Fasting, dieting or starvation - what ever happened to enjoying a healthy lifestyle?

I was ashamed to see my mother lovingly unpacking a book she had ordered last night. Unpacking the packaging as delicately as if it were a newborn baby, she squealed with glee and called me over to look at what she had in her hands.

To my horror, it was the new 5:2 cooking book which offers a range of “delicious” meals that are 500 calories or less to help you fast on certain days of the week.

What kind of lunacy is this? On what planet do women believe that they should starve their bodies of nutrition for two days a week in order to be unhealthily skinny and model a body more often owned by the starving children in third world countries?

I think it is disgusting that society has made women feel they must lose weight in such a ridiculous manner that could pose serious health risks – in one magazine article I read that a woman’s reproductive system had actually shut down because her body went into starvation mode and could no longer cope.

But what I think is even more disgusting is the fact that women in society are now stupid enough and naive enough (and sadly, I must now include my mother in this category) to buy into this fad and potentially be willing to cause their bodies serious harm in the process.

I have always been one for a healthy lifestyle and go to the gym or swim three times a week, purely because I love to exercise and as a social experience because many of my friends attend the same gym. I don’t do it to be skinny or loose weight, I prefer to build muscle and tone up which in turn makes me weigh more as muscle is heavier than fat.
I go to the gym because I like to set myself personal challenges and to push myself using machines to build up the weights and resistance I am using.

I also eat extremely healthily, again, because I enjoy it – I love healthy food. I have always craved salad and fish and fruit, but I am also known to indulge in a few cocktails, cakes and sausage rolls!

I eat to fuel my body for exercise, and just as I deserve a rest day from exercise, my tummy deserves a treat from the usual healthy food every now and again. The key is moderation and a good attitude!

Far too many people seem to think that eating less is the key to losing weight when really they need to get off their bottoms and start moving more and faster.

I know it is hard to fit in workouts around a full time job and to have the energy when you get home, but I work a full time job, am studying for a Diploma in Journalism distance learning, have a pretty packed social life and contribute regular articles to a festival website – yet I still manage to find time.

I think there are far too many excuses in the world and far too many lazy people with bad attitudes. Your body is the most precious gift you will ever receive and it deserves the finest in treatment considering the incredible things it allows you to do. Cramming down three McDonalds meals a week and heading to KFC every night for a Krushem is not the way to respect your body.

Hopefully, I have managed to persuade my mother to shred the book and try a better attitude towards working out – one can only hope she doesn’t sneak the book back out of the bin!

In the meantime, hopefully I will be getting out of the gym soon and trying out a combination of yoga classes and bootcamp to test my body in new ways.