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We know it’s only July, but it’s high time to get the Christmas body. For some bizarre reason, after the summer splurge, we start dieting to get into tip top shape for the Christmas period. Only to them undo all of our hard work by drinking, eating, being merry and generally latching on our usually fairly healthy diets.

All you need to do is look at Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to see that despite it still being 30 degrees, we’re already prepping for Christmas and New Year.

We have lists prepared so we can start buying early and not practically cry handing over the credit card. We have names written down to remind us who we’re sending cards to. We have recipes neatly stored in the bookmarks in the internet browser. Gift ideas, decorating plans, diet plans. The only thing we don’t actually have yet is a tree!

This year’s biggest fad has been ‘Clean’ eating (it’s baloney BTW).

I’m not a dietician or a GP, but I can tell you this, cutting out whole groups of foods is about as good for you as over indulging on fast food. Too much of something is enough, but too little of something can be even worse.

The main food groups, Meat, Fish and Vegetables should ideally be consumed regularly (vegetarians and vegans, you can take supplements). Meat and Fish 5 times a week, one day vegetarian and one day vegan. This way, you get all you need. You can even jazz it up a bit and alternate days, have an extra veggie day one week and an extra meat or fish day the next. The point is, we need all these things to thrive.

In medical terms, there is a ‘condition’ called failure to thrive. This is where the body has limited or no caloric intake. Normally, you would see it in developing countries where the people are so poor they can’t afford to eat. However, people with eating disorders also display this. Though they don’t call it an eating disorder, they call it ‘Clean’ eating.

The term was coined by a YouTube star (with no medical qualifications I may add). And it involved eating nothing but unprocessed foods. So far so good. We all know the MSG and Salt aren’t good for us.

However, it’s mutated into something far more sinister. People are covering up their eating disorders by labelling it ‘Clean Eating’. Sorry, but there is nothing clean about living off only raw vegetables and not taking supplements to keep your body healthy.

By all means, add more fruit and vegetables to your diet, ditch the fries, allocate a day to have a vegetarian day. That’s not going to harm you. Cutting (permanently) whole food groups out of your diet completely is. This clean eating fad is nothing more than anorexia with a pretty name.

If you want to get in shape for the Christmas period, get the low fat cook books out, experiment with the recipes and move more.

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Sara O'Connell
A passionate photographer from Arizona, Sara enjoys art and culture.