Let me start this off by setting the scene with some beautiful pieces of chocolate cake.
Fair warning: these pictures may make you jealous that you didn’t get to consume them, but I can guarantee they tasted even better than they look, if you can believe that!
Chocolate hazelnut cake from Henderson’s in Edinburgh
Decedent homemade chocolate cake by my beautiful friend Jemima
Birthday chocolate cake with my gorgeous friend Sandra
Now that I have your attention (and hopefully have you salivating) I will get on with it!
So it was revision period… and although I am not a stress eater, I do like to indulge in a piece of cake during a heavy revision session- sue me! I purposefully set our study date at my favourite café, which *coincidentally* makes the BEST gluten free chocolate cake, and I feel I would be doing myself an injustice to walk past it.
While this may look like an innocent piece of cake, it has sparked a controversy and a lot of soul searching on my part.
After eating a piece of chocolate cake at lunch, a girl asked me how long I would be in the gym that night to work my cake off. This made me so sad for SO many reasons: eating a treat now and then doesn’t make you unhealthy, and setting yourself to unrealistic goals and seeing the gym as a place of punishment isn’t healthy! This incident really did hurt me, not because she made me feel bad about myself and my decision to eat cake, but because this negative view of food and fitness is too common in girls our age. This got me thinking about how we see food and health…
- Eating doesn’t always have to be perfect, and nobody can expect themselves to be perfect 24/7. I love cake! I’m human! Just because I ate a piece of cake today at lunch doesn’t mean that I’m going to gain ten pounds and become fat over night, and neither will you! That’s not how it works. We have to learn how to balance our eating habits in a healthy way, to balance our healthy choices with treats- because honestly, what is life without chocolate cake?!? Seriously though, you cannot expect yourself to eat a perfectly clean diet every day for the rest of your life, that’s just too high of an expectation to hold yourself to, and it will ultimately lead to failure in the long term. Instead, focus on more realistic goals and balancing your nutrients. When I want a piece of cake, and know that I have been eating well, I won’t hesitate to have a slice! It just means that I will focus on making sure I have delicious, nutritious, healthy meals to fuel me through the rest of the day (because lets be honest, the sugar high only lasts so long!).
The key takeaway? One cheeky treat does not equal failure.
- The gym is NOT a punishment! I fricking LOVE the gym, it is one of my favourite parts of my day! I don’t go to the gym to burn calories for all the ‘naughty’ things I ate in the day, or to create a calorie deficit so that I can feel okay having a piece of chocolate before I go to bed…. I go to the gym because I love it! Don’t try to make me feel like a slave to fitness, because I am not. The gym is a happy place, where I can push myself to achieve feats I didn’t think possible, to see exactly what my body is capable of and to free my mind of the stresses that have accumulated throughout the day. The gym is a happy place, a sanctuary some may say. The gym shouldn’t be seen as a place to create negatives, like burning calories or loosing fat, but a positive space where you build muscle, achieve goals, make friends, kick ass, and just generally be happy and badass!
- My body is nobody’s body but mine. I remember this being a line from an elementary school song about body empowerment and laughing to hard hearing it- but it is so true! If I want to eat cake for lunch, what harm does that do you?! It is my body, and there is no need for you to comment on it. You do what is best for you and your body, and I will do what is best for me and mine. I love my body, I love fitness, and I love cake- why can’t the three be congruous? I know that if I eat one piece of cake, I won’t get fat… but so what if I did?! Is being a little chubby really the worst thing? I know that I am still badass: I can run a half marathon, I can squat my bodyweight, I can rock a bikini and flaunt it on the dance floor…. All while enjoying chocolate cake! If you can’t, and can’t get on board with me killing it while eating chocolate cake…. Well I guess that we can just agree to disagree!!
What we need is a change in mind-set:
- Food isn’t the enemy.
- The gym isn’t the enemy.
- It is the negativity that we create for ourselves that is the enemy.
Find peace with yourself, and allow others to find peace with theirs, judgement free. You don’t need to slave away in the gym, or heaven forbid give up chocolate cake, in order to be healthy. You have to find a balance that works best for you, and accept the lifestyle that others have as being best for them.
My balance includes a slice of chocolate cake with friends now and then, and a passion for throwing weights around in the gym… both are integral to my happiness!
LONG LIVE CHOCOLATE CAKE!