taste like death, the stringy stuff gets stuck in your teeth and it’s just a horrible experience for everyone involved. Luckily there are some really delicious healthy foods out there! I LOVE fruit, I love most vegetables, peanut butter is my jam and chocolate is just ... well I told you about my old desk drawer. The most amazing thing about Instagram is that I discovered ways to incorporate chocolate into a healthy diet! I experiment with awesome healthy and chocolatey recipes all the time and am proud to say that there are now only highlighters and note pads in my desk drawers! Being less restrictive didn’t affect or impede my weight loss at all. I lost just as much weight taking this more laid back approach and I was a million times happier.
Living healthily and happily requires different things for different people. Everyone is unique and everyone has different goals. However, for everybody out there who struggles with the food aspect of healthy living and can relate to anything I’ve mentioned above, the best piece of advice I can give you is to take a step back, stop counting and allow yourself to relinquish some of the control. There is more to life than calories and there is more to life than body fat percentages and having washboard abs. Having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body and becoming too obsessive over food is psychologically draining and actually isn’t good for you. I recommend that you educate yourself about what foods are good, discover which ones you enjoy to eat and construct your diet around them. Eating healthily doesn’t have to suck! There are so many delicious things to eat! You don’t have to live a life of boiled broccoli and celery sticks! There are loads of places you can find easy and simple recipes consisting of awesome foods that will make you feel great ... this website for example ;). Also, I’m going to leave you with one last piece of advice - treat yourself once in a while. Let’s not lie to ourselves, donuts are fun, and it’s okay to have one every now and again! ☺
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!