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Food for thought …

I can’t be the only one a bit confused about all the eating terms flying around at the moment. From clean eating to carb cycling and paleo, I’ve found it hard to figure what I should be eating and what I shouldn’t. And after reading this piece in About Time magazine, in turns out I’m not the only one. So here’s my tuppence worth.

I got married in April and for the two years running up to that, I was on a diet. I must stress this was a choice. I wasn’t big by any stretch of the imagination, but, like most brides I wanted to look my best on the big day. Over the course of two years I tried everything from the Dukan diet, to the 5:2 and everything in between. I lost over a stone. In fact, just before I got married I weighed a little over 8 stone. But what did I find out trying all these different diets? Let me tell you.

The 5:2 and the Dukan are short terms solutions. I lost a lot initially on the Dukan, but for someone who loves their food, the Dukan is too limiting. The 5:2 is less limiting, but living on 500 calories a day is not easy, especially if you like to be active, which I do.

What I did discover … drum roll please … is that the best solution for all of this was good old fashioned healthy eating and exercise. And, that good old phrase your mother always tells you – everything in moderation.

There has to be a shift in mindset. Cake is not a bad thing. Sure, if you eat lots of it chances are it could have a negative impact on both your weight and your health. But if you are eating well and exercising 80% of the time, a sweet treat every now and then shouldn’t be something to be frowned upon, it should be treated as, well, a treat. And treats are to be enjoyed.

When it comes dieting terminology, from my own experience, I say tread with caution. Yes, the principles behind ‘clean eating’ are good per se, but we all have those days when you haven’t had time to make lunch and you shouldn’t punish yourself for buying a salad from M&S.

So, there’s my take on it all. I go to the gym three times a week, prepare my own meals when I can – which include carbs – and if I really, really want that cupcake, I’ll have it. And I’m a normal, healthy weight, and more important than that, I’m happy.

What are your thoughts on these current eating trends? I’d be interested to hear them!

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  • http://www.themrsmakes.com Laura (The Mrs Makes)

    I am a massive advocate of the clean eating/paleo diet.
    I lift heavy weights frequently, I run half marathons regularly. Yes I eat carbohydrates.
    I don’t agree with any ‘diet’ in the short term, quick weightloss sense, but I do agree with whole foods, low processing and low sugar.
    I focus on being fit and healthy, and I know my body works best when I don’t eat sugar, or processed foods. I’m more mentally stable, more confident and feel stronger.
    Quick fixes stress your body so much they aren’t healthy, even if they get you to your ‘healthy’ weight.

    Also – I haven’t the foggiest what dukan even is!

  • chiara

    I agree Laura, short-term, quick fix diets just don’t work in the long term. It’s so much better to focus on healthy eating and exercise as a sustainable way to stay fit and healthy. And it’s a good thing that you don’t know what the Dukan diet is, trust me!x

  • http://www.somethingshavehappened.blogspot.com Siobhan

    I think the thing that post you mention said, that I wondered if I was the only one thinking, was that I find it weird to be told not to eat processed food in the same breath as being told to use protein powder by some “clean eating” advocates. I also had an issue with the idea of clean vs unclean, good vs bad etc as descriptions of food that are loaded. I knew someone who claimed the reason she was always overweight was because she could not resist “being naughty”. Well she’d fetishised a whole set of foods. I know full well the fact that I eat a chocolate bar most days is a massive reason I’m not losing the weight when everything else is about right and I know what I need to do about it, but I need to work on having a healthy and loving attitude to my body as well which is my main focus right now. My body is mine and it allows me to do all kinds of cool things and I think that debate often goes side by side with the food one. It is certainly interesting though.

  • chiara

    You’re so right! It’s so important to have a healthy and loving attitude to your body and be thankful for everything it allows us to do xxx

  • http://madaboutravel.com Patricia

    Being born and raised in a Mediterranean country, there is no way I would be on a diet. I am sorry but no, I will not be giving up any part of my balanced Mediterranean healthy eating which basically means I eat whatever I want (fish, meat, carbs, vegs… all cooked with delicious olive oil) but I also move and stay active. That includes doing exercise regularly without obsessing and walking everywhere. If we all learned how important it is to eat all kinds of things in a balanced way and enjoy our treats with moderation, we would all be healthier. I guess that, for some reason, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks and French have the best diet and healthiest lives (and longer life expectancies in Europe and part of the world). This is not about only eating some things or banishing some… it’s about adopting a healthier lifestyle ;)

    But then again, maybe I have a Mediterranean soul and could not do it any other way ;)

  • Rob_McB

    I can now leave a comment here!! love cupcakes

  • chiara

    You are so right Patricia! I love your thinking!x