Are You Overstating Your Health & Fitness Choices?

Are you overestimating your healthy lifestyle?

As part of my degree course (I’m studying to become a Dieitian) we routinely analyse people’s diets and lifestyles, and make changes and suggestions in line with Government guidelines. And do you know what, there isn’t one single mention of avocado on toast, coconut oil or spirulina.

To me, healthy eating is all about moderation and eating real foods.

I think we can get too hyped up by the latest healthy food craze or fad diet and lose sight of the real goal here; to fuel your body with the right sorts of nutrition to live healthy, happy lives.

New research shows that over 60% of Brits are in denial about their health, either lying to themselves, or friends/family and medical professionals about their food and alcohol intake and what their lifestyle is really like. As a social smoker at uni, I know I used to lie to the doctor (and my mum!!) about it for years, telling myself that I wasn’t addicted and therefore it didn’t really count. Similarly, even now, I know that when I had to write down a weighed food diary for a university project, I was shocked at just how many sweet treats I was having – far more than I realised.

Apparently 34% of us exaggerate how healthy we are on social media – and I’m probably guilty of this too. I share my runs, I don’t share the post run cookie binge that occasionally happens (Tom found the discarded packet under the coffee table on Sunday evening – whoops!). According to the poll done by KP nuts, we are over exaggerating due to peer pressure, celebrity influences and the general feeling that we need to ‘keep up with the Jones’. With everyone sharing their healthiest selves online, we aren’t seeing all of the ‘unhealthy’ stuff going on behind the scenes – or rather the BALANCE going on behind the scenes. I drink green smoothies and eat avocado on toast, I also drink gin and eat burgers.

Are you overestimating your healthy lifestyle?

Are you overestimating your healthy lifestyle?

According to the study conducted by KP Nuts, these are the most commonly told lies about our health, fitness and lifestyle…

20 TOP HEALTH AND FITNESS FIBS: 

  1. I drink more than 1 litre of water a day
  2. I don’t watch much telly
  3. I only drink at weekends
  4. I visit the gym regularly
  5. My kids aren’t allowed sweets
  6. I have a normal BMI
  7. I never eat takeaways
  8. I don’t really like chocolate
  9. I don’t like the taste of alcohol
  10. I’m not a fan of fried food
  11. My kids love vegetables
  12. I never eat fast food
  13. I lift really heavy weights
  14. I only shop at organic supermarkets
  15. I don’t eat any saturated fat
  16. I won’t have processed food in the house
  17. I have never tried a kebab
  18. I don’t eat carbs at all
  19. I’ve run a marathon
  20. My children never eat fast food

So let me get real here…

  1. I do normally drink 2-3 litres of water per day, especially on the days when I’m at uni.
  2. I don’t watch TV everyday but am obsessed with NCIS (and have just finished watching The Crown on Netflix- so good)
  3. I’ve given up drinking before the Boston marathon (although confession, I have drunk twice since ‘giving up’ – a glass of champagne at an engagement celebration and one glass of fizz for a friend’s 30th)
  4. I went to the gym once last week. Sometimes it takes me until 9pm to convince myself to do my easy run.
  5. No kids. Tom isn’t allowed sweets but he eats them anyway 😉
  6. I have a BMI of 21.6 (within healthy range)
  7. I had a takeaway on Friday night, then ate the leftovers on Sunday. I love Thai food.
  8. I love chocolate and eat it every single day. I blame my mother.
  9. I really like G&Ts, champagne, wine, cocktails, beer…. I just don’t like the hangover.
  10. I’ve been known to eat 20 chicken nuggets alone in one sitting
  11. No kids. I love vegetables.
  12. I practically ran straight from the Chicago marathon finish line to Shake Shack. I love burgers – however I actually have never been to KFC.
  13. I struggled through my Barrecore workout on Monday with 1kg weights.
  14. I shop at Waitrose because it’s the most convenient supermarket for me. I buy organic meat and dairy but can’t afford organic everything.
  15. I try to limit saturated fat, but probably eat it on a daily basis.
  16. Where do you draw the line with processed foods… you could drive yourself mad making your own almond milk etc. That said, real food all the way.
  17. There was an amazing kebab shop near our old house, so whilst I’ve never had a Doner kebab, I have enjoyed a number of shish kebabs in my time – and actually with grilled chicken, salad and pita, there’s nothing unhealthy about it.
  18. Life without carbs sounds miserable, and dangerous.
  19. I HAVE run a marathon. Six of them, and currently training for number 7 and 8.
  20. I will probably take my future children to McDonalds…and if I don’t then Tom certainly will.

Why do we do this? To make ourselves feel better? For likes on Instagram? To impress our friends?

Are you overestimating your healthy lifestyle?

When KP Nuts got in touch with me sharing this info they told me that they wanted to help remove that pressure, and spread the word that we should be judging foods for their real nutritional value, not just following the latest fad diet – I couldn’t agree more and it’s why I wanted to get involved with this partnership.

Let’s focus more on the nutritional break down of the food you’re eating, both the micro and macronutrients, rather than just what is ‘instagrammable’ or trendy. We should be focusing on meeting our iron, Vit C, Vit D and Calcium requirements from real, whole foods, and swapping saturated fats for sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Although I don’t agree with everything I’m learning on my dietetics course, I do strongly believe that a food first approach is crucial in everyone’s diets and overall health.

Making small changes/additions is key. Swap your afternoon treat for a piece of fruit or square of dark chocolate (by the way, the Lindt choc bars give you the biggest bang for your square!), have a handful of peanuts or Greek yogurt for a mid-morning for a protein hit to stop you making a poor choice at lunch (just 25g peanuts contains 7g protein!) or add some soluble fibre in the form of oats or seeded bread for breakfast to keep you fuller for longer. These are the sorts of adjustments we’re learning to advise patients in the future.

So can we all try to be a little bit more honest with ourselves and on our social media channels? When I shared on my blog and Instagram that I’d been too hungover to run a few weeks ago and skipped my training run, I received so many comments of support and thanks for being real. I promise to continue to be real on my blog, vlog (have you subscribed to my channel) and social channels and share the good, bad and ugly of my life.

Although it was all over the news last week, the fact that we should be eating ten pieces of fruit and veg rather than five is not new…the Australians have been advising it for years. Instead of giving up something for Lent, I’m going to be taking up eating 10 pieces of fruit and veg a day. I’ve given it a go over the last few days and it’s not as hard as I thought it could be. Fun fact – vegetable crisps count as one of your five a day! So do baked beans!

Do you ever fib about any healthy choice you make (or don’t make)? What confessions would you admit to from the above 20? 

24 Comments

  1. 1st March 2017 / 12:28 pm

    Such a fascinating post. I began to learn this around 20 years ago when I had my training studio. Before then I guess I would’ve thought people under estimated what they were doing? Nope 🙂 always over

  2. oscar
    1st March 2017 / 1:26 pm

    Hi Well you don’t have to lift heavy weights all you have to do is increase reps as heavy weights just build bulk where as reps give you tone to muscles keeping there speed.

    Fats a whole pile of untruths! Saturated fats yes those that kill @ hi/hello or whatever they tell you to reduce you to a quivering wreck of worry! Well the human body is designed to live/survive on it part of who we are but it’s also what we absorb minerals through Vit D being one others like vit C are through water! so need fat&water to be able to assimilate them but that fats we arn’t able to deal with are what we call messed about fats like those low fat spreads/Hydrogenated and a whole host of cack there totally foreign to our systems reason why we put on weight as the body can’t burn it efficiently so it’s just stored and you craze more food as body is hungry.
    Butter excellent for you vits/minerals what we all need naturally so if your making toast(not burn’t black though as very high carbons which is very bad) Some nice butter on it and just use the margerine for pest control as leave a tub open on kitchen table next morning “no” flies etc anywhere!
    Marg is something that after the war they had loads thought give it to the turkeys to fatten them up! they all died so they put annatto in it and used it as a spread!

    Low fat things or low/free sugar are loaded with artificial sweeteners what you want to avoid as they mess the pancreas up for one which is where diabetes comes from so if have any sugar go with brown/demerara type as white is bleached!

    Burgers if meat &not filled with tat as most use dubious ingredients inc MSG! the main issue is the roll/bap/bread or whatever they choose to call it as made with rubbish ingredients only ones that can be ok are those like organic places that make real one.
    the thing to watch with meats is Metabisulphite like they use in bacon/hams/sausages etc as once heated changes it molecular structure becoming carcinogenic.

    If your going to have chocolate have dark type as one of your 5 a day unlike milk chocolate which is mostly sugars

    Carbs comes under sugars where as fats etc come under proteins or in with it but you need some carbs but not too many as everything burns in a carbohydrate flame but like a fire shove too much wood on it and can’t burn as no air! so you just store it.

    Alcohol in moderation is ok but stick to likes of red wines/beer/stouts more than lagers&spirits as a Guinness is good for you just not 5 kegs!

    Kebabs Shish is excellent as many cook over charcoals or the gas charcoals so just meat.
    Doner once in a while is ok as it’s more how made than the meat!
    but the one many never think about as when have delhi belly is say oooh had a bad kebab it’s not the meat it’s the salad as onions should never be cut the left out for any length of time esp open in a fridge as absorbs all the bacteria’s(but them&Garlic are great if ill cut them up place on plates etc round bedroom next day feel fine and there covered in black spots which is bacteria!)Other is lettuce that quickly gets likes of listeria etc if left goes brown&get milky substance to it but any salad items shouldn’t be left for too long if kept in fridge etc in sealed containers!

    Another monging out in front of the TV can be great for you relax/unwind&recover as for one if fully relaxed you will run better as the muscles are more relaxed/supple plus your mind is far better than when tense so you become more focussed
    But most things we read are just Journalistic Hogwash than anything of substance.

    But another thing is you have to find out what works best for you as your body and mind not someone else’s

    when i was doing my 100 miles/12hr time trials and mega Audax rides i’d have a big steak and big jacket potato day before worked for me.

    but one of the best dishes you can have is a jacket with cheese and beans(real cheese not that plastic burger gear yuckkk)

  3. 1st March 2017 / 5:07 pm

    I think if anything, I’m mostly lying to myself. I’d like to believe that I could give up sweets or carbs or something like that to get healthy and be in the best shape. But realistically, I probably can’t (or shouldn’t be so strict about it). But I tell MYSELF it’s possible.

  4. 1st March 2017 / 8:31 pm

    I’m lying to myself more than anything. I am so bad with eating snack crap ATM. As for the list…

    I do drink more than 1 litre of water a day, i watch a metric shit ton of TV, I barely drink alcohol, I never go to the gym, I eat sweets daily atm (diet is tragic), my BMI is currently overweight, I eat takeout about once a week, I like chocolate a lot but frequently feel I’m hitting it for the sugar high not the taste, I genuinely don’t like the ‘feel’ of alcohol but some of it tastes great, deep fried mozzarella sticks are da bomb, I do like vegetables especially broccoli, I lift some heavy weights, I never buy organic cause I am poor, I eat saturated fat and processed foods, don’t think I have actually tried a kebab, I eat ALL the carbs, I have run a marathon and I’m signed up for another… Phew!

  5. Chiswickmum
    2nd March 2017 / 7:19 am

    Can your much maligned mother take credit for you never having been to KFC?

  6. sarah
    3rd March 2017 / 8:13 am

    Cool post!
    My doctor recently asked me if I eat healthy, and I said I try to, most of the time – but that it’s not perfect (I cook a lot of fresh meals, but also drink about 5 glasses of wine per week, have a falafel or takeout curry every couple weeks or so, and chocolate at least once a day). He just laughed and said “God, it’s always the healthy ones who tell me they could do better!”

  7. 3rd March 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Really interesting read – I think I need to be more honest to myself about how healthy I eat – I think I’m okay for main meals but it’s the snacks and gin that catches me out !

  8. 3rd March 2017 / 5:23 pm

    This is SUCH a great post! I often feel the pressure from other blogs/people on social media that I follow, because my eating habits are (seemingly) not as healthy as theirs. I think it’s important to realize that everyone needs to be able to find balance in their own way – and that as long as you’re healthy, you’re doing things the right way for you!

  9. 3rd March 2017 / 8:20 pm

    I just ate a big slice of cheesecake. Fact.

  10. Debbie
    4th March 2017 / 12:07 am

    Yours is the only blog I follow (have ever followed) and this is why …… it’s real and mostly honest!!! Keep doing what your doing x

    • charlotte
      4th March 2017 / 2:09 pm

      Aww thank you Debbie!!

  11. 6th March 2017 / 3:10 pm

    Ahh I love a good honest post. I think social media is generally 80% bs so try not to believe all of it but catch me in the wrong mood and there I am thinking everyone is being all healthy while I eat a cadburys crème egg. It is about balance but I am definitely guilty of generally only instagramming the healthy parts! Great post x

    • charlotte
      7th March 2017 / 5:38 pm

      Hahah I had a sneaky creme egg on the way back from the gym the other day – so good!

  12. Angela
    7th March 2017 / 10:05 am

    Interesting you say that you don’t agree with some of the stuff you’re learning in dietetics…I’ve been a dietitian for almost 10 years (I work clinically) and it’s so interesting to see how as the science has changed I have changed how I think over the years too…I also have an issue with a lot of govt guidelines but that’s another story 😉

    I really appreciate you being real because there’s so much fakery out there on social media. Thanks 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • charlotte
      7th March 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Thanks so much, and I’m glad I’m not alone in not agreeing 100% with Govt guidelines! Do you work in private or NHS practice?

      • Angela
        13th March 2017 / 3:40 am

        I was working in the NHS which I enjoyed but have moved home to Australia so back to working clinically here…I don’t want to contend with everyone’s opinion on nutrition all the time so not sure private work is for me… Ha!

        Good luck with your studies!! 🙂

        • charlotte
          13th March 2017 / 7:21 am

          Haha I feel you! Ooh so good to know you can work in Australia, would love to move there for a couple of years!

  13. 7th March 2017 / 4:45 pm

    Great post!! After all, who doesn’t love gin and carbs 🙂

  14. 8th March 2017 / 12:49 pm

    Great post Charlie! Stan (aka Paul or Father Fitness, haha) told me to check out your blog. Glad he did! My kids go to McDonald’s and I love beer, haha. I guess it’s important for us all to remind ourselves of some of the things above. Speak soon, Deano

    • charlotte
      9th March 2017 / 9:09 pm

      Thanks for hopping over, hope you like the blog!

  15. Evie
    9th March 2017 / 7:23 am

    This is such a great post, and so true! Would you consider doing a post about your dietician course in more detail for those of us thinking about taking the leap? It would be really interesting to read about your experience so far and options you looked into when you were starting out 🙂 great blog x

  16. 21st March 2017 / 10:36 am

    I kept thinking about this post after reading it so I’ve made my own post responding to the things you talk about. It was great to reflect on my own health (and how I talk about it) and I’m happy to say I don’t think I come off toooo badly! Thanks for the thought-provoking ideas!