March 17

Ditching the diets and losing weight – Nicola's story



A story to show that if you focus on enjoying the process and don’t give up… you will see fantastic results.

Hello! Thank you for visiting. If you don’t know me yet, I’m Hayley. A personal trainer and online coach who loves chocolate, cake and most importantly, helping women change their lives.

I work with clients to help them become the best, fit, healthy, happy version of themselves, losing weight through making changes that are sustainable, and creating a lifestyle that they can enjoy for good.

Let me tell you about my client Nicola.

At the start of 2019, Nicola joined my online program Change For Life.

First (although there is so much more than this – keep reading), here are Nicola’s stats from 8 weeks:

Weight loss: 11lbs
Inches lost: 4 inches from waist, 4 inches from hips


Those are fantastic results. 

And, they were achieved while enjoying homemade pizza and pudding every Friday as part of date night with her hubby. Winning.

In 8 weeks, some people will lose more than this, some will lose less. All progress is fantastic. 

Even if there are no visible or measurable changes in weight in that time, that doesn’t necessarily mean that time has not been well spent.

There are still huge strides that can be made in daily habits and mindset that can set you up for lifetime success, and I’m happy to say Nicola made plenty of those too.


The week that weight loss became weight gain

With almost every client I’ve ever worked with, there’s been a week when they’ve gained weight rather than lost it.

It’s not something that makes people happy. But it happens. It’s completely normal. And it’s so important to not let that throw you off track.

This is Nicola’s weight loss progress in the first 4 weeks of Change For Life:⁣

Week 1 – stayed same⁣
Week 2 – lost 1lb⁣
Week 3 gained 2lb⁣
Week 4 – lost 5lb⁣

That’s a total of 4lbs lost in 4 weeks, which is brilliant.⁣

I’ve highlighted the ‘gained 2lb’ because at that point, things weren’t looking quite so good.

After 3 weeks of effort for a net 1lb gain, Nicola was understandably feeling pretty frustrated.

But – she didn’t give up.⁣

First, I reminded her that she’d been doing great, and that a lack of change on the scales DOESN’T mean progress isn’t happening. ⁣

Second, we looked at a few tweaks that could be made to save calories over the week, and ways to add a little more activity into daily life.⁣

Nicola got stuck into both of those tasks and the next week she saw a 5lb drop.⁣

That might have happened anyway, or it might be that those changes helped. ⁣

Either way, it showed just how important it is to keep going, even when you think it’s not working.

You never know when amazing changes are about to happen.


There is no perfect way to lose weight

A huge point to remember when it comes to weight loss is that everyone is different.

There is no perfect way to lose weight, get fitter and healthier, become the best version of you.

There is no rate at which you should be making progress. Fluctuations are very normal. If you are making any form of improvement in any area –  that’s brilliant, keep going.

What I often see with clients is there’s a tipping point. Some weeks you’ll do brilliantly with food and activity, and yet see minimal reward on the scales. ⁣

But as long as you keep putting the effort in, things DO change.⁣

Comparing to others is what puts so many people off from going after what they want, and stops so many more from keeping going when things don’t go to plan.

Stay focused on YOU – your efforts, your journey.

Nicola had a problem with her foot for almost the entire Change For Life program, which severely limited the amount of exercise she could do.

For many people, having just signed up for a weight loss program and then develop a problem that stops them exercising would completely throw them off.

They would think it just wasn’t meant to be – ‘no point going all in right now, I’ll try again next time.’

Nicola didn’t do that. She could do small amounts of walking, plus she was able to spend chunks of her day standing up at work, which helped a lot.

She was also able to do a few of the home workout exercises – squats and press ups still got her heart rate up and meant she could work big groups of muscles in her legs, core and upper body.


A secret weapon for weight loss 


And then there was NEAT.

NEAT is a concept that is new to most clients I work with (Nicola included), and it can make a huge difference to the progress people see.

It stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which essentially means any activity you do that is not classed as exercise. All the daily movements we make – fidgeting, standing, cleaning, stretching, walking just to get somewhere, scratching an itch, bopping along to your favourite song when no one is watching – all count as NEAT. 

And these movements can add up to a surprising amount of calories burned over the course of the day. Especially when you become more aware and aim to increase them.

Continuing with my aim to get a Friends GIF into every article 🙂


After discovering this, Nicola became a NEAT fiend and added to her daily posts in the group that she’d been making sure she kept it high.

Her efforts with activity and nutrition paid off.

Here’s what Nicola had to say about her Change For Life experience:

What were your goals at the start of Change For Life? 

To lose weight and develop a healthier lifestyle.

What have you learned / improved / achieved? 

I have improved my nutrition, especially my protein intake. I have learned to ditch the ‘diet’ mentality and focus instead on what my body needs and deserves to have, rather than what I’m not allowed.

I have also, weirdly learned that it’s ok not to exercise if I can’t and not to stress about it! There are other things to do instead, like NEAT, and non weight-bearing exercise.

What would you say are the best things about the Change For Life?

Hayley’s personal support and a program personal to me. Also NOT BEING ON A DIET, but thinking about nutrition instead!

What struggles have you had during the program?

I’ve really struggled with my own perception of ‘getting enough exercise’ when my foot was playing up. I was really stressing and worrying about it.

What are you most proud of from the last 8 weeks? 

My change in mindset. I used to think of ‘being on a diet’ almost as a ‘punishment’ for being overweight. I love food and used to hate denying myself delicious treats.

I am proud that I now think more in terms of the nutrition I deserve. Treats are still there, but I can have them whenever I want, so all of a sudden, I don’t want them as much!

How would you sum up your experience of online coaching and Change For Life?

I have thoroughly enjoyed the CFL program and already got my friend to sign up for the next one!

I previously lost weight on a well-known diet, which started to go back on once I stopped.

CFL has taught me about nutrition and a balanced diet. There is nothing ‘forbidden’ and so treats can be enjoyed sensibly!

The changes I noticed to my energy levels by tweaking what I was eating ( in my case increasing my protein intake) have been incredible. The improved nutrition has increased my energy levels.

I have also been motivated into changing other areas of my life (house tidying and reorganisation) as a result!

Hayley is a great program leader. She’s helpful, encouraging and supportive without judging or negativity. I can’t thank her enough. Not only for the weight loss, which has exceeded what I’d hoped, but for the whole mindset change. The differences I felt just due to eating more protein have been mind-blowing. And my hubby has also lost 7lb, just through listening to me evangelise Change For Life!


So many positive changes that show this wasn’t just an 8-week diet, or cutting out foods to lose weight.

This was about adding nutrition, gaining energy, finding balance, in order to lose weight and be able to keep it off for good.

No yo-yoing back after because the changes were unsustainable.

The goal of any coaching process should be to give you the tools to set you up for success and empower you to keep it.

With weight loss, that comes from creating a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy. No foods off limits. 

Enjoying healthy foods that make you feel great, and a bit of whatever else you fancy a few times a week too.

Here’s a photo of Nicola’s food from one day on Change For Life.


Healthy foods, easy to prepare and grab on the go. Planning made a huge difference too.

If you need a place to start – this is where I would look first.

Plan your food day, aiming for:

  • protein in each meal
  • plenty of colour from fruit and veg
  • an awareness of calories – building the habit of checking packets will help a lot
  • options that are quick and easy to prepare
  • foods that you actually enjoy!


There is so much more, but this is a great place to start.

And above all remember – healthy, sustainable weight loss takes time, so enjoy the process.

There’s no rush, no one else to compare to. It’s your journey. 

Keep going, keep learning, keep refining your habits and routines to serve you better.

Consistency, gradual progress, and enjoyment are the ultimate keys to success. 

As long as you don’t give up, you will get there.


For more info on Change For Life, click HERE.

And if you’d like any help or have any questions, you can get in touch with me HERE.



healthy weight loss, how to lose weight, losing weight, online trainer, online weight loss, online weight loss program, weight loss, weight loss for women

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