On Friday I want to explore intermittent fasting as I’ve had some inquiries about it. However, I wanted to preface that post with a few thoughts about diet plans. Not so much the “how” but the “why” behind following a certain diet regimen.
Obviously, being in this industry I read a lot about nutrition and diet strategies of how to gain muscle, lose fat and be the best thing since dark chocolate (well, sliced bread is on the no-no list on a lot of these diets).
If you’re like me, a big nerd, you like to read and learn as much as you can. Nutrition, I think, is fascinating and I always love knowing more.
Warning: Kelsey’s opinion coming- There’s a lot of great and useful information out there (depending on the source, but it’s there. Don’t give up hope!) but underneath the cover of information comes this urgent (and dare I say obsessive?) message that if you’re not trying to be super lean/muscular then you’re not good enough, tough enough, disciplined enough… insert your own adjective enough. It’s as if life is all about how you look.
Even the less science-y articles found in magazines such as Women’s Health (not trying to bash WH) imply that it’s all about being lean and muscular. And reading article after article like this is dangerous.
Let me explain where I’m coming from with this. I battled with anorexia for five long years. My particular weakness was my body image. I was a competitive bodybuilder for four of those years and it was all about maintaining a low body fat, to the point of obsession. It was a destructive and enslaving mentality. It took God working in my life and the support from my family, husband and friends to finally heal my broken mental state.
This mentality though, is not limited to bodybuilders but it’s pervasive among average women and men too; I’ve seen it! The desire for leanness/muscularity becomes the driving force behind training and eating. Eating becomes a means to an end instead of a delightful experience. Training becomes something you do instead something you enjoy.
The fun is sucked out of life and is replaced with an anxious thirst for an idealized (or idolized) body that will never be slated. Being lean and muscular does NOT equate to happiness. Trust me. “Enslaved” may seem extreme to some, but I’ve been there, and it’s real.
I consistently have to check my motives behind my meals and my workouts, mainly due to my history, but I would encourage you to do the same. Are you seeking an “ideal”?
So ask you, why are you eating the way you do? Whether it be paleo, vegan, weight watchers… whatever, are you eating because you enjoy it or because it’s a means to an end?
I’m not in anyway trying to dissuade you from a particular physical goal. Nor do I want to divert you from a particular eating style; if it works for you and you feel good… awesome! I’m totally supportive of healthy, balanced lifestyles. I guess this post is more of a warning not to let yourself be swayed or convinced that being lean and muscular is what life is all about like I was. It’s also a promise to write posts that DON’T focus on weight loss or body fat levels but posts that are about training and eating for the pure joy of doing so. To write posts that promote balance and not obsession.
I eat because I love to eat (and that whole sustaining life thing). I learn about exercise and I train because I love to train.
I hope you do too.