by Orla Prout
Orla: “Hello my name is Orla”.
All: “Hello Orla”.
Orla: “I’m 23 and it’s been 4 days since I last indulged, I know shouldn’t have but I just couldn’t resist it, I had to have… that one slice of bread”.
It sounds ridiculous, but sadly this is becoming a regular occurrence for some people trying to watch what they eat. Lately, a lot has been written in the media about body-shaming but it remains a serious problem. We’re bombarded by images in all mediums that reinforce certain stereotypes. Apparently, we all need to be size 8, toned, have big boobs, an ass, a tiny waist, perfect hair and if we’re not fortunate enough to be blessed with those genes we are made to feel inadequate. I’m a curvy woman: I have boobs, an ass, thighs and a tummy. I’m not perfect, nor do I aspire to be. I’m not anorexic or obese I’m your average woman. I’m 23 years old, 5.4” and weigh just under 11 stone. I’m normally a size 10 /size 12 (let’s face it ladies we all know this depends on the shop) but because of media pressure it has taken me twenty three years (my entire life) to realise that it’s OK not to fit these stereotypes.
This pressure is evident in so many aspects of modern society where the bikini body is often praised above intelligence and being sexy is everything. A-listers are often placed on a pedestal solely for their looks. Rather than boasting about their skills and intellect we’re just told about how these women lost weight and the wonders of fad dieting. Call me a cynic but a diet that consists of baby food or one that has you drinking lemon juice and cayenne pepper like Beyoncé can only be described as absurd. Such dieting is neither healthy nor sustainable. This is where there are blurred lines between losing weight and getting fit. They’re not the same. Society needs to change its mind-frame. Let’s make getting healthy the new sexy.
In order to make real changes and become healthier it is important that it’s not considered a short-term diet, but rather a lifestyle change. So try the J-Lo diet for two weeks for upcoming wedding if you really feel you have to, but long term when you go back to eating normally again, well you may not like what the mirror tells you. Other crazes liking eating only organic foods, while it may healthy, is massively expensive and “diet” branded products have added ingredients to take out the extra fats. So well done if you can do it, but for most of us mere mortals by the time Christmas rolls around again we’ll all be back to our normal eating habits. So what’s the best thing to do?
Getting healthy itself is a contradictory issue. Everything disputes each other: carbs are the devil and should be avoided but they’re also important to give energy. Dairy intake should be limited, yet vitamin D and calcium are essential. This is the way with all the food groups. Since Christmas I’ve been making a conscious effort to exercise more and eat better. This wasn’t just a resolution for the first week of January. I’ve been going to circuit training classes twice a week since the start of February. I’ve also reduced the amounts of bread, processed foods and cheese that I eat. I’ve done this to tone up a bit and get fitter but more importantly I’m doing this for me. I’m doing this to become healthier, to be able to actually enjoy exercise and for the first time in my life I’m doing this to be gain self-confidence with my body.
I’ve learned a lot in the last few months and getting healthier seems to be more complicated than it needs to be so here are some tips to get you started:
- Eat slightly less and exercise slightly more. That’s the ultimate key. It’s not a secret.
- Find an exercise you enjoy and try to do this 3 or 4 times a week.
- Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day.
- Keep going even when the going gets tough.
- Go by your clothes, not by the weighing scale.
- Don’t judge yourself by your imperfections, strive to embrace them.
- Make the changes for yourself. Don’t do it to impress anyone else but yourself and you’ll be surprised with what you can achieve.
- Don’t cut out anything completely. Trust me, as strong-willed as you think you are if you cut bread entirely that toast binge is right around the corner. Instead make small sustainable changes; from white bread to brown etc.
- Have your cheat meal once a week and enjoy every minute of it! It means that you cut the cravings and is a great way to reward yourself for all that hard work!
So let’s make it that fit and healthy is the new black, so that toned and intelligent is what we aspire to be and let’s learn to actually love our bodies, “we are beautiful no matter what they say”