It’s less than a month until Christmas.

Wearing: Neon Cactcus Swimwear and Love Navy Towel

Images: Jonathan Hayward

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I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence – this year has gone by way too fast. I can’t complain though because 2014 has been one helluva journey for me both professionally and personally. It’s been filled with adventure, great work opportunities and most recently as you know, I married my best friend.

When I think of the festive season, I think of the quality time I will be spending with my ever growing family, days at the beach and of course the indulging of food (read: copious amounts of chocolate, seafood, wine et al.) and all guilt free. I try and live my everyday life like this as well – eat well, eat what I want without obsessing.

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Every time I scroll through Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook I am met with various food fads. I am certain I have diagnosed myself with a gluten, lactose and every other pseudo-intolerance just based on someone I don’t even know’s feed. It really feels like we’re moving towards an obsessive food culture. There is always a new superfood or a new fad to follow and it is so tiring to keep up with them, especially in social situations. I have lost count at the number of diets out there promising to make us healthy, whatever happened to health basics? Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge health advocate, but I think we should all stop being so obsessive about food and aim for good spectrum of nutrients and just ensure we’re getting the variety our bodies require, instead of adhering to so-called healthy diets which may be excluding whole food groups. I hate the thought of excluded food groups. If you’ve genuinely got an intolerance to certain food groups, I am not referring to you, my sister is a celiac and I know just how hard it is for her.

Ask yourself these questions: How often do you eat something just because you like the taste of it without thinking about is it healthy? How often do you eat something just because you want it without thinking “will this make me fat?”?

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There have been times I have wanted to post a massive burger or a giant slice of oily pizza, but have refrained from doing so at the risk of being judged or be branded as a bad person because it wasn’t made from rice bran, quinoa and kale. Instagram is a breeding ground for comparison and inadequacy, thus it’s causing people to fixate on things, leading to higher stress and acidity levels which counteracts eating healthy in the first place. My way of dealing with this now is realise people of instagram sometimes just act like they’re experts on food and not take it too seriously.

My aim here at Substance is to provide you with health and eating tips (by no means am a professional hence why you’ll never see me preaching a way of life to you) – you may disagree or you may take something away with you. Health and lifestyle shouldn’t be something you obsess over, it should be something enjoyable. My message is to move your body daily and make smart, mindful choices when it comes to food – and don’t beat yourself up if you ate something naughty, it’s part of being human.

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When it comes to eating rules never work – you’re only setting yourself up for failure. Instead listen to your body and eat when you are hungry – note be mindful of over snacking and be sure to stop when you are full. Also, cut the obsessing and eat what you feel like, rather than following eating rules, but that is not an excuse to eat 50 donuts in one sitting – the everything in moderation rule does apply here!

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Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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