Deprivation is the New Black
I have been thinking lately about my health. To cut a long story short, I want to lose a bit of weight.
I don’t tend to worry too much about my weight in terms of appearance any more and I’m happy about that. It’s like a bad habit I finally out-grew. I don’t mind the extra curves or even the mummy tummy. It is what it is and I am still me. I just feel like my current weight is having a negative impact. My back gets sore. I have a dodgy hip after having my last baby that I think would feel better with a bit less pressure on it. I used to walk a lot and have a physical job and I don’t any more. Consequently, my fitness has all but vanished.
Obviously, I have to get moving and my diet must change. But how? Looking at all the popular new ways to be healthy, it seems I must give up something. A whole bunch of something. Because giving up stuff seems to be the way to go! But what? What do I give up?
There is the Sarah Wilson ‘I Quit Sugar’ plan which, frankly, sounds terrible. The first 6 weeks you’re meant to have no sugar AT ALL. Okay, sounds possible, but it’s not just sugar sugar. You can’t even eat fruit! Fuck- I don’t need a great deal of sugar but 6 weeks without even fruit cannot be good when it comes to matters of the bathroom. I’m talking constipation- something I could happily go my entire life without experiencing ever again. Especially when one of the suggested solutions is something called a poo bomb. Yeah, no. I’m also a bit dubious about such strict dietary advice from someone who isn’t a dietitian- I couldn’t actually find anything on the site about her nutritional qualifications. That’s not to say an unqualified person can’t have decent ideas on nutrition- they certainly can and do. The IQS website is peppered with words like “detox” and “wellness” that make me all twitchy. One thing that struck me about the whole website was that for certain parts, Sarah talks about research, evidence and science. I’m all for that! Yet I read this page where she lists the other stuff she is into and swears by and so many of them have no evidence base- psychics and Chinese medicine for example. I just don’t think this one is for me!
Me, giving up sugar?
I suppose I could go Paleo but I can see a number of issues with that. Firstly, I doubt I could afford it (so much meat!) and secondly, where would I get all this stuff? I would need to switch to grass-fed butter, which sounds fine… Only none of the butter at my local Woolies says what it was fed with- do they feed the butter or the cow?? I’d need grass-fed meat, too. So I guess it’s the animal. But how do you tell? Does it have a greenish tinge? Because I’ve always avoided that, personally. And no grains? Like, none? No sandwiches on squishy bread, no porridge and NO BEER? That seems Un-Australian. Not to mention all the other alcohol you can’t have. Paleo eating is also anti-legume and seriously, what did legumes ever do to anyone? Baked beans, my go-to lazy meal, are out. No chickpeas, which means no hommus. How can I live in a world without hommus? What would I put on my rice crackers? Moot point, really, because I wouldn’t be allowed those either. I think I’d lose weight on Paleo but I know it would be more to do with being miserable because I’d be avoiding healthy foods that I actually like as well as treats.
If I had to go Paleo:
I’ve also read about people giving up gluten to lose weight. This is not people who are intolerant to gluten, mind you. This is people giving it up by choice. Does it work? I don’t really know but if it does I imagine it’s more to do with giving up delicious but unhealthy foods that happen to be full of gluten- cake, pizza and biscuits for example. Bottom line here is that I quite like gluten, I think. Well, I like the foods that contain it.
Will I go gluten free?
There is raw food (Less cooking?), organic (Expensive), vegan (No CHEESE!), high fat/low carb (Pasta! Bread!), those crazy shake diets (Expensive, potentially unhealthy, doesn’t adjust eating habits) or the solutions I seem to see all being spruiked on Instagram- Body wraps (Wrapping your podgy bits in plastic to slim down- costs a bit and I’m very doubtful that they work at all). There is whole food diets, clean eating plans, chemical-free food plans (Impossible- everything is made of chemicals and “chemical” doesn’t mean “bad”) and (debunked) diets based on blood types. You can shell out for Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Lite ‘n’ Easy or the Michelle Bridges program. It’s freaking mind-boggling.
Diets have always been about depriving yourself in some way and these latest trends are no exception. Some argue that their chosen deprivation is not a diet, but a lifestyle, and that might be the case for those that can sustain it. I genuinely admire anyone that can stick to these things and improve their health. I don’t think I can do that. I’m just not committed enough to one stringent philosophy. Also, I’m nowhere near trendy enough to want to tell everyone all about what I don’t eat because let’s face it- 5 minutes on Instagram will show you that deprivation actually is the new black. It’s true- all the cool kids are doing it!
I was recently gifted an e-book called Diet of Plenty (by the author- not someone trying to find a way to tell me I should drop a few kgs!) and this sounded more like my kind of diet, if diet I must. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. It’s not actually a diet. It’s not an eating plan. It’s not a list of acceptable foods and unacceptable foods. It restricts nothing. Instead, it’s full of no-bullshit advice. Tips of ways to increase your veggie intake. Ideas for ways to eat better, how to determine what packaged foods are better options and acknowledgement of the fact that sometimes, you just need a row of Cadbury’s. It has types of exercise that might be more interesting or appealing than interval training or whatever the latest craze is. There is sensible advice in this. Like going to see a doctor or getting a referral if you have signs of food intolerance, for example. Smart, right? And no focus on expensive “superfoods” as somehow essential to one’s diet. In fact, my favourite line in the whole book is that “no one ever died from goji berry deficiency” because it’s so true! There’s also bits and pieces about being kind to yourself and not shaming people for their size and an overall message of acceptance for one’s body, which resonates with me far more than striving for something unattainable. It was written by Amy Hopkins and you can check out her website here. The other bonus? This e-book is as cheap as chips. Some of the programs out there have upfront costs that are pretty off-putting. $199 upfront for the Michelle Bridges 12 week challenge, for example, or $150 to join the 8 week I Quit Sugar program. The Diet of Plenty e-book will set you back less than 6 bucks. Check it out here! I’m not saying it’s the solution to all weight loss woes, because what would I know? I am saying that for someone like me, it’s realistic and potentially sustainable and that’s what I’m looking for!
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