We are very fortunate to be living in a time where information is always at our fingertips, but as my nonna so cleanly placed it yesterday, “it is not always a good thing.” It is so easy to go on google and diagnose ourselves, to look up a new diet to follow, to listen to opinions and take them as bible. Everyone is entitled to their own option and are allowed to share it. Let’s be honest I would be writing on this blog if I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion. I do think, however, sometimes it can be dangerous.
In the past I have handed myself over in complete faith to the opinions of others. Some of those I turned to didn’t have qualifications but had the body that I aspired to have. My thought process was so naïve, “if I eat like her and do the same kind of exercise then I will look like her.” Gel you were so WRONG.
I was in recovery when I was religiously following this girl on YouTube. When I say ‘recovery,’ I had accepted that I had a problem and that I needed to do something about it. I wasn’t ready to completely trust my body and was seeking guidance of how I could be fit and healthy. In a way it was good because it helped me conquer my fears of so many foods (avocado and bananas to name a couple) and unafraid to increase my portion sizes. But there was still one major problem. I wasn’t listening to MY body, I was doing what worked for HER body. This girl happened to have a lot of intolerances. She is gluten free, grain free and dairy free. Three things that I was not. I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with the way she eats. She listens to her body and does what works for HER. I don’t do things by halves and literally followed what she did to a tee. Sure I started to tone up but I didn’t look like her. How could I, we are DIFFERENT people!
“When you decide what body type you are, every body type has their positive things and negative things. But the good thing about know your body type is learning how to love it and work with what you have. Every body type is beautiful, it’s just a matter of acknowledging it, embracing it, and feeling good about who you are.” – Integrative Nutrition Coach Devon Dionne.
I am an Italian girl and have been raised on a Mediterranean diet. I love pasta, meat, fish, gelati, prosciutto, cheese (much to Bruno’s excitement) and bread. My fondest memories as a child were centered around food and nonna’s glorious kitchen. Food was presented as something in abundance and was always accompanied with family time and good conversation. What I essentially did when I started following the YouTuber was go on a ‘diet’. Some of the food made me feel amazing but I wasn’t able to eat so many of the foods that my family made that I loved.
About six months ago I was introduced to a new family. It was the most instrumental element to my recovery. I started eating the food of my culture again and surprise surprise it felt incredible. I got my curves back, my colour back in my skin, filled in my jeans and released the stress around food. I ate what I wanted to eat in the portion sizes that my body wanted. As soon as I embraced my body type and my lifestyle, my body responded by giving me the best and most sustainable body I have ever had.
I was listening to a podcast during the week about health and nutrition (shocker). Health nutritionist and author, Kelly LeVeque used an analogy that I absolutely loved. She said that “you can’t control everyone like a lab rat…trying to be perfect is not balance.” This basically alluded to the point that every BODY is different. It is not a BAD thing. It is a BLESSING. If we were all the same we would be clones.
In society today there is a real glorification around “thinness” rather than “healthy.” “Healthy” has so many different looks. It takes into account culture, height, lifestyle, work, location and sleep. It is so broad and encompasses so many different elements.
Think for a second of the basic elements of your life. Where do you live? Do you have children? Are you married? Do you work fulltime? Do you play sport? Where does your food come from? What food have you been raised on? Now think of the person you are admiring on social media. Is your life the same as that person?
For me it is not sustainable to be in the gym every single day. My “healthy” is getting to the gym four days a week, a walk, a couple of yoga sessions and eating the food that is around me. If I don’t train it isn’t the end of the world. If I eat cake it’s not the end of the world.
This week something that would have usually been so stressful didn’t stress me out. I somehow got this virus. It was nasty so I’m not going into details. But what I will say is that I could only eat dry food (bread and rice) and the only exercise was my regular sprints to the bathroom. Usually I would just not eat because I wouldn’t want the bread, force my body to move around when it really should be still; and study to make sure I didn’t lose any progress. This time around I left uni early, my sister confiscated my laptop so I could rest (I won't lie I attempted study), I didn’t exercise and I ate because my body still needed energy. I was able to get over the virus in just a couple of days and woke up on Saturday feeling so full of life again (and very excited for my morning coffee).
“I have loved myself to where my body naturally wants to be at this point in my life. It will still change as the years go on and as I experience different new chapters…and that is something I now embrace with love, rather than try to keep my body at one place for all eternity. You cannot control these things, no matter how you try. It is impossible and goes against nature!” – Mel Wells.
My message is this: You are BEAUTIFUL the way that you are. Your body is allowed to CHANGE, it is NATURAL. There is a difference between embracing a healthy LIFESTYLE and going on a DIET. Your body is UNIQUE. YOU do YOU. LOVE your body and it will LOVE you right back.
Me embracing my love of food since 1995....
Pretending that I'm going to enjoy my gelato with nonna when I am actually dreading what it will do to my body...
Trying to keep my clothes clean of food... but smiling because I am surrounded by a beautiful family, food is on the way; and I have embraced a life of balance.