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Down with diets


DITCHED PROCESSED FOODSNature provides us with all we need to maintain a healthy system and weigh

Paul O'Brien

It’s a new year, a chance to make a fresh start. For many this partly means taking some form of exercise and – that dreaded phrase – going on a diet! It almost sounds like a trip away to some exotic location. But ‘going on a diet’ is packaged with negative connotations and emotions – lack, guilt, low self-esteem and boredom.
Then there’s the myriad of decisions to be made – What to eat? What not to eat? What’s good and bad? What will suit me and what won’t? What’s popular? What works best? Should I avoid gluten, or meat or sugar? Should I take supplements?
The next step is to go looking for answers. Perhaps you ask a friend what they’re doing and why. You might Google ‘Best diets’. You might join a weight-loss club or start a diet. Soon, your head is spinning with the reams of conflicting information. You don’t know where to turn or who to trust.

The right questions
You should begin by asking the right questions. What kind of relationship do I have with food? Is it an enjoyable one? Or one of guilt and lack? What kind of relationship do I want with food? How does what I eat affect the rest of my life – my mental, physical and emotional health? What would it mean to me to feel better about these areas of my life by enjoying a healthy, balanced diet? Do I want to diet? What has been my previous experience with dieting?
You may have seen it already, but the key to a healthy relationship with food is to understand its pivotal role in your life. Food is, of course, functional. We cannot survive without it for long and the nourishment we receive from it helps us to maintain a healthy and vibrant body. All of the billions of cells that make up your body use the food you put into your mouth daily to run that amazing organism that is you.

Engine care
The logical conclusion to draw from this is that you get what you give. If you fuel your body with highly processed, unnatural foods, containing multiple ingredients you might not put into your car engine, then you can’t be surprised when eventually the engine starts to falter.
If you eat this type of food habitually, the engine will stop sooner than it should.
Conversely, food that comes in its natural state will provide the fuel that will stave off the harmful effects and keep the engine clean and purring, perhaps for longer than you expected!

Nature knows best
The key words are ‘unnatural’ and ‘natural’. You see, you really don’t need to read another diet or nutrition book, seek expert advice or go on another crash diet. You already know the answer. It is in front of your nose every day.
We live on a planet that comes ready made with everything we need to survive. No need for processing, modifying or coming up with a better food model. Nature is the answer. She has packaged everything to perfectly attune with the human body. We just need to trust her and eat what she provides.
And another thing, let’s get rid of that unfortunate word ‘diet’. The poor thing – in reality it just means the range of foods that a person consumes. However, it has come to mean something far more negative these days. So, let’s kill it humanely and get back to what nature has taught us to do – eat… naturally.

Paul O’Brien is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise since 2007 and a qualified Life, Health & Nutrition Coach. He is co-owner of Republic of Fitness in Westport. He can be contacted on 086 1674515 or