Lean for Life – Method by Louise Parker

Personal trainer Louise Parker is the secret weapon of Hollywood stars, international sportsmen and even royalty. To train personally with her team costs £4,500 for six weeks, to train with Louise herself is by application only – and she only takes three clients at a time, so you’ll find there’s a queue.

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The rules of The Method: Louise’s ‘Four Pillars’

Think successfully. Believing that because you’ve failed in the past you can’t succeed now reduces resolve; Louise calls it ‘Stinking thinking’ – when you fall off the wagon once and then blow it completely. She gets clients to see losing and maintaining weight as a dance. ‘Stay in the inner circle – if you go outside it’s just for a step or two, then jump right back in.’
Live well: ‘Lifestyle habits are the glue that makes the other pillars stand the test of time,’ she says. ‘Key to this is managing stress and sleeping well as these affect the hormones that support weight loss.’ Louise suggests 20-minute ‘brain naps’ where you take a break from everything by walking outside, gardening or just having a short rest.
Eat beautifully: Louise recommends having three meals and two snacks per day, each containing unprocessed foods and a good mix of protein, low-GI carbohydrates and fat in portion sizes that create a calorie deficit. Alcohol is banned. Use the best ingredients, make meals look as fabulous as possible and eat with ceremony at a table.
Work out intelligently: ‘Simply put, you move more. You become an active person who exercises every day as time-efficiently as possible without having to rely on a gym,’ says Louise. In reality this means racking up at least 10,000 steps and 15 minutes of one of her toning workouts daily, using large muscle groups to burn the most energy in minimum time.

Louise’s top tips

Know why you’re doing everything. When you understand what an action, a thought or a food does to your body it becomes much easier to follow the right advice.

There’s a huge difference between “clean eating” and “lean eating”. Just because a food is whole, raw or organic doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. A wheat-free, gluten-free chocolate cake is still a cake. If you’re eating more calories from foods than your body needs, it will still turn into fat. I’d skip the gluten-free date bar and save calories for a sticky toffee pudding on Sunday.

Think in ink: visualise goals and define them by writing them down. It’s not a goal until it’s written down.
The first thing we teach clients who regard themselves as having failed with weight loss in the past is that it was the diet that failed, not them. If a plan is unsustainable it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got the greatest willpower on earth, the diet will fail eventually. Also, I get a lot of people coming in saying, “Well, X worked for me,” and I think, “Well, it didn’t or you wouldn’t be here.” You must let go of old ideas.
If you’re thinking of going on any kind of eating plan ask yourself two things: can I see myself doing 80 per cent of this in five years’ time, and would I want my teenage daughter to follow it? If deep down the answer to either is no, don’t even go there.

HEALTH ADVICE | Louise Parker, celebrity personal trainer, on why age is no object
• ‘I do not buy into the idea that you have to be fatter at 60 than you are at 20,’ says Louise. ‘Yes, it’s fractionally harder to lose weight as you get older – if I’m going to get three dress sizes off someone I’d estimate it’ll take me about three weeks longer for a 50-year-old than a 20-year-old, but it will come off.’

• ‘The fact is we lose muscle mass with age if we don’t use it – drastic dieting, insufficient protein and being inactive will also eat away at muscle. You can regain muscle at any age, though, if you eat a little protein at each meal and exercise in ways that promote its growth.’

• ‘It’s also a myth that if you do lose weight as you age you look drawn. That used to be the case when we followed low-fat diets and starved ourselves slim, but if you eat nutritiously, include healthy fats as part of your plan and stay well hydrated your skin won’t suffer.’

• ‘We can divide people in life into “uppers and downers” – surround yourself with “uppers” and limit contact with the “downers”. If someone does say something negative, remember: it often reflects more on their own issues than any true facts about yourself.’