My problem with ‘healthy’ eating plans

We all want to be healthy and happy. We set ourselves goals for self-improvement; anything from running a marathon in six months to not dying when going up a flight of stairs. Whatever prompts us to improve our health, there are tools out there to help us achieve that. But sometimes, the desired results just aren’t visible, even with maximum effort in the workout department. This usually comes down to what you’re eating.

I know, I know. As much as it pains me to say it, doughnuts aren’t the way to success here. Fitness and physical health come down to what you eat, plus some exercise. Consistency is key. There are countless fitness regimes that often come with ‘healthy’ eating guides that are optional, but recommended for optimal results. However, I have a few bones to pick with these eating guides. Let’s go from least to most important, shall we?

Punishment of Being Human

True, you are the one who willingly decided to step out on this journey. However, many plans forget that you are also human. Sure, you started the plan full of determination to succeed, but you will slip up. Maybe it’s a chocolate bar on the way home from work or a few drinks with friends on the weekend. You tell yourself that you can skip that workout, but then suddenly it’s a week later and you’ve not touched your sports gear. Many healthy eating plans refuse to allow for these moments of weakness. I prefer guides that understand that there are times when only chocolate will do. These plans often provide healthier alternatives to your favourite foods, which is something I personally champion on my own fitness journey.

I believe that you shouldn’t cut out whole food groups, but instead look for healthier alternatives to what you love. I workout to improve my health, but also slip up or have the odd pizza or doughnut here and there (and there, and there… oh and there also). Plans that allow this are more sustainable in the long term as, after all, we should be looking for permanent lifestyle changes instead of futile ‘quick fixes’, but to err is human.

Energy Provision

The main purpose of healthy eating guides that come with workout regimes is to give you enough energy to do the workouts and enough nutrients to recover. Many guides achieve this, but there are plenty that seem to forget that you’re a person who has other shit to do alongside these often grueling regimes. There are some that don’t allow for snacking, leaving you hungry between meals. Others just don’t provide enough calories even with snacks, leading to the same results. Sometimes you can seem hungry but truly need entertainment or water, but when your body is actually hungry, it needs more fuel. When this is restricted, but you are forced to workout nonetheless, this can be damaging and/or unsustainable in the long term.

The Cost of Healthy Living

This is the big one for me. These eating plans, even the ‘affordable’ ones, rack up a huge bill over time. First off, you will have to purchase this plan, which often costs £15 plus. Then there are the ingredients. Blueberries, almond milk, coconut flour, chia seeds, dragonfruit; these ingredients are either expensive, hard to find or both. They may be out of season or just costly all year round, but usually buying even one hurts my wallet.

Then there are allergy requirements. For example, I am allergic to peanuts, but every food plan ever hails peanut butter as the best thing to eat. I understand why since it’s a great source of protein and is very versatile. Almond butter, my preferred alternative, is usually twice the price for a smaller jar; a situation that I know other allergy sufferers know all too well.

If you’re living alone, then this is not such a huge issue. However, if you’re just making enough to get by and have other people to think about, the price of your regular food shop starts to skyrocket.

Conclusion

It is for the reasons above that I have a hard time integrating these plans into my life. I am a broke graduate living with her partner and has allergies, which is not the ideal person these plans are going for. Healthy eating plans are for rich people with loads of time on their hands. Until we rethink our food prices or raise the minimum wage to a real living wage, this is unlikely to change.

What do you guys think? Do you agree with me? What plans have you tried, if any? Let me know via Twitter @apageoutofchloe or in the comments below. I’m looking forward to talking with all of you!

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