Taken from my original post on the Huffington Post
New Year, New You? Have you started the year focused on changing how you look this year? What if the diet you’ve started is actually going to make you feel worse about yourself in the long run?
Firstly I want to point out that I am not a dietician or have any training in anything health or food related but what I do believe is that what works for one person, may not work for another. I recently read a book about how we should choose our diets based on our blood types, crazy but it actually fits in well with my chosen way of eating as well as my partners, who knew?! Paleo works amazingly well for him, it’s definitely not for me!
Anyway back to your face, the simple fact is, if we go on a low fat diet, cutting out all fats and losing weight and fat, this may be great for our body but when you lose fat from your face, your skin starts to appear sunken, pores appear larger, skin is no longer plump, under eyes look darker and lines become more apparent, often I receive comments from ladies who have lost weight but are now unhappy with their appearance as they feel they have now aged. The problem is topical products can’t help put fat back in to your skin but there are treatments such a sculptra (not cheap) that can help to add volume to the skin.
So what can we do?
- Don’t Diet. If you live off takeaways and junk food then you don’t need a diet, you need a lifestyle change, we know this isn’t a healthy way to look after our body and so if you know it’s your lifestyle affecting your weight, a change to eating healthier food can help.
- Change your mindset when it comes to food. A lot of us binge eat, comfort eat or just eat to pass the time, you don’t need to diet, you need to change your relationship with food. There are some great apps around, I have heard people having amazing success with the Virtual Gastric Band app (not just available on iphone).
- Don’t cut out all fat. Our bodies need some fats to remain healthy, avocados, olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds all lovely and nourishing, providing our body with vitamins and antioxidants. We know anything deep fried is bad, but a little oil to stir fry some healthy veggies is good. Brazil nuts for example are amazing for our skin and hair and you only need 4 a day to get the benefits.
- Avoid “diet” food. Avoid the fat free options, a lot of these have added sugar to increase flavour which can damage the collagen in our skin, you’re better off eating a small amount of what you love than a lot of the diet option. Ready made meals really aren’t your friend, if you’re pushed for time try a slow cooker and get a recipe book.
- Exercise. Exercise won’t help if you’re still living at your local chippy but if you’re following a healthier lifestyle and exercising then this will help you shed the pounds. Hate exercise? In the words of the great Tony Robbins “People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.” Find something you enjoy, it doesn’t have to be a gym class, why not try boxing, karate, pole dancing, swimming, belly dancing, zumaba….anything that gets you moving and that you enjoy doing. If you don’t love it and look forward to it, find something else.
- Be realistic about what’s sustainable. It’s easy enough to lose weight, but not as easy to keep it off. You need to follow a lifestyle that’s achievable and won’t result in your weight dramatically changing. Yo-yo weight where your weight goes up and down continuously really is the worst thing for your skin. So you need to decide today, are you going to be a size 8, constantly watching what you eat and going to the gym 4 times a week for the rest of your life? Or will you maybe be happier a little heavier, with a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy, doing an exercise that keeps you fit and healthy? There’s no right or wrong answer there, some people love the gym, if you love it and can keep it up, then that’s perfect!
- Why are you on a diet in the first place? I’m possibly the heaviest I’ve ever been now and you know what? I’m so happy! I’m in a relationship with an amazing man, I have 3 lush children, I love my job. Go back 9 years where I was 8 stone, a size 8-10, my body looked pretty damn good, I was single and mingling, great social life, I also cried myself to sleep most nights ☹ Being thin does not mean being happy! Yes I do want to lose a little bit of my wobbly belly but I also will never ever diet again or go to a gym class that I hate because I’m happy and secure in myself. Make peace with yourself, be happy and let the rest follow.
As I said, I don’t claim to have any expertise when it comes to food, the lifestyle “diet” that you choose will depend on you, your health, your way of life, religion etc. Do some research and find a diet that not only resonates with you (for me it’s the Mediterranean diet, must be from my Portuguese side) but that also fits in with your health and lifestyle. Start up a walking club, convince a friend to start a new class with you, enjoy life, have fun, be happy, life is too short to spend it focused on negative stuff!