Last year I was in survival mode trying to get through to the finishing line of moving house and I gave into frothy coffees, chai lattes and comfort foods. Amazing what stress and lack of sleep does to you.
Now I’m trying to get back on track with healthier eating and making lunch rather than buying. (I’m good with bulk prepping evening meals, but not lunch so much – I get bored quickly!) My lunch of the month is homemade stir fried rice, having got the idea from a meal prep blog that I follow.
My rice dish is basically:
Basmati rice (cooked a few hours before)
Chicken or lean pork
When they’re all prepped for the week I’m not tempted to buy anything out. OH YEAH
After an interesting conversation at work this morning about eating, I have been wondering why people are so fixated on THREE MEALS A DAY. My colleague was waiting for another colleague (S) to come out of a meeting so they could go swimming at lunchtime. Her dilemma was that she was really hungry but couldn’t eat anything before going swimming. In the end, S couldn’t get away from her meeting and my colleague didn’t go anyway because she wanted to eat. I had said to her beforehand that when I am dancing, I have a snack bar or something about an hour to an hour and a half before the class. But then those words came back – “I can’t because it adds to my Slimming World points” – ARGHHHH
I’m sorry, but the primary purpose of food is to fuel the body. If a diet programme is preventing you from eating when you need energy for a task, there is something wrong. It may not necessarily just be Slimming World’s fault, because really, my colleague is also quite fixated on eating at set times and must have lunch at 12 on the dot. But then again, I do blame these point-counting or calorie-counting diet empires because counting becomes the be-all and end-all and logic goes out the window.
‘Snacking’ is like a swear-word in the minds of dieters because it tends to be linked with junk food like crisps and chocolate bars. But there are so many healthy snack alternatives to give you the fuel you need before exercise:
Piece of fruit (e.g. banana)
Granola bar (homemade, even better!)
Apple slices with a nut butter
I sometimes have half a sandwich or salad an hour before my class and the other half of my lunch when I return, along with a small green smoothie.
At lunchtime today I went to the gym and finally used my PAYG pass! (I had intended to go last wednesday, but I was too tired and didn’t want to run myself down).
Although I didn’t train mean, I did do 10 minutes on the crosstrainer plus a cool-down, several reps on the leg press and hamstring curl weight machines, then I spent 10 minutes stretching on the mat.
All in all a short, sharp lunch hour workout! I have to say I felt much more energised afterwards. Unlike this guy:
Something that has been on my mind recently – while I agree it is good to eat healthily, this ‘clean eating’ thing has become a bit annoying. As well as the current OBSESSION with ‘smashed avocado’, there is also a huge trend at the moment of only eating a raw, plant-based diet and juice-cleansing at every opportunity. If you want to do that, great. However, I think it can become another food-focussed obsession that feeds into the realm of disordered eating where you may view certain foods to be ‘good’ or ‘clean’ and (most) other foods to be bad or ‘dirty’.
I recently read about a wellness blogger who had a best selling book called $25 Five Day Cleanse, but by obsessively following her own advice of raw food veganism and juice cleanses, her hair fell out and her periods stopped.
A quote from her blog:
“I was on a quest for perfection. I was laser-focused on being my healthiest, cleanest, most pure self. But eventually, that focus started to dominate my life. My desire for “perfect health” trumped everything else, and for a long time, I didn’t even realize it.”
Maybe it’s the Instagram effect, but there’s a real pressure to be your best self at all times. I don’t have an Instagram account and I don’t want one, but I think any online social media presence can start to have a similar effect, which then creeps into everyday life…especially more so if you have more perfectionist tendencies and/or are unhappy in your current self. Thankfully the blogger got the help she needed.
As dancers we need to fuel our bodies (or “power-up” as I like to say), but dancers can also become obsessed with better, more, perfect… especially in the ballet world. There’s definitely nothing wrong with being vegetarian or vegan. I even went pescetarian for a while because I wanted to consume more fish, less meat and feel a bit healthier (didn’t last!). But it definitely shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health and enjoyment of life.
(While I am not a nutritionist, I have a real interest in sports nutrition and studied this as part of a fitness qualification I did a few years ago, so I could talk about this all day…)