Yesterday we had Jess on why being skinny isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Today, Helen Stuart, on ratatouille, self-love and why you won’t catch her lusting after a pair of J brands.
Oliver had it right when he sang ‘Food, glorious food.’ Much like the author of this blog, I love food in all its forms. A Cadbury’s Twirl with a cup of tea pleases me just as much as a fancy four course dinner. In fact, probably more so.
I’ve always been this way and as a result of my appetite and distaste for any exercise that causes blotching and sweating, I am not the sveltest of ladies. But, unlike the vast majority of women, I am not prepared to sacrifice one of my biggest passions in life in order to conform.
In addition to my large appetite for food, I also devour magazines. Glossies, weeklies, women’s, men’s, fashion and celebrity tat – I love them all. Thus it saddens me to see the dreaded ‘d’ word appear in all of them. The idea that we collectively need to lose weight has become pervasive in our popular. Granted, obesity is a growing problem, but you rarely see the ‘Healthy Joints and No Creaking NHS diet’ – as Gok wouldn’t say, it’s all about the lack of body confidence.
Yes, I’d look awful in skinny jeans and a bikini just isn’t going to happen, but who’s to say I’m unhealthy. A healthy diet is a balanced diet which fulfils all your nutritional needs. And you know what? Sometimes those needs call for a bar of chocolate or a glass of wine, just as sometimes you need a big plate of salad and a detox juice (we’ve all had one of those weekends).
Sure I eat a lot, and sometimes – like most twenty-somethings – I eat crap. But I also eat well. I love nothing more than a cracking ratatouille with chunks of fresh baguette, or a large plate of salad, drizzled in a fine mist of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. But let’s face it, that will never cure a hangover.
We all need to be taught from a young age – whether by parents, teachers or youth workers – that we need food to live. It’s easy to eat healthily. Have everything – in moderation – and eat as much as you need to feel full and energised.
I used to think people who had eating disorders just took diets to extremes. Unfortunately, in my first two years at university, I witnessed a close friend succumb to a disorder and it was then that I realised – it’s all in the mind. For the people who suffer from these mental illnesses, it’s not about being thin. It’s not about eating or weighing less. It’s not about eating (or not eating) specific foods. It’s about control.
This is why we all need to address our minds before we address our tummies. Establish a balanced relationship with food, indulge in a little self-love (the other kind, get your minds out of the gutter!) and eat. It really is as simple as that.
By Helen Stuart
If you liked this, read more from Helen on her blog Bonnets and Bustles.