As part of my degree course (I’m studying to become a Dieitian) we routinely analyse people’s diets and lifestyles, and make changes and suggestions in line with Government guidelines. And do you know what, there isn’t one single mention of avocado on toast, coconut oil or spirulina.
To me, healthy eating is all about moderation and eating real foods.
I think we can get too hyped up by the latest healthy food craze or fad diet and lose sight of the real goal here; to fuel your body with the right sorts of nutrition to live healthy, happy lives.
New research shows that over 60% of Brits are in denial about their health, either lying to themselves, or friends/family and medical professionals about their food and alcohol intake and what their lifestyle is really like. As a social smoker at uni, I know I used to lie to the doctor (and my mum!!) about it for years, telling myself that I wasn’t addicted and therefore it didn’t really count. Similarly, even now, I know that when I had to write down a weighed food diary for a university project, I was shocked at just how many sweet treats I was having – far more than I realised.
Apparently 34% of us exaggerate how healthy we are on social media – and I’m probably guilty of this too. I share my runs, I don’t share the post run cookie binge that occasionally happens (Tom found the discarded packet under the coffee table on Sunday evening – whoops!). According to the poll done by KP nuts, we are over exaggerating due to peer pressure, celebrity influences and the general feeling that we need to ‘keep up with the Jones’. With everyone sharing their healthiest selves online, we aren’t seeing all of the ‘unhealthy’ stuff going on behind the scenes – or rather the BALANCE going on behind the scenes. I drink green smoothies and eat avocado on toast, I also drink gin and eat burgers.
According to the study conducted by KP Nuts, these are the most commonly told lies about our health, fitness and lifestyle…
20 TOP HEALTH AND FITNESS FIBS:
- I drink more than 1 litre of water a day
- I don’t watch much telly
- I only drink at weekends
- I visit the gym regularly
- My kids aren’t allowed sweets
- I have a normal BMI
- I never eat takeaways
- I don’t really like chocolate
- I don’t like the taste of alcohol
- I’m not a fan of fried food
- My kids love vegetables
- I never eat fast food
- I lift really heavy weights
- I only shop at organic supermarkets
- I don’t eat any saturated fat
- I won’t have processed food in the house
- I have never tried a kebab
- I don’t eat carbs at all
- I’ve run a marathon
- My children never eat fast food
So let me get real here…
- I do normally drink 2-3 litres of water per day, especially on the days when I’m at uni.
- I don’t watch TV everyday but am obsessed with NCIS (and have just finished watching The Crown on Netflix- so good)
- I’ve given up drinking before the Boston marathon (although confession, I have drunk twice since ‘giving up’ – a glass of champagne at an engagement celebration and one glass of fizz for a friend’s 30th)
- I went to the gym once last week. Sometimes it takes me until 9pm to convince myself to do my easy run.
- No kids. Tom isn’t allowed sweets but he eats them anyway 😉
- I have a BMI of 21.6 (within healthy range)
- I had a takeaway on Friday night, then ate the leftovers on Sunday. I love Thai food.
- I love chocolate and eat it every single day. I blame my mother.
- I really like G&Ts, champagne, wine, cocktails, beer…. I just don’t like the hangover.
- I’ve been known to eat 20 chicken nuggets alone in one sitting
- No kids. I love vegetables.
- I practically ran straight from the Chicago marathon finish line to Shake Shack. I love burgers – however I actually have never been to KFC.
- I struggled through my Barrecore workout on Monday with 1kg weights.
- I shop at Waitrose because it’s the most convenient supermarket for me. I buy organic meat and dairy but can’t afford organic everything.
- I try to limit saturated fat, but probably eat it on a daily basis.
- Where do you draw the line with processed foods… you could drive yourself mad making your own almond milk etc. That said, real food all the way.
- There was an amazing kebab shop near our old house, so whilst I’ve never had a Doner kebab, I have enjoyed a number of shish kebabs in my time – and actually with grilled chicken, salad and pita, there’s nothing unhealthy about it.
- Life without carbs sounds miserable, and dangerous.
- I HAVE run a marathon. Six of them, and currently training for number 7 and 8.
- I will probably take my future children to McDonalds…and if I don’t then Tom certainly will.
Why do we do this? To make ourselves feel better? For likes on Instagram? To impress our friends?
When KP Nuts got in touch with me sharing this info they told me that they wanted to help remove that pressure, and spread the word that we should be judging foods for their real nutritional value, not just following the latest fad diet – I couldn’t agree more and it’s why I wanted to get involved with this partnership.
Let’s focus more on the nutritional break down of the food you’re eating, both the micro and macronutrients, rather than just what is ‘instagrammable’ or trendy. We should be focusing on meeting our iron, Vit C, Vit D and Calcium requirements from real, whole foods, and swapping saturated fats for sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Although I don’t agree with everything I’m learning on my dietetics course, I do strongly believe that a food first approach is crucial in everyone’s diets and overall health.
Making small changes/additions is key. Swap your afternoon treat for a piece of fruit or square of dark chocolate (by the way, the Lindt choc bars give you the biggest bang for your square!), have a handful of peanuts or Greek yogurt for a mid-morning for a protein hit to stop you making a poor choice at lunch (just 25g peanuts contains 7g protein!) or add some soluble fibre in the form of oats or seeded bread for breakfast to keep you fuller for longer. These are the sorts of adjustments we’re learning to advise patients in the future.
So can we all try to be a little bit more honest with ourselves and on our social media channels? When I shared on my blog and Instagram that I’d been too hungover to run a few weeks ago and skipped my training run, I received so many comments of support and thanks for being real. I promise to continue to be real on my blog, vlog (have you subscribed to my channel) and social channels and share the good, bad and ugly of my life.
Although it was all over the news last week, the fact that we should be eating ten pieces of fruit and veg rather than five is not new…the Australians have been advising it for years. Instead of giving up something for Lent, I’m going to be taking up eating 10 pieces of fruit and veg a day. I’ve given it a go over the last few days and it’s not as hard as I thought it could be. Fun fact – vegetable crisps count as one of your five a day! So do baked beans!
Do you ever fib about any healthy choice you make (or don’t make)? What confessions would you admit to from the above 20?