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Why you should not be starting 2014 with a diet

I know, I know – it almost goes against the grain to say that.  We’re so primed for new year detoxes, resolutions and health kicks that it sounds almost idiotic for me to suggest that you should NOT be dieting in the new year.

The thing is, I’m of the opinion that you should not be dieting full stop.  I could go on about this in great detail, but most people who have tried dieting in the past will know that it almost always goes wrong.  Cue feelings of failure and the inevitable post-diet binge.  Not fun.

I am not saying that diets never work.  They often work in the short term.  Very rarely do they work in the long term (although I do have one friend who has had continued long term success).  For most, however, they slow down your metabolism, make you overly efficient at burning calories for energy – so you are constantly hungry, and leave you craving everything you know you’re not meant to be eating.

Here’s an old post I wrote back in 2012:  “5 Reasons Why Diets Suck”

Anyway, the purpose of this post wasn’t to go over old ground too much.  Rather I wanted to explain why I am not running a detox group or January challenge as I have in the past.  And quite simply, I want to try and encourage people to think more long term about their health and to stop looking for quick fixes.

Now I am not saying that I no longer believe that fantastic, healthy, quick transformations are possible.  I completely do!  And I still truly believe that the exercise and nutrition principles that I advise to my clients, bootcampers and on my Four Week Fat Attack programme are still relevant and get great results.

What’s changed, however, is my opinion around how to lead people to this lifestyle.  I used to feel that it was only worth working with the clients who promised to stick to 100% adherence for the first month of working with me.  But I quickly realised that this was essentially instilling the diet mentality.  Whether you “diet” by counting calories, drinking meal replacement shakes, or just eating truly healthy food with no rubbish, it’s still a diet if you only view it as a temporary phase.

Nowadays, I like to spend more time coaching people through their issues.  Trying to get to the crux of why they have a dysfunctional relationship with food, and slowly getting them to a place where it becomes habit to exercise regularly, and eat a diet based predominantly on natural, real food.  Ultimately, it’s my goal to instil confidence and acceptance in everyone I work with, but that can take some time!

With that in mind, I had made a decision to avoid the cliche and forget about January transformations, despite the fact that loads of people have been asking me about it.  Not to mention – this is a cards on the table moment (!) – that I also promised myself that I would look after myself better in 2014 and take more breaks, so starting the year with the responsibility of running a new programme and prepping all the workouts and content seemed like a big task, especially after hosting a huge Christmas.

I decided instead to focus on promoting my bootcamps and getting new members.  But then two things dawned on me:

1) Not everyone can afford my services, especially not immediately after Christmas.

2) Cliched or not, a large percentage of my existing and potential clients ARE looking for a health kick in the new year.  Everyone is thinking about shifting the Xmas flab, making 2014 different and all that jazz.

So I realised that this was my chance to step in and help in a slightly different way.  I am still not running a transformation contest this January.  Even if I wanted to, quite frankly I left it too late!  But I have created a private Facebook group where I will be interacting with all members daily from 1-31 Jan.  The idea is to have a big group of people, all looking for some kind of guidance, and then – with the help of other members of the group – I will try and help everyone get where they want to be.  The group is completely free to join, thus helping those who might not usually be able to afford a coach.  There is no formalised programme, just me and the Lovefit team on hand to advise, encourage and inspire.  There will be some workouts, many tips and most of all lots of discussions led by the members.

Then, when the “new year new you” January phase is over, I will be running a (paid) challenge for those who are really in it for the long haul.  My thinking is that I can educate during January and lay the foundations, and then give an extra boost to those who feel ready in February.  It won’t be for everyone, but hopefully it will be really helpful for those who are.

And if you are already there and my posts have been slowly chipping away at you, then you might find that January is the PERFECT time for you to try out my Four Week Fat Attack programme (more details can be found at www.4weekfatattack.com).

For those who wish to join the free support group, simply head over to Facebook and the group is called “Bye Bye Belly Lovefit Support”.  Sorry – I was struggling to think of something catchy!

Righty, that turned into a longer post than I had intended.  Just one more thing to say, and that is to wish you a very happy new year.  Whether you are out celebrating or having a quiet one like me, I do hope that 2014 is an excellent one.

And to all my readers in Australia – you’re already there, so enjoy!