An image of Jill Greenwood, who is Salutions’ diet and fitness expert

Fad diet February? I don’t think so!

In Ask the Experts by Salutions


Whatever your view on Justin Bieber, I can’t help but think he talks some sense when he advises his ex girlfriend “you should go and love yourself.”

But how many of us do love, or indeed even like ourselves for that matter?

Well if the month of St Valentine isn’t the time to start, then I don’t know when is! Working in the world of health and fitness, there are a number of repeated emotional trends associated with the seasons – January is a strange time. Post December, for many, the exciting start of a ‘new me’ diet plan begins to fade when people realise the cold hard truth about making any long term change. Motivation is often ruled by restriction and punishment, and an emotional negative rollercoaster subsequently ensues when an inevitable lapse occurs.

Restrictive Diets do not allow you to love yourself

Even if you have managed to stay ‘clean’ (whatever that means these days) with a dairy free, meat free, carb free plan, the end of restriction can often lead to equivalent anxiety when dieters realise that they are left with the rest of the year (and their life) with having to manage their habits without hard rules. Slowly over time ‘normality’ almost certainly slips back in. Cue weight gain and the self loathing cycle starts again.

This is why no matter what diet plan you follow (unless your goal for trimness is short term only), the aftermath of ‘sustainability’ is the pivotal aspect you should look for, when looking at potential success. Never overlook the need to be kind to yourself within this. Imperatively, loving yourself does not involve punishment.
Make February a fresh start
February gives us a fresh start, away from the pressure of fad diets. It provides us a month which encourages us to have a more loving disposition. And this is exactly what ‘priority focus’ anyone looking for a healthful long term change should take.

Habits that make us feel good, and look out for ‘number one’, are overlooked in the world of health but they could provide the key to long term success of basic diet or exercise plans.

Why? They create sustainability.
The number of times I hear people tell me they don’t have time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, meditate, sleep well, but then proceed to recount the number of hours they spent slumped over their desks at work, with an inevitable consequence of feeling frazzled with no energy. Making time for you is a start to the path of success.

TIPS to loving yourself

  • Take a non negotiable ten minutes. No phone. No people. No TV each day.
  • Consider balance and sustainability for any diet plan you follow. Can you still socialise and follow the plan – does it make you happy?
  • Find an exercise that you ENJOY and make this a part of a weekly plan to move more. Basic movement adds up to a multitude of health benefits.
  • Target yourself with an hour a day of outdoor daylight. Research shows that daylight has a positive impact on our moods.

Action the above and you’ll be singing along to Bieber in no time……

Jill Greenwood,
Fitness Expert & Personal Trainer,
Twitter: @JillKBW