You know it’s New Year when you start to see the myriad of adverts on TV for many ways to loose weight. It can be a club to join, a brand of food to eat, a diet consultant or even a pill that will magically eat away the fat.

I, and my big, beautiful characters today plead with you to ignore it all and DONT go on a diet for New Year.

It’s all a big con, a huge con. The food is food, you eat alot of it and you’ll put on weight no matter what brand it is. The diet consultants and clubs design their plans so that you will loose weight but eventually (when you get to eating properly) you’ll put weight on and go back to them and you don’t need me to tell you that the pills really are just tosh.

And you are beautiful just the way you are. You’ve got to love yourself as you exist right now ‘cos if you don’t love you you’ve got a hard uphill battle on your hands. Take it from me. I’ve battled for years with low self esteem attached to my weight. Indulge me a moment whilst I tell you the history.

I’ve always been big. Tallest in my class until the second year of secondary school when the lads got their growth spurts on. Here’s a few pics of me when I was little, wasn’t I cute? But I was teased for being fat right from Junior school.

But now when I look back at me as a teenager, the below photo was of me at about 15/16 years of age, I realise that really, I had a pretty damn good figure and if I had realised that, well, maybe my teen years would have been different.

Now I dieted in my teen years, my mum , bless her, got into Weight Watchers and decided it’d be good idea for me to try it too. So it sort of set the tone for my attitude from there on in. I’d diet then slip away then diet then slip away and you can see it in the photos of me over the years and it comes from connecting my self esteem with my size.

Which is why I urge you to seek to love yourself just as you are, that means loving the bits you’re not keen on. For me I need to learn to love my thick thighs for example. They’re a part of me and I’d be lost without them! You are brilliant, you really are and it’s not big headed to recognise that fact. Remind yourself of the fact now and then and treat yourself well.

Now this last point leads me on to say I am not in any way shape or form telling you to eat what you like, drink what you like and to hell with health and sensible living. No, I’m not saying that at all. As people who follow me on facebook and Twitter will know I’ve been losing weight of late. In fact I lost 21lbs from August to the middle of December last year. Here’s a picture of me from my book Launch in November.

Now I do believe you might think I’m being hypocritical and I can understand that and I’ve felt it a time or two as I’ve crowed about my weight loss but I think there is a world of difference between losing weight because I’m learning to eat healthily to benefit my fitness and health than simply dieting to “look better”.

I’m learning that I need to value myself and my health no matter what my size because a healthy lifestyle makes the world of difference. I regularly exercise now, which is more than I did and I feel so much better for it. I can bend and stretch and tie my own laces without too much difficulty, all things I couldn’t manage before! I’m eating better so I don’t suffer from heartburn and indegestion so much, my skin is healthier and my my mood is better too.

I’m doing all this with the help of a Weight Matters Coach. It’s an NHS initiative in my area (I am sure there are similar things on offer in most areas of Britain) and I’ve done a 6 week course where I’ve learnt about healthy eating. How to read food labels, what the different fats are, the importance of exercise etc etc and after my course ended I’ve gone every week still to be weighed in and receive support and advice from my coach. It really helps to have someone to talk to about these things and to have the encouragement of a weekly weigh in to keep me actually eating somewhat healthily. *LOL*

So I’m not dieting. Nope, I’m not denying myself anything I’m just getting used to eating a better balance of food on a regular basis. It’s good for my health and I’m looking after myself better.Just means I’m losing a little excess fat. I’m never going to loose my curves, blimey, they’re part of my make up and I am very proud of them and always will be.

So remember ladies, your curves are cute and you’re beautiful just the way you are so please, please, please don’t diet. It’s not good for you. Improve your health by all means but don’t diet!