The “Healthy Living” arena has never felt more chaotic and chaotic
June 29, 2022 6:00 AM(Updated 6:01 am)
In a magazine interview this week, Fiona Bruce said she didn’t start exercising until after she gave birth to her son, 21 years ago, because her GP was “so terrified” that she never really rushed to run. “I got scared because she was so terrified,” Bruce says. “So I decided to do something.”
Bruce sees nothing wrong with this story but I think these days that GP would be heavily labeled a “disgrace” to her for her lack of exercise.
Just look at the language Bruce uses about the event, at the words ‘panicked’ and ‘appalled’. It’s only exercise, but Bruce clearly can still feel the effect of that judgment from the doctor; She can still remember the shame.
It got me thinking about the hopeless mess we live in about health, diet and exercise. And what can be blamed. I think it might just be the internet.
The “Healthy Living” arena has never felt more chaotic and chaotic at the same time that it is more disturbed than ever by information, studies, and facts about health and nutrition.
The chaos we find ourselves in is rooted in the conflicting messages we receive daily. The first message is that we should be confident, happy, love our bodies, and “embrace our curves” (does anyone say this to men? Just an idea).
But the second is that being overweight is really bad for us and there is a clear link between obesity and at least six different types of cancer.
Third, overthinking about diet and exercise transmits disordered thoughts about food to our children.
Fourth, food is delicious and about love, sharing and feasting with our friends.
Fifth, if you use any type of social media and stop for a moment on certain content, you will be flooded with exercise videos and photos of women promising, for example, “Target your lower dog.” And don’t get me started with those apps like Noom and Lumen or Daily Om who will tell me how to get rid of ‘Middle Menopause in 10 Days’ for £25.
(I just paid £25 for this course, in the name of research, and received a diet plan that seemed completely unworkable – anyone know where I can find an 8-ounce ‘bloating-reducing digestive enhancer’ in Kentish Town? – you might be missing it And save yourself money.)
All this whirlpool madness! Which one is it? Do I need to embrace my curves or shake off my mid-menopause? Is my middle menopause? Does a dog in my lower abdomen need to be targeted and destroyed?
We are all in a state of stress caused by our bodies when we receive and process all this completely contradictory information, while living in a world that simply throws food at us and gives us endless excuses not to get up from our desks.
We know we need to eat healthy food and we know what that sounds like. Maybe we’re eating healthy, but it’s also very easy to supplement all that kale and fish with a family pack of Maltesers and a whip of white wine at 159kcal per 175ml.
We also know we need to exercise regularly, but, oh Playy, it’s a cavity and the rowing machine tells me that sweaty rowing for 30 minutes only burns 170 calories. What’s the use of that? And anyway, I should love my body and embrace my curves, not crush myself on a machine and deprive myself of the food I love. Life is too short.
But the most destabilizing information comes from individuals, perhaps even your friends, who will fall for themselves telling you how to manage your middle. But before all that, they will tell you that you don’t need to manage your middle. Tell anyone at all that you are on any diet, the first thing they will say is: “Why? You do not need a diet, you are small!”
Then they’ll say one of the following: Don’t count calories, it’s all rainbow. Don’t eat the rainbow, just eat 500 calories twice a week. Don’t cut any food, just throw in the wine. Do not throw wine in the garbage, eat within eight hours. Eat less and move more. Everything in moderation. A little of what you can imagine helps you. No Carbs, Low Fat, High Fiber, More Water!
There is no answer and 50,000 answers. No wonder we’re all fat. The only thing I know for sure in this mess is that I know nothing. At least it is a “digestive enhancer that reduces bloating”.