Healthy eating with a healthy mindset this summer!

I am on a journey of improving my relationship with food.

In the past I’ve tended to be an emotional eater. Whenever I was upset I wanted to be really full. I have tried to curb my enthusiasm for all things sweet but the “mmm” factor can be hard to resist. Diets have never inspired my interest, neither has inner guilt tripping worked as a preventative, it just adds to the sugar binge when my will breaks!

I’m currently reading Amelia Freer’s “Eat. Nourish. Grow.” Amelia tells us that “you are what you eat. So don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.”

I’m an average sized mid-thirties woman, and, like most people, I have my hang-ups. However, the times when I look my best are when I feel my best. Having great friends, “me” time, exercise and eating well help me to maintain a happy life.

When I saw the “Are you Beach Body Ready?” poster on the tube, like many other people out there, I felt pretty fed up! There are many ways for us to feel ready for the summer: trying to look like an 18 year old isn’t a realistic option for me.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are of a slender body type (ectomorph), love working out and are very committed, then emulating the poster may be an enjoyable, empowering and achievable goal for you. I just feel it’s really important that people, especially the young and impressionable, become educated about different body types. To know if you are an endomorph, ectomorph or mesomorph body type could really help gain perspective on what is a healthy ideal for you.sh_nutrition-lemon

“It’s not about calories in and calories out nor is it about being lazy or greedy, there are so many different scenarios that fuel how we choose to eat. So exactly how can you find your grace around food?”

My mum tried the 5:2 diet years ago as she had put on weight and wanted to regain her youthful figure. I saw it work for her and saw how much she felt empowered by her gradual weight loss.

Over the past few months I have tried the 5:2 out and, to my amazement, I found that I have much more energy. My slumps and sugar binges have been reduced, but, if I do eat a piece of cheesecake or biscuits (or, sometimes, both), I don’t give myself a hard time.

I’m actually eating much more healthily and I enjoy the sensation of hunger, something I didn’t particularly wait to feel in the past. At first I found the fasting days quite tricky, especially by the evening. I felt like I could eat a door if it looked at me in the wrong way, but by breakfast the next day, I was no longer so strung up about it and, by then, I could eat what I wanted.

I’m pretty much the same weight as I was before but I feel stronger and more svelte. The point I’m trying to make is not to endorse the 5:2 diet: I’m just a voice sharing the fact that I’ve found a way to deal with my cycle of emotional eating.

I want to enjoy every mouthful of every meal I have freely. I’m making better choices and I feel better for it.

I have found my grace around food.

Today I can look at that poster, tut at the media and how they try to torment me and go about my business, happy just as I am, perfectly imperfect.

In the heat I love eating big fresh salads with goat’s cheese, roasted sweet potatoes and cashews. I have a juicer and adore apple, carrot, ginger and lime juice. Smoothies with spinach, berries, avocado, almonds and cacao are also a really stunning, sweet energy booster for me.

I’m really looking forward to the summer. I hope to swim in the sea, have fun with friends and go on big country walks.

Here’s to loving food, making healthier choices and embracing the sweet treats without the guilt. Enjoy your ice cream on a hot day!

I wish you an incredible summer.

By Sophie McNicholas