With many of us leading sedentary lives, our physical health has been put on the back burner while we try to push through mentally.
But now many people are attempting to shift the Covid kilos and diet consultant Joanne Collins stresses the importance of dieting and exercising in a sensible and scientifically-effective way.
She is an advocate of the 1:1 diet – also known as the Cambridge Weight Loss plan – after she lost six stones in six months. Joanne admits losing weight helped change her life, her relationship with her family and work. Now she is a diet coach and wants to help others transform their lives.
‘Losing weight is a really sensitive subject and people want to lose weight for a variety of reasons. It’s about caring and respecting yourself enough to make a change,’ says Joanne, from Fareham.
‘There’s no point in being strict and cross with people. They know they need to lose weight otherwise they wouldn’t visit us.’
Joanne knows first-hand the effects weight gain has on mental health. She recalls a vivid turning point in her life when she was on holiday with her husband and two children.
‘I remember we were by the pool and I was so embarrassed to put a swimsuit on. My two boys and my husband were having fun in the pool but I didn’t want to join in because I was too self-conscious.
‘I was looking at my husband and knew I should have been helping him with the boys. I was knocking on 18 stone at this point and I was mortified with how I looked. I think that’s when it really hit home.’
Joanne, who was working as a general manager at a hotel at the time, says her lifestyle did not suit healthy choices.
She explains: ‘I had quite an unhealthy relationship with food. I am a trained chef so I knew how to cook and knew all about healthy meals, but it was about convenience for me. I would go into the petrol station and pick up a couple of chocolate bars to eat on the way home.
‘A lot of my job was spent at a desk so I wasn’t moving a lot either. I would come home, exhausted and either order a takeaway or make a lovely spag bol which was piled high with cheese before going to bed an hour later.’
Joanne did not fancy joining weight-loss groups, such as Weight Watchers or Slimming World. It was by chance she found a diet consultant and her first appointment changed her outlook.
‘A friend of a friend needed help with a website at the same time and she happened to be a diet consultant. I thought it was right up my street because she would be able to give me individual support and choose the right plan for me.
‘I lost six stone in six months.
‘These 1:1 diets are backed by biochemists and science. We have a lot of doctors and nurses coming to us because they know it works medically.
‘There’s a different plan for everyone and it suits every walk of life.’
This triggered a career change for Joanne, who became a diet coach in 2017. Working out of her Sarisbury Green office, she sees about 90 clients each week, ranging in age from 18 to 82.
She says: ‘I went to a Diet 1:1 conference in 2016 and thought it was going to be a load of tosh but I was blown away. There were a number of health experts and professors talking about the science behind it and it was really useful.
‘I had a few clients at the beginning and then mums at school had noticed my weight loss and that I had kept it off. I had 20 clients in the first four weeks.
‘Four years later I now manage about 50 people in my team who work across the south coast. I have helped thousands of people lose weight now. I have clients across the country, from London and Manchester to the Isle of Wight.
‘I think I would look back and laugh if someone told me this was going to be my job. But I am completely meant to do this. The skills I have transferred from my old career, such as being good with people and working in a team, has really helped me.’
Revealing her biggest tip to kickstarting a weight-loss journey, Joanne says: ‘Portion sizes are the biggest thing of all. It’s important to get moving and it doesn’t matter how small the walk is. It all helps.’
What is The 1:1 Diet?
The 1:1 Diet was founded by Dr Alan Howard in the 1960s.
Dr Howard was an English nutritionist who studied natural sciences, nurition and immunology.
While in the Department of Medicine at Cambridge University, Howard's team ran a ‘lipid clinic’ at Addenbrookes Hospital between 1973 and 1980.
He collaborated with Ian MacLean Baird, then a consultant at West Middlesex Hospital, to devise a low-calorie diet formula for morbidly obese patients. This was initially named ‘Howard's Diet’. It was later marketed as The Cambridge Diet.
In 1982, Howard and family members formed Cambridge Nutrition Limited in the UK. From 1985 to the late 1980s, Howard supervised the commercial marketing of the Cambridge Diet in the UK and other European countries.
The Cambridge Diet Plan is supported by research. A new Oxford University study revealed participants in their trial lost an average of one and a half stones on The 1:1 Diet compared to those who were referred for nurse-led care, who lost an average of half a stone emphasising the importance of one-to-one support.
To get in touch with Joanne Collins, email [email protected]