Alison Canavan, ”A Good Diet is Different to Being on a Diet”

Before we even being to talk about the type of food we should be eating for good health the word diet should absolutely be removed from your vocabulary. If I use the word I use it to describe foods you should include in your general diet not as a diet and there is a difference!

I started modeling at 15 and I was exposed to a world where food was treated as the enemy. My agency used to check what was in our fridge and the word health was certainly not in their vocabulary. Their motto was ‘get the job done no matter what the cost” and this had a very high cost for an awful lot of young girls. Twenty-two years on from that time, I’m delighted to say that the industry is finally starting to change and this is down to better role models and the fact that they simply can’t get away with it anymore because of things like social media.

In my opinion everyone needs to stop dieting because diets don’t work plain and simple. The cycle of dieting just messes with your metabolism and each time we start a new diet we lose more muscle and because we need muscle to burn fat, the more muscle we lose the harder it is for us to lose weight each time we start a new diet. Got it!!!

Dieting also immediately makes us think we are denying ourselves of something or indeed everything that gives us pleasure and the word diet makes people feel like they’re about to embark on a journey of suffering and they usually wake up feeling hungry and miserable salivating at any and all food that crosses their path.

Most of us have dieted at some stage. I know as a model I jumped on board many different fad diets at various different stages in my career but having suffered from depression and anxiety since my early teens I knew I had to change my life. During my recovery from postnatal depression I cleaned up my diet and it really helped to lift the fog. Of course this was only one element of a wellbeing formula but it was and still is a very important part. I have since returned to college to study nutrition to truly understand food, its benefits and what we really need to nourish our bodies and the good news is you just need to keep it simple:


My Top Tips: 

  • Spend more time in the fruit and vegetable isle
  • Eat a variety of colour
  • Cook fresh food at home and stay away from processed, prepackaged foods
  • Cut down dramatically on our sugar intake
  • Start eating mindfully and try not to eat in a rush or in front of the TV or computer
  • Build a healthy lifestyle and don’t follow a diet
  • Try some mindfulness or meditation


And finally adopt the 80/20 rule. I love it and it has certainly helped me to heal my relationship with food. Its simple I eat healthy and fresh 80% of the time and the other 20% I don’t beat myself up if I go to barbecues, parties, have desserts or indeed if I’m on holidays. Remember that nobody is perfect and we need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. So stop dieting and start living. Embrace good food for all the positive gifts it can bring into your life like health, vitality, better sleep, hormone balance and great energy


Very simply: what you feed yourself and how you treat yourself will directly affect how you look and feel.

For more from Alison check out her websiteFacebook page.