Weight Loss without Deprivation
This month on Forever Fierce, we have dedicated each show to the theme of “A New Year and a Fierce New You.” I couldn’t be more delighted to introduce you to an active member of the Forever Fierce Team, my sister from Down Under, Wendy Hodge. Wendy is beautifully open and authentic about her personal journey to wellness. She has developed a unique health and wellness program called, “The Healthy Normal Revolution.” Her program isn’t a “diet” and it revolves around teaching people to develop a healthy lifestyle without deprivation. Welcome, Wendy!
CGO: Wendy, you have a fabulous website that is centered around helping others develop a healthy lifestyle that’s easy to follow. What inspired you to create “The Healthy Normal Revolution?”
WH: The Healthy Normal Revolution has really been a natural progression as my business evolved to meet my desire to serve more people. When I first started Wendy’s Way to Health in 2014, I was coaching clients one-on-one, both in person and online, to achieve their weight loss goals and make healthy changes. As much as I loved it, I realised at the beginning of 2016 that to reach more people without burning out, I needed a different business model. This led me to create a digital version of my one-on-one process: that’s the E-Guide I sell on the website. It’s a step by step how-to and it contains all of the necessary reports, forms, fact sheets etc. as downloads and printables. While this was a great solution, I found that I missed the human contact! Then I came across the membership site concept and I instantly knew it was the ideal way to combine the two. That put me on a crazy, steep learning curve and in January 2017, I launched The Healthy Normal Revolution.
CGO: You talk about being tired of the “BS and confusion” surrounding weight loss and constant dieting that sets people up to fail. What did you find works for you to help your clients with simplicity and consistency?
WH: I realize, now, that I was very fortunate in my earlier years. I dabbled with diet plans more out of curiosity than a need to lose weight. I’ve been fit and active for most of my life. I found that I only gained an uncomfortable amount of weight when I lived in the UK for a few years. This was due to an unhealthy lifestyle. My husband Jayson and I worked together running pubs. This meant working crazy hours, not eating properly, not exercising and drinking too much!
When we came home to Australia, I knew I needed to reevaluate my lifestyle and make some changes. I didn’t want to return to the route of dieting as I’d tried a few different diets while we were in the UK. What I discovered was they were only a temporary fix. I lost weight when I was on the diet and then regained it as soon as I went back to my normal eating habits. I know most women can relate. Not to mention that I’ve never been a fan of the deprivation and restrictions most diets require.
I took action and developed a regular exercise habit. I cut out most of the junk food that had taken over my regular diet. I found that cutting back on wine and eating mostly home cooked meals worked for me. I learned that a common sense and moderate approach was the key to maintaining a healthy body. It was around this time that I discovered Precision Nutrition. Everything they teach just makes sense to me. Eating the right balance of mostly whole foods, cooking the majority of your own meals and exercising regularly is a powerful combination. Making changes one step at a time adds to a series of small wins and leads to significant progress over time. That’s all most people need.
CGO: There are countless weight loss programs out there. Your plan isn’t a quick fix or diet solution. How does your program work where many other diets and temporary solutions seem to fail?
WH: It works because it’s based on a proven system. I completed my Precision Nutrition certification in 2014 and I update my certification every two years as required to remain current. I also improve my knowledge by constantly reading, learning, and researching. Without understanding nutrition science and how our bodies work, you’re really only guessing. There are new claims in the headlines almost every day and I totally understand why people get confused and frustrated. I used to as well! Nowadays, I help my members decide what’s real and what will actually work for them. I don’t simply jump on a fad because it’s the latest trend, or believe what I read because it’s all over social media. I check it out thoroughly to see if there’s real evidence to back up the claims being made.
CGO: What has been the most difficult part of your personal journey?
WH: Accepting that to keep ourselves healthy these days, we need to question almost everything and know what to look out for. A big eye opener for me was going on a supermarket tour a few years ago with a local nutritionist. That’s when I learned about the foods with ‘healthy’ marketing labels that aren’t actually healthy. We need to know where our food comes from and what’s in it. As you know, I believe in balance and moderation. Take sugar for example. I’m definitely not anti sugar; sugar’s wonderful in the right amounts and I think it has a place in a balanced diet. But you can’t eat a healthy amount of sugar if you’re not aware of all of the sources and types of added sugars in your diet.
CGO: It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of perseverance to succeed. What are some of the obstacles along the way you may not have expected?
WH: Marketing, promotion and just generally getting my message out has been (and still is) my biggest obstacle! I’m telling people what they know deep down, but don’t really want to hear: that long term change is a slow process and something you have to keep working at. Sadly, that doesn’t sound as sexy or enticing as a pill or program promising rapid weight loss. The majority of my members have already tried numerous fad diets and quick fixes before they find The Healthy Normal Revolution. I’d love for that to be different and I do think that future generations will look back and wonder what we were thinking. But, at the moment, we’re still a long way from widespread change in the diet and weight loss industry.
CGO: Share with us the key components of your program and what a new member can expect to receive in the way of benefits?
WH: The main component of the program is the Healthy Living Course. This incorporates a series of videos that take you step by step through the process of making changes, goal setting, recording progress and results, dealing with obstacles along the way, mindful eating, portion control and establishing good habits.
The recipe library has simple meals that are easy to make. As it’s not ‘diet’ food, my members don’t follow a specific plan. They learn that everyone is different and we need to create an individual long term healthy eating plan.
The training section has workouts that members can do at home and short videos for ideas and inspiration so they can design their own workouts. The resources section contains all of the forms, reports, fact sheets, workouts etc in downloadable and printable formats. There’s a motivation library with quotes and memes and short video tips for staying on track and inspired. There’s also a section with case studies and expert interviews giving tips and general inspiration. Finally, there’s a discussion forum for members to ask questions, get help, chat with me and with each other. It’s all very well and good knowing what to do, but people get stuck with the actual follow through.
CGO: What’s been the best part of your personal journey to health and wellness and staying committed to living a healthy lifestyle?
WH: I really feel like the eating component is easy because my everyday diet is full of the foods I love. Since I learned not to label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ I don’t feel as though I have to ‘stick to’ a strict plan. Giving myself permission to eat and enjoy treats (in moderation) is a big deal for me. I also love that I feel stronger now than I’ve ever been. I’ve had my ups and downs with strength training over the years, but I’m super committed to it now that I know how important it is as we age.
CGO: What are some of the unique challenges to women of midlife going through things such as menopause? What are some of your recommendations or personal strategies to succeed in your goals as a woman over 50?
WH: I think one of the biggest challenges women face as they go through menopause is feeling betrayed or let down by their bodies with all of the changes that are happening. Dealing with mood swings, hot flashes, irregular periods, night sweats and disruptive sleep are bad enough. Then, add the sudden weight gain into the mix and it can be disconcerting. This might sound like a cliche, but the best thing we can do is be kinder to ourselves and find ways to nurture our bodies through the changes rather than waging war on our bodies. Eating healthy food, exercising and self-care are more important than ever, but not in a way that feels like deprivation or punishment. My personal philosophy is living by the ethos that you’re only as old as you feel. I love trying new things and accomplishing fitness challenges. I competed in triathlons and half marathons throughout my 30’s and I’m interested in trying an obstacle course race in the future. I certainly don’t feel too old to do what I want, personally and in business. Oh, and I also like to say “never say never!”
CGO: You’re a dedicated and admired member of the Forever Fierce Team. What does it mean to you to be Forever Fierce?
WH: I love being part of the Forever Fierce team and connecting with so many amazing women from all around the world. For me, Forever Fierce means being true to yourself, standing up for what you believe in and for the rights of others who may not be able to speak for themselves.
CGO: Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us, Wendy. You are an amazing role model of a woman who walks the talk of a healthy lifestyle.
You can find Catherine Grace O’Connell at CatherineGraceO. She is on Facebook, and Instagram and Twitter as @catherinegraceo. Tune in to the all video live show Forever Fierce Podcast at 2 PM EST/11 AM PST on LA TalkRadio Video Channel by browser or App, or listen/download as a podcast on her website archive, iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play Music. You can find out more about Forever Fierce on Facebook and joining the Revolution by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.