Isn’t it ironic that the first part of the word ‘diet’ is ‘die’? I mean, whoever invented the word can’t have been in a particularly positive place can they? My bet is that it was first used by a crazy, deprived woman who had eaten nothing but a lettuce leaf all day and needed a word to describe the torture she was inflicting on herself.
The sheer mention of the word diet makes me want to hurl myself off a bridge with a brick chained to my ankle. If the deprivation and hunger pangs alone weren’t enough cause to end it all, then the sudden arrival of nutritional experts that spring up this time of year will do it for me. Julia at work who is on a new juicing plan that her sister recommended, which is so much better for you than what you’re doing, insists you join her as she has already lost 2 stone and has only been on it for 5 days. Your mum worries that you’re not eating enough and warns of the dangers of being too thin during the winter as ‘the cold will will go straight to your bones’. The bloke next door corners you every time you go to your car and tries to sell you the benefits of his girlfriend’s cousin’s dog’s diet who has lost 5lb from some special biscuits the vet prescribed. It’s exhausting!
Deep down, we all know that there is no special fix and the fact is for most of us who want to lose weight, we just need to stop being greedy and lazy. It should be easy, we are surrounded by health freaks and the clean eating brigade. Instagram is filled with mythical creatures who drink green juice in their yoga pants and look blissfully happy all the damn time. We can visit YouTube and literally watch a beautiful being with perfect hair and amazing teeth eat her way through kale salads and avocado on toast. We should be inspired, motivated and eager to start our journeys to perfection through healthy eating. Instead, I’m just jealous. I will never have perfect teeth or perfect hair, regardless of how much green juice I drink. I may as well eat a Gregg’s sausage roll. But then I feel guilty and the viscous circle starts again. The mythical creatures of Instagram will judge me. Even I, a fattie, found myself frowning upon someone eating a pasty in the street recently. It’s just not cool anymore. Gone is the glamour of Carrie Bradshaw munching on a cupcake, now replaced with a Victoria’s Secret model drinking her coconut water and waving her wings to mock us all.
But is it my fault that I eat Domino’s pizza every week? No. I blame the fact that they text me more than my boyfriend does, enticing me with the latest sizzling hot deals. I don’t have someone contacting me reminding me to eat my blueberries, so who can blame me for turning to pepperoni instead. I’m only human after all. Don’t get me wrong, I like healthy food and often gulp down a green smoothie in the morning, but it usually goes hand in hand with a bacon sandwich. I miss bacon sandwiches when I’m on a diet. I’m talking proper bacon, loads of butter and crusty white bread. When you swap for turkey bacon on dry wholemeal bread, it loses its charm and I would rather just not bother. Same with cake, who wants a sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, calorie free, fun free cake? Not me. Give me a fat slab of happiness any day.
So this year, at a time when many people are starting their diet journeys, I am refusing. I don’t want to diet. There I said it. It’s not that I don’t need to lose weight, because I do, for my health if not for vanity, but I have come to the conclusion that dieting isn’t the answer. I’ve been on so many diets during my adult life and the truth is I’m still fat. The answer for me is common sense. Eat that Domino’s pizza with extra pepperoni and double cheese, but ignore the flirting texts you receive almost daily and only have it once a month rather than several times a week. Have a chocolate bar, but do some exercise to compensate. In fact, do exercise anyway. When I start moving more I automatically want to eat a bit better so as not to undo the hard work I’ve done. I will not deprive myself or feel guilty for not being one of those mythical Instagram creatures, because that’s exactly what they are: Mythical. When the camera is turned off they probably stuff their perfect faces with a greasy kebab whilst sitting around in their stained dressing gown nursing a hangover like the rest of us. So they can judge me all they like whilst I live my happy little imperfect life, enjoying all the food that life can throw at me.
Gotta go, I need to post a picture of my avocado and poached egg on toast to Instagram (look at that yolk though!) then eat a whole Toblerone behind the scenes.