Finally, a health plan we can believe in. Combining eating well and regular exercise with a positive mental outlook and lifestyle changes, Louise Parker’s four-pillared approach promises to save us from the endless cycle of fad diets and deserted gym memberships.
We caught up with the acclaimed personal trainer and mother of three, to talk food, family and our favourite subject… sleep.
Can you tell us a little more about the inspiration behind The Louise Parker Method?
I’d spent a decade working for myself as a freelance personal trainer and, while I loved it, I felt frustrated. I was caught up in this all-or-nothing mindset, swinging between over-training to throwing in the towel after every fad diet let me down. I thought I was the failure, but then it dawned on me I had to create a plan for myself that was sustainable, not punishing.
I sat on my bed one day and, within an hour, sketched out every angle I’d really have to work on to achieve permanent success – and still live a life of celebration.
It took a good five years to create a team of experts to help me fully refine the method, defined by science and not fads. We’re now a team of over 40, and each programme is led by registered dieticians. By the end of this year, I think we will have coached over 20,000 clients worldwide to free themselves of the mentality of dieting and deprivation.
We can often feel immense pressure in January to make sweeping changes. What three achievable tips would you recommend to start the year off right?
Whatever you do, don’t make a list of more than five changes for the year. You have to keep it real and sustainable.
I’d start with sleep, as it’s the absolute foundation. You can’t build a positive mindset or routine on tiredness. Then focus on nourishing food you can introduce into your diet. If you can, make a concerted effort to drastically reduce sugar. Lastly, define and commit to a movement plan you know you can sustain – aim high, but keep it realistic and change your regime every six weeks.
Do you have any advice for other women juggling full-time jobs with family commitments?
Work out what is important to you.
Family comes first for me, but equally there are times of the year where you just have to let go of some home commitments. Sit down every half-term and try to design your diary around what you, your family and your career need – and don’t leave out your you time.
I refuse to feel guilty about not being able to do the school runs – I simply can’t. I gave up a long time ago trying to do it all. But, when I am home, I am present and I hope and think I am a good mother. Let go of the idea of perfection and try to create the best life you can with the hours you have.
In our constantly ‘switched-on’ modern world, it can sometimes feel impossible to switch off. What do you do to keep your mind healthy?
Walking is my meditation. I do struggle in the Winter, but even just my 25-minute walk to work and home again is enough to evaluate and resolve any problem.
I’ve also learnt when – and who – to talk to about anything weighing me down. My husband puts everything into perspective for me – and it helps we run the company together, as he has a total understanding of my day. I have a great group of strong women to talk to for advice and direction, and for when I need to let me hair down and just relax.
We have loved reading Lean For Life. Do you have a favourite recipe from the book?
My Vitality Smoothie from my first book is something we whizz up every day. It’s a simple blend of protein-rich natural yoghurt, frozen Summer berries, oatbran and water – so simple, yet so abundantly high in fibre and antioxidants. From my second book, I think my favourite is Paul’s Passion Chicken – which is a spicy grilled chicken dish served in lettuce wraps with spring onions, tomatoes, and a passion-fruit dressing – it’s messy, fun Friday night food.
Here at The White Company we advocate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Can you take us through your night-time routine?
Aaaah – my favourite time of the day. During the week I really try (and I’d say I hit it most nights that I am in) and have a digital detox each evening. I have a bedtime reminder and alarm on my phone so, come 9pm, I turn it onto airplane mode and plonk it in my bedside drawer. I’ll light candles, run a hot bath and spend a good hour unwinding by soaking, pampering and reading a book in bed. I’m certain that since I began letting go of all screens after nine, I’ve learnt to sleep properly. Also, never underestimate the benefits of investing in a really great quality mattress, mattress topper, bed linen and sleepwear. It makes such a difference, especially as you spend a third of your life in bed.
Shop our bed linen and transform your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.