June 25

Finding Peace With Food – Virginia’s Story


Finding peace with food.

This lovely lady is my online coaching client Virginia.

In our three months of coaching together, Virginia made some fantastic changes in her nutrition, exercise, and relationship with food. She also lost 9.5lbs, while getting stronger in the gym.

The process was about so much more than weight loss, as you can see from the testimonial below.

But losing weight was one of the goals, and to lose it while gaining strength is brilliant.

Us women need to protect our muscle. As well as making us feel toned and fabulous in our clothes, it reduces our risk of falls and fractures as we get older. And it keeps us strong and able to do all the things we want to do in life for decades to come.

As well as this, Virginia has built a healthier and happier relationship with food. She’s now enjoying chocolate guilt-free, and keeping it in the house without the cravings and stress that used to surface before.

As a coach, to see women enjoying both strength training and chocolate, AND achieving their goals, makes me incredibly happy 🙂

Here’s what Virginia had to say about her fantastic progress and results.


Virginia’s online coaching story

“I started with Hayley at the beginning of February 2022.

My goal was to not be controlled by emotional eating, lose weight and be fitter.

I felt a bit lost on what food was good for my body.

I felt my body had changed since going into my 40s and the perimenopause.

3 months on, I don’t recognise the person I was in February!

I am no longer beating myself up mentally for eating ‘bad’ food (e.g., chocolate) because chocolate is no longer seen as ‘bad’.  It is just chocolate.

If I want some, then I consider why, and will mindfully eat the chocolate.

Due to the guidance Hayley has given me to provide me with a balanced, nutritious diet, I am no longer hungry in between meals. So, the pull to eat chocolate because I am hungry is no longer there.

mindful eating for weight loss
It doesn’t have to be this nutritious every time, but these are some ideas to help you feel at your best


No foods off limits, and more more binges

“I used to also eat chocolate and sugary snacks after a difficult session with a client (I am a counsellor), or something else had upset me.

My mind told me that ‘I deserve a treat, to reward or cheer myself up’.  My mind no longer thinks like that.

I had a difficult session the other day, and I had a fruit tea, then went back to work.

I didn’t even think about having a ‘reward treat’.  Chocolate now sits in the cupboard, like any other food item.

Previously going on diets, I would have binged ate all the ‘bad’ foods, before starting on my diet.  This is no longer the case.

No food is off limit.  It is instead, deciding do I want to eat it and if so, plan it into my day.

And it is about consistency each day. I have not ‘blown it’ if I have a day, I eat a lot of food that are high in calories.

It is such a gift to be a peace in my mind over food, after years of ‘on and off’ dieting.

In the 3 months I have lost 8lbs, and enjoying a stronger, fitter body that will carry me into my 50s!”


Virginia – huge congratulations for that!


If you’re reading this and wanting similar results, here is some more in depth info on the key points that helped:

Planning and mindfully enjoying the foods you love

mindful eating for weight loss

To lose weight and keep it off for good, you need to lose it in a way you can live it.

That means planning in less healthy foods you love, and enjoying them guilt-free.

Having experienced various diets, Virginia found this concept really helpful. Nothing off limits – just make sure you slowly and mindfully enjoy every bite.

So often we feel guilty for eating foods, or binge on them mindlessly when we’re stressed.

If you love it, plan it in.

Give yourself time to get the most from it – noticing each delicious bite and stopping when you’ve had enough. You can always have more later.

Seeing it this way can remove the ‘f*** it’ mentality of deciding to eat it all now before you have to ‘start again’.

It can also help to think about saving calories for the best of what you love. Planning in the treats that feel most worth it to you can help you say no to other choices that are ‘nice’ but not ‘awesome’.

Over time, saying no to the generic choices that aren’t that amazing can save you a considerable amount of calories, that wouldn’t have made you feel great anyway. Some of those can be ‘spent’ on your favourite indulgences, and some can be ‘banked’ for weight loss.


Tracking food, habits and progress

weight loss tips

When it comes to weight loss, there is so much more to track than just your weight.

For success, we need to keep track of habits. The biggest impact will come from your food (and drink) intake, so it’s really important to keep a record of this. By doing so, you can see where to make small doable changes.

These are ideas for what you can track when it comes to health and fitness:


  • Weight – not the only form of data and always not the most reliable (as it’s affected by hormones, carbs, salt, sleep, stress and more) but still important.
  • BMI – seeing this drop towards the healthy weight zone can be a good motivator for some.
  • Measurements – sometimes your weight won’t change much for a few weeks or more, but your measurements show that things are happening. My clients take waist, hips, arms and thigh measurements every 2-4 weeks.
  • Item of clothing – not strictly ‘data’ but trying on something that’s a bit tight, and feeling it start to fit you better, is another good way of tracking progress. Many of my clients love this method the most.
  • Food intake – obviously extremely important when it comes to weight loss. Keeping a food diary or using an app such as ‘my fitness pal’ can both work very well. Virginia found that the ‘my fitness pal’ app was the post effective tool for her. It enabled her to find ways to increase her protein intake, which helped with reducing cravings, and staying fuller for longer. And it empowered her to fit in some favourite less healthy foods, while making a few tweaks to other choices, to help balance things out.
  • Steps – using a fitbit or other step tracker will help boost your general activity, and can significantly improve both general heath and weight loss.
  • Training – keeping track of your strength and fitness, and aiming to improve them over time, is hugely motivating. My clients have a training plan on an app, that enables them to record their sets, repetitions, and weights used. Adding repetitions or weight when you can means gaining strength, and building or maintaining muscle. This increases your metabolism, helps you tone up, and brings a host of other benefits – more explained below.



protein foodsbenefits of protein


Eating more protein keeps you fuller for longer, and reduces cravings for snacks, which is something Virginia found particularly helpful.

Protein is also the building block of our muscles, helping us stay strong and recover from exercise.

From around the age of 30, we gradually start to lose muscle mass, and this accelerates after menopause. We also become less efficient at digestion and using protein as we get older.

So for optimal health and body function, we need to make sure we’re eating enough of this vital macronutrient.

How much is enough?

If we’re being specific, 1.5g per kg of your ideal bodyweight is a good number to aim for.

Higher or slightly lower than this is fine too. For example, if your ideal weight is 65kg (10 stone 3lbs, or 143lbs):

65 x 1.5 = 97.5g

For most women, 90-120g protein is a good range.

If you’re not counting grams, aim for a palm size serving of protein in each meal (you could also have a high protein snack, like Greek yogurt with fruit, or a protein shake.


Resistance Training

Such a powerful tool for weight loss, and for living your best life.

Resistance training helps you build and maintain muscle – keeping your body strong, protecting your bones, and boosting your metabolism.

It also helps you see noticeable changes in your figure, and get the ‘toned’ feeling that boosts confidence and makes you feel amazing in clothes you love.

To get the most out of resistance training, it’s really important to aim to get stronger. You can do this by adding repetitions or increasing the weight over time.

Don’t worry – you won’t get big bulky muscles. As women, we only have 10% of the muscle-building hormone testosterone that men have. You can build more if you want to – you just have to work hard and consistently to do it. It won’t happen by accident.

What lifting weights will do, is help you strengthen, shape, and maintain the muscle you have.

And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns each day.


What are the best exercises to do?

Doing big compound movements (exercises that work lots of muscles and multiple joints) like squats, deadlifts, push ups, rows, presses and pulldowns, is the most effective use of your time.

These moves keep you strong and able to do all the movements the human body is designed to do.

Dumbell exercises
kettlebell exercises
resistance band exercises

You’ll be less likely to suffer aches and pains, and more likely to be enjoying life to the full for decades to come.

Training at the gym is fantastic for being able to use a variety of equipment and keep building strength, but you can get a lot out of workouts at home too.

The majority of my clients are busy working mums and do resistance training at home to save time.

There are plenty of ideas, in the form of videos and infographics, on my Instagram page – @hayleyplummerpt

And to find useful home training equipment, check out my store page HERE.


For more help and inspiration…

Virginia found my podcast helpful for working on her mindset around weight loss, as well as learning more about nutrition, building habits, and the benefits of strength training for women.

It’s on all podcast platforms, and you can find it on Spotify via this link:

Think Healthy with Hayley podcast


If you’d love support, accountability and guidance to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable and enjoyable way (yes, this is possible!), find out more about online coaching here:

Benefits of Having an Online Weight Loss Coach




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