This is a topic I need to address up front.

We are constantly bombarded with new miracle diets that make impossible promises, all the while making us feel unworthy, un-lovable and fat. Our society is obsessed with super thin women, or selling us products to help us achieve a certain body shape, while failing to tell us that the model is either severely anorexic or has been significantly air brushed. Either way what we are seeing isn't real or healthy.

I spent many years trying new diets because I was overweight, to eventually discover that the only way I could be like a stick thin model was to starve like they did. My years of study have finally taught me that DIETS DON'T WORK, and that try as I might, I'll never be 6 foot or 50kg. It was only when I changed my way of thinking to focus on being healthy, rather on being thin, that I achieved a healthier relationship with food, as well as a healthy weight. I also found that by focusing on being healthy I could do and achieve so many things - from singing, to running and cycling, to studying science, and most importantly, to being a mother and wife and running a household.

The word "diet" tends to imply a period of deprivation, followed by a return to "normal" (whatever that was). But if we want lasting change, then it makes sense to make lasting changes, and that can't be done by following a diet. It seems obvious to say this, yet so many people go on diets for a set period of time, then return to their former way of eating, to then wonder why their former health problems or weight issues return.

It is my fundamental philosophy that if most of the time we are eating good, wholesome, unprocessed, seasonal, whole food, then the occasional piece of chocolate, or slice of cake is no big deal. Funnily though, because I eat deeply nutritious food, I rarely crave food that I would class as "indulgent" (I don't like to call any food "bad"!). By eating food that gives your body all the nutrients it needs, while also not upsetting blood sugar levels and throwing hunger hormones out of balance, weight loss and weight maintenance become easier. In contrast, diets not only have a stigma of being hard work, they tend to deprive us of foods we enjoy, which only lead to cravings. This often results in us giving in, binging, feeling guilty, feeling like we've failed, and then giving up. I don't know how many times I've been there. But no more.

The path to lasting health change - be it weight loss, or more energy, or better skin, or lower anxiety levels, or better thyroid function, or freedom from diabetes or metabolic syndrome .... the list goes on, is small changes to your existing diet and lifestyle. The hardest part is knowing where to start - but that's where I come in!

Posted by:Helen Barnett

BSc (Nutrition) with the University Medal, Currently studying for a Masters Nutrition and Dietetics (to be Completed in 2018) BA (History), Dip. Opera, Grad Dip. Music (Opera)

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