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Diet and Fitness

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Diet & Fitness


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Its decision time. What fitness and diet regime is best for you?

By Anne Elliott

I always think that this time of year brings into sharp focus any concerns we have about our bodies, our weight and how much exercisewe do or don’t do. After just having gone through a Christmas period media frenzy with pressure to eat, consume, mange and overindulge, we now have, like a coin flipping, the onslaught of ‘guilt’ messages.
Every other advert on TV seems to be about joining diet clubs and eating low fat food in the breaks of programmes about super large people who cry and grimace their way through arduous physical tasks and are forced to publically denounce their previous sedentary lifestyles. All so we can voyeuristically look on and think ‘at least I’m not that big’. We also get daily direct marketing mail, with its timepressured buying messaging, ‘Get ‘x’ if you sign up before the end of January’.

It takes a strong woman to not cave under such an onslaught. Its aimed at our weakest point. How we feel about our bodies is inextricably linked with who we are. Thus if there is a hint that we might have a weakness in our appearance, it has an impact on what kind of person we are. Marketing professionals are more than aware of this and utilise it to the full.

On the other hand, it does no harm to occasionally do a personal audit where we consider our lifestyle and edit out bad practice and
try and replace it with better and it might as well be now.

Success is obtainable through consistency

However, success is only obtainable through consistency. In a way, it doesn’t matter what you decide to do as long as you keep doing it.
The problem lies with us succumbing to the very strong messaging, paying over our money and finding we have yet again signed up to a regime that we can only keep going for a week or two. This incessant failure does nothing but reinforce our sense of inadequacy.


So how do you succeed this time? It’s a very straightforward recipe. Firstly, do your research and pick a diet regime that feels do-able for
you, it doesn’t really matter which one as long as its not too whacky: calorie counting, points, low fat, ketogenic, caveman are all fine (there are many variations on each of these categories too numerous to name here) – then add an exercise programme that again seems do-able and starts within your capabilities and your pocket: walking daily, exercise class at leisure centre, swimming 3x a week, start a sport and join a club, join a gym, get a personal trainer. Again it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it is appropriate to you.

You will see a change after about 4 weeks

Make sure you follow your chosen path for 3 months. You will see change. You need to do little and often (a little bit each day is better
than a lot once a week) and with enough longevity that it becomes a new habit, a new lifestyle. When you start to see changes, which
should be after about 4 weeks, you will want to keep up your new healthier behaviours because you’re in a virtuous circle.

Finally getting healthy doesn’t have to be like it is in the ‘fat’ programmes. It doesn’t have to be full of pain and remorse. It can be a journey into the new; finding an aspect of your body and personality you didn’t know you had. I have seen the transformation from sedentary to physical being
hundreds of times and it is always positive and uplifting.

I wish you well, whatever you decide to do.



ANNE ELLIOTT is 52. She has a Personal Training Practice that specialises in working with middle-aged clients and their associated health problems. She lectures in Sports Science at Middlesex University, is an ABAE boxing referee, is registered with REPS at Level 4 and is undertaking a Doctorate in exercise in middle age. Anne appears regularly in the media talking about her specialisation - exercise in middle age.

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