“Moderation in all things” decried Aristotle, and what wise words they were.
Like every woman in the Western world I fret over my size and shape. I love food, and I will never be a girl who goes out to dinner and orders a side salad and a glass of water, but this means I must demonstrate self control when it comes to both exercise and cooking at home.
The blame for the growing obsession with women’s weight has been placed at almost everyone’s door from magazine editors, fashion designers and the male species to Nicole Ritchie, Lady Gaga and Kate Moss. Correctly there should be concern over the number of young girls who see stick insects such as Taylor Momsen and Nadine Coyle and aspire to achieve similarly emaciated frames, whatever the cost. But equally there is no denying that for centuries now, women have gone to great lengths to look slim; whether it be through donning corsets or ditching carbs.
I do believe that us girls waste far too much time and money thinking, talking, obsessing about what we eat and what we weigh…and that we have become infatuated with the idea of a quick fix in the form of new diets such as Atkins, GI, South Beach, Dukan..the list goes on and on. It is so utterly ludicrous, and I include myself in the group that have done it, because the solution for all of us is simple, obvious and free.
Exercise and moderation – two little words we have all heard time and time again, but they really are the key. It is a matter of getting into the habit, and habit is the important word here, of exercising as regularly as your schedule allows and moderating yourself whenever it won’t hinder your happiness to do so. What I mean by that is, if you’re in the pub and you want a pie and chips (like I did on Friday) then order it. If you have friends around and want to eat 10 of the delicious roast potatoes you slaved over (like I did on Sunday) then do so. And savour them, don’t beat yourself up afterwards.
But to justify this glorious indulgence in the week, when you can, take healthy lunches to work, buy soup and fruit for lunch, walk to the office, go swimming with a friend after work, have salads and grilled meat for dinner. Do what works for you, but trust me there is no quick fix. Yes, you can lost 7lbs in a week on Atkins but I promise you will put it back on within a fortnight off Atkins.
It has taken me a very long time to accept this myself, and I have a towering stack of diet books in my bedroom to prove it, yet once you get your head around the idea and plan for your days of moderation – making sure you have healthy food in the fridge, finding a running route near home, keeping fruit on your desk -it becomes so much simpler to do. Yes it is nice to think a quick fix will solve your battle with your waistline but it just isn’t realistic.
Heed Aristotle’s advice and those days of indulgence will be so much happier, more enjoyable and worth a little bit of hard work.