Hey Hayley,

Over the past year and a half I have developed horrendous eating habits - mainly a consequence of taking the easy option, takeaways and also medium to high calorie lunches at work. Over the past month or so I have reduced takeaway orders and reduced the fizzy drinks again and also stopped with the mid-week-evening-junk-food-binge (crisps are my weakness). Essentially, I put on a stone and a half in weight and half the time I'm used to it but mostly I hate myself for letting myself go like this. I know that psychologically it's mostly because I'm not happy in my career and also love life (or lack of one - aren't the 20s supposed to be the time of your life?) And partly, laziness! The thing is, I used to love to cook but now even when I do, it's usually the same dishes over and over; vegetarian pasta or fajitas.

I've started off with one exercise class a week but meal-wise I'm slack. Can you please help me kick start an eating plan...any suggestions please on budget healthy eating recipes/website/cookbooks. I'm 26 by the way and based in England, UK.

Best wishes,


I’m not sure what else I can say but you need to stop with the excuses and you need to kick-start your healthy lifestyle! You need to be the one that wants to make change and you are the only one who can make change. It takes time and it takes sacrifice but if it is something that you truly want then you can do it.

I want to share with you how I look at my own weight gain. I never “hate myself” if I put on weight because it does not change the person that I am. But in my world, weight gain symbolizes that I am not taking care of myself, so I hate myself for that. It is not the fat that I hate but the life I am living that I hate. Usually weight gain symbolizes too much drinking, not enough sleep, not enough exercise, too much work and not investing enough time into myself and my health.

My best friend moved to London a year and a half ago (and I was just there to be her maid of honour at her wedding). As a west coast born and raised girl like myself she was used to living a life that was spent filling her body with healthy, fresh, organic foods and spending her spare time being active in the amazing outdoor playground we have here in Vancouver.

When she moved to London she became accustomed to the London life: too much time at work, too much time in pubs and not nearly enough time being active. The result – she gained weight. It did not take her long though to make change and she and her now-husband have committed to making more time for themselves and investing it into their health. Weeknights are now spent cooking healthy meals at home and weekends are spent finding new places to explore and be outside. Recently she was just accepted into the London Marathon, something that she never dreamt of doing.

What does she have to do with you? She is a perfect example that change can be made. You already are on the right track by emailing me and starting to make change in your life with the exercise classes. Keep building on that. Continue to challenge yourself every week to push a little harder. Make time for yourself to prepare healthy meal plans, shop for and prepare healthy foods and to exercise. Go to bed earlier, drink more water and find friends who will get involved and change with you as it is always easier to do this with someone by your side. Don’t waste time searching for cookbooks. Learn the basics of cooking and then have fun experimenting.

There is no magic answer. You simply need to keep your fridge full of healthy, washed and prepared fruits and vegetables; you need to keep your pantry stocked with healthy grains; you need to keep healthy snacks readily available when you are in a bind (almonds are my favourite or a piece of fruit); you need to stop eating out and prepare your lunches at home and keep the junk food out of your house as if it is not easily available you will not eat it.

Start small, set daily goals and commit to making one change a week, but only you can make this happen.

Thanks for your question and keep me updated. For all you other smutty fitness readers, keep your questions coming to [email protected].

Attached – Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth hit the gym together.