Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Health

Why you don't have to ditch fats, carbs and treats if you want that trim figure

Don't beat yourself up if those 2016 health goals have fallen completely by the wayside. Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, serves up 10 simple solutions to get you back (and keep you) on track, writes Becky Barnes.

Last year saw Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, go from Instagram sensation to one of the most in-demand wellness and weight-loss gurus going - and so far, his success looks set to continue in 2016.

His debut book, Lean In 15, shifted a whopping 77,097 copies in its first week alone, beating the cookery book first week sales record previously held by Delia Smith.

The nutrition coach and personal trainer - who devised his hit 90 Day SSS (shape, shift and sustain) Plan from his bedroom, while trying to boost his profile in an already bulging field - says he is "on a mission to rescue people from the awful dieting industry - I am sick and tired of people struggling on low-calorie diets and meal replacement shakes".

His motto is all about education and knowledge, encouraging people to learn how to eat well and properly, to fuel their bodies so they can maintain a healthy weight without going hungry.

If his social media following is anything to go by, it's a formula that seems to be working - Wicks now boasts more than a million followers across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

To give you a taste of what it's all about, here, 30-year-old Wicks shares 10 top tips for getting - and staying - lean for life.

1. Prep like a boss

"You've got to prep like a boss, which means preparing your own meals, so when you're leaving the house, you've got your lunch and your dinner sorted."

2. Drink more water

"A lot of people don't drink enough water, and a hydrated body burns more fat, so try and drink two to four litres a day."

3. Do hit cardio

"Twenty minutes a day, four to five days a week. It's high-intensity training and you're going to burn loads of calories."

4. Eat more fats

"A lot of people are frightened of fats, they don't eat butter and eggs and saturated fats because they think it's unhealthy and you've got to cut it out, but it's actually really, really good for you."

5. Don't fear carbs

"Everyone that's starting a diet is like, 'Low-carbs - cut the carbs, can't eat that', but you can eat carbs. You've got to eat them at the right time, so if you like bread, pasta, bagels whatever, you've got to eat it after you train to refuel."

6. Plan like a winner

"That basically means plan your meals into the week ahead. So you could get a little seven-day planner and you can write what you're going to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Little things like that may seem a bit silly, but it's practical and if you follow it, it's much easier to sustain."

7. Throw away the sad step

"The 'sad step' is what I call the scales, because I have seen people in the gym and they look really happy, they've just done a workout, they walk to the 'sad step', they stand on it, and they are just like, 'Hmm', because the 'sad step' doesn't move and it's just depressing. So get rid of the 'sad step'."

8. Take before and after pictures

"You can keep them for yourself, but it's a really great way of seeing your progress over time, as opposed to looking in the mirror and thinking, 'I haven't changed, I look exactly the same', but really you probably have, you just don't know it."

9. Get your store cupboard essentials

"In the book, it talks about products that you need that you can have in your house at any one time, to make really healthy meals on the go. So you've got things like curry powder, coconut milk, Thai green curry paste, chillis and eggs (great for making omelettes). So if you get store cupboard essentials like that, you can always make a healthy meal."

10. Allow yourself SOME treats

"Don't be afraid to get a bit guilty on the weekends. If you like having a drink and if you like treating yourself to a little tub of ice cream, it's fine - you know - moderation, balance.

Lean In 15 is a lifestyle, it's not me saying, 'You've got to eat this way', it's just me trying to encourage you to take control, prepare your own food, and you're going to feel great. Nutrition's about feeling good, you need to have treats."

Lean In 15: 15 Minute Meals And Workouts To Keep You Lean And Healthy by Joe Wicks is published by Bluebird, £14.99. To find out more about The Body Coach and his plan, visit

Four well-known faces talk about their health

'I never drink coffee and have lots of water'

Frank Mitchell (53) presents the Frank Mitchell Phone-In on U105 radio. He lives in Belfast with his wife Helena and his daughter Laura (23). He says:

My grandmother introduced me to porridge years ago and I've loved it ever since. It's only recently that I've discovered that it has lots of health benefits like beating cholesterol. I would happily eat it for two meals.

My diet was atrocious in my 20s - I worked all sorts of hours and drank lots of cups of sugary tea. At once stage I was eating five bars of chocolate a day or more. I've almost banished chocolate from my diet now and only have it rarely.

I try to have a balanced diet now and have not eaten meat since 1988 after I watched a documentary about hamburger production.

My doctor recommended that I eat more fish, so I've started doing that recently. I never drink coffee and have lots of water.

I used to play Gaelic, but these days I like to walk. I take my two fox terrier dogs all over the countryside with me."

'I try to exercise for 30 minutes every day'

Denise Watson (44) is a presenter and sports journalist for UTV and U105. She lives in Lisburn with her husband David Watson and they have two daughters, Samantha (11) and Beth (7). She says:

All my life, I've never been a skinny person so I don't beat myself up about my shape.

I actually found a guy on one of the Sky health channels called Ian Marber - he's also known as the Food Doctor.

At the time he was doing a programme called The Food Doctor's 10 Principles of Healthy Living and I started to follow that. The plan involves eating what you like as long as you stick to the regime 80% of the time.

He advocates a low glycemic index that doesn't spike your blood sugar and recommends drinking lots of water.

Following the Food Doctor's programme has helped me form some really healthy habits. Previously, I skipped breakfast but now I will have porridge.

Drinking water is also part of my daily routine and I try to move for at least 30 minutes every day.

That can be something as simple as going for a walk at lunchtime."

'Personal trainer has made a big difference'

Carrie Neely (40) is an art consultant and director of Art Loves Ltd. She lives in Belfast with her husband Rob and three children, Jaxon (8), Marley (6) and Nainsi (4). She says:

Before I never dieted , but I did decide to make some lifestyle changes not long after my 40th birthday last year. A friend of mine newly qualified as a personal trainer and I asked her for a few sessions. I've always exercised anyway but I can tell that my body shape has changed since working with a trainer once a week when I do a mixture of yoga, pilates and strength work.

I try to have a healthy, balanced diet and I watch what I eat. I don't eat bread, have limited pasta and only brown rice, so I go for protein rather than carbs. A typical breakfast is poached eggs and then lots of salads with good fats such as avocado and protein like meat or fish. Fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds are all part of my diet too. Despite this, I don't deny myself - if I go out for dinner then I still have a three-course meal and there are always late night Doritos. I still want to have a few glasses of wine and some dark chocolate every now and again."

'My advice is to eat less and move more'

Tracey Hall (48) is the director of Style Academy Model Agency.

She lives in Hillsborough with her husband Stefan Rodgers. She says:

I think I've tried just about every diet there is - particularly when I was in my 20s and wanting to fit into a particular outfit.

I've been to Weight Watchers and Unislim, I've done Atkins and the 5:2 diet.

The best advice in my opinion though, is to eat less and move more - that is what I tell all the girls at the Style Academy.

Nowadays I cook everything from scratch and follow a plan by a nutritionist called Ru Anderson who has written a book called High Performance Living.

It's all about tasty recipes that are healthy and full of protein.

When it comes to carbs, I eat them twice a day instead of three, and if I still feel hungry at 10pm, then I will have something else.

It's a great plan because I enjoy what I'm eating and it feels effortless.

My husband Stefan is a personal trainer, so I do his spin class once a week and then weight train three times a week."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph