Christina Neal recently joined Slim Fit & Healthy as our new editor. We asked her to tell us more about her own attitude to health, fitness and slimming…

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m the former Editor of Women’s Running and Women’s Fitness magazines and I’ve always been passionate about exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle. I enjoy running, going to the gym and boxing fitness. I love to exercise and keep fit because I know how good it makes me feel.

Tell us a bit about your diet.
My diet has changed a lot over the years. I turned 50 this year, so I’ve seen and tried a lot of fad diets but I won’t diet anymore. Last year, I lost a lot of weight simply by eating smaller portions and doing a bit more exercise and I must admit stress played a part in it too. I know now it’s not a good idea to try and cut certain things out of your diet. You’ll only crave them more. Now I have a rule in my head that if I’m full up, I’ll stop eating and push the plate away. It’s taken me years to do this as my parents always encouraged me to eat everything on the plate!

Brighton 2011

Christina running Brighton Marathon 2011

What about your weight – is it a struggle for you to stay in shape?
I must admit it is, yes! Lots of my friends think it’s easy for me because I exercise regularly but I can gain weight easily and have a large appetite because I like food. To keep weight off, I need to exercise four to five times per week – usually running and going to the gym – and I must watch my portion sizes. That said, my appetite has gone down a bit over the last few years. Must be my age!

What made you want to be the editor of Slim Fit & Healthy?
I saw the magazine when it first came out and was struck by the good quality of the title. I love the design and the editorial content – it’s varied, there’s loads of interesting articles and recipes and lots of inspirational case studies about women who have transformed their bodies and their health. I also like the fact that the magazine doesn’t limit its content to dieting or recipes – there’s some great health advice in it and it’s also got some strong fitness content. We’re not aligned to any specific diet or eating plan, so we can be completely objective about what will and won’t work when trying to lose weight. It really is an all-round guide for anyone wanting to get in shape.

What sort of meals do you enjoy cooking at home?
This is an interesting question for me because if you had asked me this a year ago I would have said ‘I don’t cook’! I only started cooking meals from scratch after moving in with my partner, Dave, almost a year ago. We’re both trying to improve our health and eating good food is essential for both of us. My favourite meals to cook are spaghetti bolognese, Thai green curry and baked salmon with a tomato and pesto sauce.

Be honest. What are your favourite ‘cheat’ foods?
I have a few! Cheesy crisps, the occasional Freddo Frog chocolate bar and rosé wine. I also really enjoy cheese. The smellier the better! I can’t pretend I’m an angel when it comes to food. I like certain treat foods occasionally but I try to make sure I burn them off!

What advice do you have for readers looking to make a lifestyle change and lose weight?
Just get started. If you’ve tried before and things haven’t worked out, just put the past behind you and try again – but don’t just do what you did before and expect a different result. Try and learn from the past. Make exercise a regular part of your day and find a form of exercise you enjoy, not what you think you should do. Don’t worry about which exercise burns the most calories – just go with what you enjoy because that means you’ll do it consistently. When it comes to weight loss, consistency is key, so it doesn’t matter whether you walk, jog, dance or run… find that one thing that gives you ‘me’ time and stick to it.