Developing a healthy side to your personal brand

  • Share:

As the summer is finally here and many of us are a bit more preoccupied with our appearance, this month’s post is dedicated to an important component of personal branding: our outer brand. Outer branding is the way in which we convey ourselves to the world, and includes communication skills, presence, personal style, grooming, mannerisms and a healthy appearance.

Photo: Pixabay

The importance of these attributes in making a first impression is pretty obvious, but a healthy personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. Balancing work and life, managing stress, getting proper rest and exercise, and maintaining healthy eating habits are all critical and are the foundation of building a strong and healthy outer brand. I often have these discussions with my talented personal trainer and nutrition coach, Gurinder Sandhu, who runs Guriner Sandhu Coaching. Gurinder believes that “when you’re sustaining a healthy regime, you’re going to look your best and feel your best way more often than not. By extension, you’ll build a brand that performs stronger for longer. For most people, though, the issue is knowing how to create a sustainable healthy regime.”

As a clinical psychologist, I often help clients in my private practice initiate healthier lifestyle changes, and was also recently interviewed by Women’s Health about the psychology of developing (and sticking to) healthy habits. With Gurinder’s endorsement, I thought I would share my six tips from that interview, all of which are relevant for creating a healthy personal brand.

Prepare yourself for “the long game”.
The media continuously bombard us with fad diets, however we are less likely to stick to diets that require drastic changes to our daily eating habits (e.g., “crash” or juicing diets), increasing the likelihood of gaining back the weight (or even more) in the long term. Identify healthy changes, however small, that you could realistically make on a daily basis. By integrating them into your daily routine, they become habit and you will have a much better chance of sticking to them over the long term.

Give up goals and commit to the process.
While goals can push you in the short term, they can result in unnecessary stress and lead to disappointment. Instead of setting a goal to lose an arbitrary amount of weight by an arbitrary amount time, try committing to a process that builds up daily healthy habits. This mentality is not about achieving a particular weight, it’s about sticking to the process you’ve developed and adjusting accordingly when there are set-backs. Again, embrace that “long game” mentality!

Practice psychological flexibility.
All too often dieting is approached with a strict “all or nothing” mentality. However, in psychology, we know that such black-and-white thinking can be self-defeating, particularly when it comes to developing healthy habits. This type of unhelpful thinking can be quite rigid and implies that slip ups are unacceptable. It is not uncommon for dieters to give up dieting or exercise completely because they couldn’t adhere to their diet 100% or meet their goal of going to the gym X number of days. If self-demands are too unrealistic or inflexible, they will likely set us up for failure. Be realistic with your dieting expectations. Build acceptance around the fact that there will be set-backs and disappointments and meet these with self-compassion.

Practice eating mindfully.
Mindful eating involves eating with a particular intention and attention, using all of the senses. By eating mindfully, we can change our long-term relationship with food. While it is not a diet in itself, mindfulness can help with changing our attitudes and practices around choosing food. It can also decrease stress and therefore reduce the tendency to eat emotionally. There are plenty of mindfulness resources out there, and organizations such as The Center for Mindful Eating.

“Surf” the urge.
We live in a society of instant gratification, a mentality that can work against us when dieting. When experiencing cravings and/or the urge to eat when not hungry, it can be helpful to “surf” the urge by just noticing it, and then shifting your focus while making room for it to pass. This involves cultivating the mindfulness mentioned above, as it requires noticing the urge and shifting focus. Try distracting yourself with another activity to help with this; it could be going for a brief walk, calling a friend, responding to a few emails, etc, while making room for the urge to pass. Of course, removing the temptation is also important to set yourself up for success.

Recruit support.
Another self-defeating mentality amongst dieters is the belief that dieting is a personal or private event. Research has shown that people are more successful at losing weight when they have a “buddy” to provide support.  Friends can cheer us along, provide advice and inspire us. A nutritionist may also be worthwhile considering; not only can they help create a tailored plan that will best suit you, they can provide support, help trouble shoot and keep you accountable. A cognitive behavioral therapist can also help; not only by providing support, but by assisting you in identifying and changing any self-defeating thinking patterns related to body image and dieting.


Gurinder Sandhu is the Director of Gurinder Shandhu Coaaching. To find out more and to book a FREE consultation, check out


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *