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Banish carbs, shun anything with even a trace of sugar in it, go vegan and guzzle nothing but green juice – all advice that has, at one point or another, been promoted as a fast-track to the perfect body and ultimate health.
Guides to ‘clean eating’ – written by wellness ‘gurus’ and often endorsed by ultra-slim celebrities – line bookshop shelves and they all spout similar messages. Social media is awash with even more extreme advice.
Painstaking - Effort - Food - Groups - Cent
But despite the painstaking effort it takes to cut out entire food groups, roughly 97 per cent of those who restrict their diet in a bid to lose weight will fail, according to research.
With depressing regularity, slimmers emerge weighing much the same – if not more – than they did before. And that’s only if they’re lucky. Because there is a darker side to these fad diets.
Disorder - Health - Condition - Person - Relationship
For an unfortunate few, diets spiral into an eating disorder – a serious mental health condition that destroys a person’s relationship with food.
And I should know – as I am one extreme example. Last week in The Mail on Sunday’s YOU magazine, I told of how an obsession with ‘healthy’ eating – informed by what I read on blogs and websites – led me down a path to anorexia, which eventually became life-threatening.
Lesson - Health - Bread - Spaghetti - Cheese
The unlikely lesson that helped me back to health was learning that supermarket-bought bread, spaghetti drenched in cheese, chocolate cookies, mayonnaise, red meat and full-fat milk weren’t the ‘toxic’ substances I’d been led to believe they were.
I was lucky during my treatment to be referred to a brilliant dietician, Luci Daniels, who helped me understand the truth: there is no such thing as ‘unhealthy’ or ‘healthy’ food. Every ingredient can play a role in a balanced diet.
Since then, over the past four years I’ve been committed to arming...
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