Are Diets for Foodies?

Are diets for foodies?

Short answer?

They’re not.

It's not possible. I have tried, many times and I'm not ashamed to admit that I have given up. Now for the long answer:

Allow me to explain my position and the long journey it took me to realize dieting is not for me nor for foodies at large, after all I'm a food expert (it says so in my bio so it must be true).

My love/hate relationship with dieting has been informed by a series of temporary successes over the years. If you've ever been on a diet you know delicious food is off the menu.

Tah!

Don't tell me about how I'm not supposed to starve myself but instead focus on "portion control". Portion control, what does that even mean? I'll tell you what it means, it means you can put in the “tip” but can't go all the way. It's the biggest scam since diet Coke. Only a minuscule portion of the population can do that successfully. As a Nigerian foodie, I crave pepper daily, but as you can imagine is only so much pepper you can put in a salad before it begins to get weird. I once saw a fitness page that had a picture of a "meal inspiration". It was a cup of tea, 2 boiled eggs and sliced cucumbers. That's it! Not even wheat bread to support.

Carbs are supposed to be the enemy but if you grew up in a Nigerian home this notion is completely at odds with your upbringing. You see when I was growing up, meat was the medal for completing the marathon that was your rice or eba or fufu or yam. As a matter of fact now that I think about it, my mother never gave us meat with yam. So, eating yam and meat still feels strange to me to this day. This actually supports my point we've been trained and conditioned from birth in a certain way. This includes eating carbs and having meat as the accompaniment, not the other way around. Imagine someone telling you frosting is the new cupcake and a few crumbs of red velvet is really all you need.

There was a time I had oats almost every morning as breakfast for three months with skimmed milk and a pinch of salt. It wasn't so bad and I know there are many other options but it was the only "healthy" breakfast I could eat that'd sustain my hunger till lunchtime. I also started jogging and even got the app to track my runs to give me credit. The app was a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I had extra motivation and could see my progress but on the other hand, after jogging for one hour I'd realise I had only burnt 400 calories. I really didn't need that kind of depressing information. I even thought the app was broken the first time I saw it. 400 calories, that’s two slices of bread, an egg and tea with either sugar or milk not both. I have never had a successful breakfast with two slices of bread.

There is also the small issue of one wrap of fufu being N50 and a cucumber being N100. I know many people have tried to debunk the “healthy eating is expensive” movement. That’s why I haven’t used the N2,000 salads or N50,000 a week meal plans as reference (if you can afford them, there are some creative meal options out there). I have gone to the grass roots and compared fufu and cucumber. I challenge you to eat N50 fufu and okro soup and not feel full to the brim. (Buy the market fufu from Igbo women, they provide the most value for money). Do that with a N100 cucumber and tell me how that went. Healthy food will always be more expensive because they are fresh, have shorter shelf lives and therefore cannot be stored in bulk like junk. It’s just the way it is.

Finally, the only thing I like better than eating food is eating free food. You cannot ask your work colleague to reschedule their birthday because you are on a diet. It will also be ridiculous to move your sister’s wedding because you won’t be able to partake in the Jollof (she might agree if you pay for the wedding). There lies one of my biggest dilemmas. It’s almost like the universe is testing you to see if you really deserve those abs by throwing parties and celebrations at you back to back. I have been strong too many times for my liking refusing to eat cake and sniffing empty small chops containers. Ultimately, I did lose some weight and got to a healthy BMI but a tiger cannot change its stripes so I have started eating again and frankly I regret nothing this time. Although sometimes when I wear certain dresses I do wish I could slay better but I’ve learnt to cope with that by wearing dresses that complement my frame.

I was miserable when I was slimmer because I love to eat delicious food regardless of health consequences. Now I feel and look like myself again. I still go for a jog occasionally and eat a salad here and there. I haven’t gained all the weight back but if I did I probably won’t care as much as I should. Life is too short to eat boring food.

I want to be on my death bed and know that I enjoyed my life, I ate well and I have no regrets.

Do you have any healthy eating tips practical for foodies? Please share, I might be convinced to try again.


Mrs. Kush is a self-confessed food expert with the waistline to prove it. Follow her on Instagram for never ending food porn.