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Image by Annie Spratt


Food Fabulous

Notes from midlife

What IS your happy weight?

Everyone has a happy weight. It’s not based on any medical measures or charts like Body Mass Index and nor does it necessarily relate to your body fat percentage or your waist-to-hip ratio. The truth is, it means something slightly different for everyone, which makes sense because it’s not like there’s an official meaning.

Your happy weight is not what you might consider your ‘ideal weight’ either, which experience tells me is probably a little below what you think is achievable and maybe would have you looking a little gaunt. And, actually, maintaining it would be a b1tch.

No, your happy weight is the space that exists between that ‘ideal weight’ and your ‘acceptable upper limit’; a weight you tolerate that is not exactly where you want to be and perhaps you’re a little better ‘covered’ than you’d like but it’s okay. In this middle ground you feel good, you look good and, importantly, you don’t have to think too much about staying there.

I’d like to take this concept a step further. For me, it’s also about not being worried about your weight because most of the other aspects of your life are satisfying and you don’t have to reach for comfort foods to make up for something else being missing.

The time has come to take a look-see into what is currently there for you in the space of your ‘happy weight’. You’ve got some idea of what it is that you want but it’s also important to explore why you want that, take a helicopter view of where you’re currently at and start to create how the future might look.

wish for it on notebook


People often ask me ‘when is the best time to start a diet?’ I don’t like to think of what I do as dieting. Yes, there is a change of eating habits involved when people choose to work with me but my thing is coaching people to make those changes real for them and motivating them to keep on making those small adjustments that will result in big transformations further down the line.

But back to the question. There isn’t any best time to start making changes. Simply, the best time is when you’re ready. This isn’t the same as procrastinating about it. “I’ll make a change when I’ve finished off the last of the Quality Street or when that big birthday party has been and gone or when lockdown finishes or when little Billy goes to big school.” Or whatever.

If that sounds all too familiar, don’t worry. It can seem really tricky to figure out exactly when to start a new healthy eating plan. In fact, I’ll let you into a secret: there is no perfect day to start but there is a secret formula to staying motivated and reaching your goals.

One of the biggest considerations about whether you are going to change the way you eat is that healthy eating will be boring, difficult and anti-social.

The reality is, it’s all about your mindset. You can train your brain to focus on the end goal and all the positives that come with losing weight – looking and feeling great in your clothes, sleeping better, clearer skin, better concentration, boosted libido…

But first, you need to understand WHY you want to make the change. Just wishing things were different is not enough. That’s not very powerful. And is certainly not going to keep you going beyond next Friday.

So ask yourself, what is your real motivation behind wanting to lose weight or eating more healthily?

When you’re filled with motivation, you’ll find it easier to move rapidly towards your goal, and if you can harness that feeling, as well as the ‘why’, you will be able to stay on track when other weight loss attempts have failed.

tape measure on fork


I’d like you to take a bit of time to think about what it is you’d like to change and WHY. What is it you want to change? I’m guessing one thing is weight but what else? What is your goal and, importantly, what is your why? Take one of the goals you have in mind and keep peeling back the layers to get to the REAL meaning for you and the real why. Here are some pointers.

  1. What do you really want? What is preventing you from having it?

  2. Check in with your reasons for wanting this change and ensure they are:

    1. Positive – not negative or fear-based.

    2. Personal – not someone else’s goal for you.

    3. Practical – realistic for your lifestyle.

  1. You will need to reframe in your mind that these changes start with “I must” or “I will”. Any goal with the words “should” or “try is doomed. Just wait a moment while I “try” to give you a million pounds… Still waiting? But do you get that I was really trying? Point made.

  2. Setting yourself a goal to just ‘lose weight’ is not inspirational. But feeling fit, healthy, vital, full of energy and proud of who you are physically is inspirational.

  3. Don’t let past failures drag you down you. If you haven’t succeeded at the game of weight loss before it’s simply that you’ve not attached enough importance making changes. Consider, if your doctor told you tomorrow that if you didn’t make a really big change right now, it would result in immediate pain or certain illness. Pretty much everyone would make that shift instantly. Everyone is capable of extraordinary changes. You must attach the right importance to what you want to change.

  4. Remember you have NOT tried everything. This time you have a new approach and it really works.

  5. Make it fun – change should be exciting, not scary. Don’t think of making these changes as a chore but as a journey of personal, physical and psychological improvement. Focus on how you will feel as you reach each goal.

  6. Take action. Only you can change how you look and feel, so why waste any more time?

A word of warning when you do this exercise, should is not the same as why and the two ought never to be confused. This is because ‘should’ is a bad thing and, on top of that, will not get you the same results. Every time you ‘should’ yourself, you take a step backwards. Whatever the opposite of empowering yourself is, you do that every time you ‘should’ yourself. ‘Should’ makes you feel told off, naughty or bad about yourself, which is never the right mindset to start any new plan at all. You need to want to do it because you have got clear on what the consequences are of staying put.


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