Most traditional diets are unsustainable, and based on unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and as a result, are destined to fail - leading to that inevitable rollercoaster of weight-loss and weight-gain that we hear so much about.
Mindful eating is based on the ancient Buddhist practise of mindfulness, which provides a simple way to tune into your brain, and take control of your behaviours. In the context of eating well, it means being present, free from distractions, and fully aware of what your body is telling you.
As the light dawns on a new year, so the great general election battle commences. Party leaders are out on the road, sparring over health, education and the deficit to lure undecided votes across the four corners of the UK.
What? You just signed up for your first marathon? Well, high five #NewYearNewYou! You basically just filled in an online form and paid some money. Like, seriously, YOLO and stuff. Trust you're doing dry January and going organic while you're at it? OK, I'm kidding, but I do have some serious news. And you may have to sit down...
I know this is going to come as a shock to you if you're used to counting calories but not all calories are created equally. It's time to forget totting up the numbers and instead think about how the food you're eating is making you feel and what good it can do to your body.
Earlier this week I was called a wanker. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last. It happened on the road around Trafalgar Square as people began to peacefully gather to express their support for Paris following the terror attacks... Last year I had too many near misses while cycling in London. Most of them were caused by me. It's an uncomfortable truth for cyclists to hear and admit they've probably taken part in their fair share of silly cycling. So, in 2015 I've decided that when I ride to work I'm going to enjoy it. I'm going to take my time and I'm going to become a mindful cyclist.
It's time to let go of the things you will never have, work on enhancing your best features and what is realistically achievable. Exercise and healthy eating programmes will not make your legs grow as long as a supermodel's.
The only difference between this and all the other attempts was that I was much bigger this time. The heaviest I'd ever been in my life, and it was sad to realise that I wouldn't be able to wear any of my work dresses again.
I have devoted even more time than normal to reading the array of newspaper and magazines health guides for 2015 - detoxing, exercising and dieting has never been this complicated, costly and time consuming. As someone who has a bad habit of gilding the lily myself, here is a simplified guide to what you should do...
Women I consider to be incredible in their personal and professional lives have admitted to me that they're following some kind of mega-control diet like I was, like not eating in the daytime, or restricting their daily calorie intake to near-starvation levels. Why?
Instead of making New Year's Resolutions that are calling out to be broken or starting some miserable fad diet/seven-day detox/intensive exercise regime, we believe in making changes and improvements that are realistic and life-affirming.
It's time. The calendar tells me I can't delay any longer. I have to drag myself, groaning, out of that post-Christmas hibernation and set myself up for a whole year's worth of failing. I've got to make my New Year's Resolutions.
Last year, in the midst of a relapse, I'd just been discharged from NHS services, told that I didn't meet the criteria for outpatient support, despite the fact I desperately needed it. The timing was particularly poor as a number of external events were also affecting my stress levels.
Christmas is one of my favourite times of year, everything is all beautiful and shiny, people are happy and jolly, and there is just an air of warmth and love - But it often comes hand in hand with extra parties and gatherings where you are tempted to over-indulge in loads of food and drinks you normally wouldn't.
A lot of my patients find eating in front of other people especially painful to do. Some need to know exactly what's in their food and drink and how many calories each piece of food has. But these are sensitive issues and the best you can do is to talk calmly and non-judgmentally to your friend or family member. It's not their fault, they are ill - many people think anorexia is a choice. It is not.
If you do need to lose a few pounds I promise you it's not because you are greedy or lazy so don't beat yourself up. Neither do you have a weight gain inducing food intolerance or need a colonic so don't hide behind those. And your persistent pounds can't be blamed on a slow metabolism or are big boned either. Wake up, smell the coffee- you are most likely overweight because you eat too much and/or don't move around enough.