Recently I had the pleasure of being asked to do an interview with Women’s Fitness website, all about how to lose weight successfully.
You can find the interview here – Coach Hayley Plummer on Weight Loss to be Successful – or read it below.
You are a believer in the fact that every food (most definitely cake and chocolate included) can fit into a healthy balanced lifestyle. Can you help women understand how this can be made possible?
Absolutely. I’m a firm believer that you can enjoy any foods you love as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle, and that this is the best approach for long term success.
Often people try to cut out less nutritious foods because they believe that they’re ‘bad’, or stop them from losing weight. It’s important to remember that no foods are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – some are just more nutritious, some are less so.
We definitely want to include mostly nutritious foods that support our bodies and make us feel at our best. When we do that, cake, chocolate or anything else we love will not be detrimental to health (as long as you don’t have allergies or intolerances to them).
It also helps to know that it’s our overall calorie intake that determines our weight. And any foods can fit into that. When people restrict themselves from foods they love, they tend to end up rebounding and overeating them at some point.
So I recommend planning them in and practising mindful eating. Choosing the best of what you love. Eating it slowly without distraction. And really savouring the taste of each bite. When you allow it without guilt, you enjoy it more and tend to feel satisfied with less. Knowing you can have it again whenever you choose to.
You have more than a decade of experience in the fitness industry. First as a personal trainer, and now as an online nutrition and mindset coach. Please share key aspects that need to be instilled in us to stay fit & healthy?
Some of the key practical aspects are building habits and doing things in a way that you enjoy. That helps you create a lifestyle you’re happy to keep living. Making healthy choices easier to do makes a big difference.
This could be planning your meals, buying yourself a nice water bottle, keeping healthier snacks visible (and less healthy ones in a box out of sight). Booking in exercise as time for yourself, and sticking to it because it supports your physical and mental health.
It’s important to remember that you won’t feel motivated all the time, and that’s ok. Sometimes taking action has to come first. When you do that, you create your own motivation. Encouraging and supporting yourself (rather than criticizing yourself and beating yourself up) makes this easier. And it makes being fit and healthy a whole lot more enjoyable.
Consistency not perfection is one of the most crucial aspects of all. You don’t need to do everything all of the time. And you haven’t ‘ruined it’ if you have a bad day, week or month. You’re only ever one choice away from being back on track.
How have the advertising industry and fad diets affected the industry? How can one keep themselves away from being influenced by them?
Remember they’re designed to lure people to a quick fix, because that’s what people want and that’s what sells. But it’s not what creates lasting results. With any weight loss plan, it’s so important to ask ‘will this work for me long term?’. If the process doesn’t feel sustainable, it’s highly likely that the results won’t be sustainable either.
People tend to regain the weight lost through fad diets, because they haven’t built the habits and lifestyle required to make it last. Making small doable changes isn’t as ‘sexy’ or initially exciting as a quick fix approach. But it dramatically increases your chances of long term success.
If you enjoy what you’re doing and you’re making gradual progress (in any area – how your clothes fit, your measurements, strength, fitness, relationship with food, mindset, energy, habits, – not just your weight), that’s brilliant. You’re on the right track.
The first thought that strikes most of us when we want to lose weight is dieting. How do you go about helping women change their mindset on dieting?
For weight loss to be successful for the long term, it needs to come from habit change – not restrictive dieting. Often one of the key habits to work on is becoming more aware of your mindset and how it can hold you back.
I have had many clients who have been doing great – making so many positive changes. Then stepped on the scales to find progress wasn’t as fast as it had been when they’d previously been on a diet, so they felt like they were failing. A common reaction then is to think ‘why bother’ and eat to feel better, thus sabotaging future success.
We really have to work on that mindset and move away from diet mentality.
If you lost weight on a diet, but you ended up regaining it, the diet didn’t ‘work’. So we need a different approach – we need to build habits and a lifestyle that you can enjoy and sustain. This takes time, but it’s a lot more enjoyable than following a restrictive diet. And it leads to long term results.
Often, the quicker the weight loss, the less likely it is to last. When I work with clients on moving away from restriction, including foods they love and actually enjoying the process of getting healthier and losing weight… that’s when lasting success happens.
Side-effects of dieting that affect young girls & women in later years of life. How far can the damage be undone & how?
For some – particularly young girls – dieting can have very negative effects on both body image and relationship with food. This can lead to decades of struggles with weight, food, body image and self esteem. If this is the case, working with a trained professional – a coach, dietician, counsellor or psychotherapist can be needed. That can make a real difference.
Whether or not you work with a professional, podcasts and books on building a healthy relationship with food can be really beneficial. As can journaling. It’s a powerful tool to understand yourself better, practise self compassion, and work on helpful thoughts you want to focus on instead.
From a practical perspective, many women find it helpful to plan food in advance – meals and snacks. This means you can incorporate great nutrition, along with other foods you love, and build a balanced way of eating that works for you. When you don’t have to keep making decisions about what to eat throughout the day, you can focus on your hunger and fullness levels, and enjoying the food itself.
Over time, this realistic planning and mindful eating can improve your relationship with food. And help you find a way of eating that feels both enjoyable and sustainable.
Share insight into your daily fitness routine? How do you like to kick start your day?
I feel best when I do something active each day, whether it’s a walk, lifting weights (I go to the gym with my mum twice a week, and we lift weights together), or riding my bike.
My morning routine varies depending on the time of year and the weather. When it’s light early enough and the weather is good, I love getting out first thing for a walk. There’s nothing better than listening to the birds and watching the sun come up! I still wake up early (between 5.30 and 6am) in the winter. Then my morning starts with stretches, reading, and an hour of studying or writing for my website. I’ll then aim to get out later when it’s daylight.
I have a mini stepper, dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, and an indoor bike, so I can still get the benefits of exercise even if it’s awful weather. But ideally, I love to be outside.
Foods you love to eat? What should an ideal healthy meal look like?
My favourite food is chocolate, and I do love a good blondie, brownie, or sticky toffee pudding! Nutritious foods I love include eggs (especially with avocado on toast), Greek yogurt with granola and berries, chicken or tofu fajitas, salmon and roasted vegetables. Chocolate protein powder and cacao powder mixed into porridge, topped with flaxseed and frozen berries, is my favourite breakfast.
For a healthy meal that provides everything your body needs, this is what I’d suggest. A quarter of your plate filled with protein (e.g. meat, fish, tofu, tempeh, eggs, lentils, protein powder). Half your plate filled with vegetables. And the remaining quarter filled with carbs or healthy fats of your choice. It doesn’t have to be like this every time, but it’s a great template to aim for.
Tools and teachings you incorporate in helping people change their mindset towards dieting & body image?
Podcasts and books are powerful tools to help change people’s mindsets – I have a list of recommended books on my website, and have my own podcast – Think Healthy with Hayley. It’s also really valuable to spend time with like minded people who are looking to make similar changes in their lives.
Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by friends who are still restrictive dieting, and unfollow anyone on social media whose content doesn’t make you feel good. Find accounts and online communities that promote the healthy balanced mindset and lifestyle you’re looking to create.
Another practical tool that can really help, as I’ve already mentioned, is journaling. My coaching clients do this each week in the form of a ‘check-in’ with me, writing down their thoughts and feelings on how things are going. The check-in prompts them to look for non-scale victories – actions or signs or progress that they’re pleased with. There are always wins to be found, and I’d highly encourage everyone to do this.
We’re looking to practise self understanding, self compassion, and being proud of your efforts – not just waiting for the scales to change before you can feel good. It makes the process a lot more enjoyable. When you enjoy it, you keep going, and when you keep going, you create lasting results.
Thanks for reading!
If you’re interested in getting personal 1:1 coaching for health, fitness or weight loss, you can find out more about online coaching here: