Joanne Henson, owner of WYE Publishing (the ‘Whats Your Excuse Series’), Health, Fitness and Wellness Coach and Author stepped away from her super-fit lifestyle on 15th September to talk to me about her businesses’, her inspiration and her books…well thats what I told her anyway…as you’ll know by now I prefer more off the wall questions!

I’ve collaborated with Joanne in producing audio versions of her two books “What’s Your Excuse for Not Getting Fit” and “Whats Your Excuse for Not Eating Healthily” now available as audiobooks on Amazon, Audible and iTunes,

The audiobooks act like a lifestyle coach in your ear, identifying and encouraging you to set aside your excuses and temptation whenever you feel the urge – whether you are on the sofa, train, bus, reaching for that chocolate biscuit or driving away from the gym!

Joanne has a unique vision in respect of self-help books which enable the reader or listener to think about what it is they wish to achieve from their endeavours, identify a goal and their excuses for NOT reaching that goal and then assist them in a most common sense way to achieve the result they desire in a way that works for them.

As a yo-yo dieter and gym-hater myself I also drew some hope and inspiration from both books, particularly about some of the well-worn myths to do with weight-loss, exercise and the type of food we should eat…and I thought I knew it all!

Whilst narrating the books it became clear to me that Joanne not only speaks both from a position of personal experience and maturity but also as a women whose strength of purpose allowed her to change jobs and set up two businesses on her own.

Thats the sort of life coach I want! – Lets delve a little deeper into Joanne’s journey

Joanne, Whats Your Excuse?

Ha ha! Before I got my relationship with food sorted out my favourite excuses were “I’m starting again on Monday” to excuse eating everything in sight from Friday to Sunday, and “I’ll just burn it off in the gym” to give myself permission to eat yet another treat. In fact it was that second one which eventually caused me to take myself in hand, when I realised there just weren’t any more hours in the week in which to burn off all the food I was eating, so I had to change how I ate.

I use different stalling techniques now, and they mainly involve procrastination. I can spend hours organising my to-do list without actually doing anything on it!

Is it best to create your own solutions rather than to be told what to do?

It’s definitely best to create your own solution. That’s why I think coaching works so well, as it supports the client in coming up with their own answers.

I’ve worked with lots of client who have tried every diet under the sun, and every one of those diets have worked in the short term. But after the first few weeks it becomes more difficult to follow because it’s a one-size-fits-all plan which someone else has devised. People put their life on hold to shop for and cook specific dishes and obscure “clean eating” foods, and they can only do that for so long.

So I believe the best way to bring about lasting change is to make small changes gradually until they add up to one big change. This takes longer, results are slower, and some changes don’t quite fit and then a rethink is required, but eventually you’ll arrive at a healthier lifestyle which suits you as an individual.

My books are all about helping readers to do this, by identifying the problem areas which need tackling – the ones that pop up in the form of excuses – and suggesting ideas to overcome them, which might also inspire readers to come up with ideas of their own.

I love chocolate and good wine…do you have a guilty pleasure?

Wine, most definitely! But I don’t feel guilty about it! I made a deal with myself a long time ago that I could enjoy wine if I tidied up everything else in my diet, and it’s well worth foregoing a dessert or a side order of fries in order that I can enjoy a few glasses of wine. There’s no need to give up everything you love, just prioritise what you want to keep in your diet and clean up the rest.

I’m a potential Client, you offer to speak to me on Skype – I tell you I’m overweight but I don’t think I eat excessively and I think I exercise enough because I walk my dog for 2 hours a day and run around after my kids….what advice might you give me?

Well, if you’d signed up with me I’d know something wasn’t right!

I usually start off by asking new clients to talk me through a typical eating day. Usually I get a list of breakfast, lunch, dinner…and then I say “and any snacks?” You’d be surprised at how snacks get “forgotten”. Also food stolen from a partner’s plate (usually chips!), food finished off from the kid’s plates, the food eaten while cooking and the food eaten straight from the fridge – the first step to taking control of your diet is actually acknowledging everything you are eating!

When people ask, “Am I exercising enough?” I often ask whether it is delivering the results they want. If it is, then yes it’s enough, but often it isn’t, and then it’s a case of finding something which will deliver the results. It might mean a complete rethink, but if you’re going to find the time to exercise you may as well choose the right activity for your goals, and make it something you enjoy.

What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

All I ever wanted to do was move to London! (I grew up in Nottingham) I didn’t care what I did there, as long as I was living there, I honestly thought it looked like the best city in the world. I moved here in my early twenties and I am pleased to say it’s been everything I hoped it would be.

You handle the issue of being over-weight and very over weight very sensitively and imaginatively in both books and give a number of very common sense and workable solutions

Have you ever been overweight yourself or suffered from low self-esteem due to the inability to do exercise or team sports ‘properly and competitively’?

I was a yo-yo dieter for 20 years, losing and gaining between a stone and a stone and a half each time. For long time I had clothes in three different sizes in my wardrobe. When I got down to a weight I liked I wouldn’t throw out the bigger clothes because subconsciously I knew I’d be wearing them again within a year. That whole yo-yo cycle is so damaging to your self-esteem: you hate yourself at your heaviest and you’re punishing yourself when you’re dieting.

In terms of exercise I was always the last to be picked for the school sports teams. I have very little spatial awareness and am not very coordinated, which made me rubbish at sports. PE at school was torture for me, as I was constantly letting the team down.

So I’ve had my struggles with food and fitness. I actually changed my relationship with exercise before I changed my relationship with food – I found myself sharing a house with someone who liked to exercise for fitness and not as sport, and she taught me that I could exercise just for myself and not to compete with other people. I also realised that there were activities I could do alone, which didn’t require me to catch a ball or outrun someone. I started my fitness journey as a swimmer, and then progressed on to other things as I got more confident about what my body could do. I’m still rubbish at racket sports but I’m pretty strong in the weights room these days!

Crash Diets and 4 Week Get Fit Quick Regimes – your views?

Being fit and well seems to have become a separate ‘thing’ from everyday life. Do you believe this is a product of promises made by quick fix diets and exercise regimes.

Just say no, no no!!! I am 100% against crash diets. They never, ever work in the long term, and they foster low self-esteem and a poor relationship with food.

People start them and get all excited that they are losing weight quickly. Actually they are starving themselves on tiny amounts of food each day. There’s no magic to particular foods, shakes, detoxes or supplements – they’re all just different ways to starve yourself.

Then after a few days or weeks or even months, the willpower runs out. To be honest I am often surprised when people make it beyond the first day as the regimes look so grim, but some of them do manage to put their lives on hold to stick with it for a short while. But inevitably they can’t put their lives on hold forever and they aren’t learning moderation so when they lapse, they lapse big time. Unfortunately they then don’t blame the ridiculous diet but instead blame themselves for having no willpower, and so the beating themselves up begins as they return back to their original weight. I hate to see friends and clients stuck in this horrible cycle.

Interestingly I read a book recently about men who survived a shipwreck in the eighteenth century, but they got very close to starving to death in a tiny lifeboat before they were rescued. One of the men years later said that he never ever recovered from the feeling of hunger and he overate for the rest of his life. An extreme example, but I do think that when you’re constantly trying to starve yourself on crash diets it’s going to seriously affect your relationship with food.

You say in your books that you used to do a job you hated and suffered from a great deal of stress. You give excellent advice on how to deal with this in your books.

What was your own ‘light-bulb’ moment?

I suddenly realised I didn’t like the person I’d become. I was working so hard I didn’t have time to have a social life, and on the odd occasion I did manage to go out I had nothing interesting to say as I did nothing but work. I looked in the mirror and I looked miserable and ill. I wasn’t eating properly and I was putting on weight which I didn’t have the mental energy to think about losing. I had no joy in my life. I knew that I was the only person who could change my situation, so I did.

What gave you the idea of identifying excuses and dealing with them on a practical level, then setting up WYE?

When I started coaching I heard the same excuses over and over again from my clients, and I realised that they were actually using them to abdicate responsibility for making changes, and so staying stuck in a rut they actually desperately wanted to escape from.

The key to making positive changes is to take responsibility for your own happiness – no one is going to change your life for you! So I wrote my two books to help people do that.

Then as I chatted to people about the concept I realised that it could be applied to all areas of personal development – money, career, relationships, time management, etc – and so the series was born!

You now have seven WYE publications with an eighth due this month Whats next for Joanne Henson?

There are still quite a few more topics I want to cover in the series – I have a list of over 20 potential titles and I am always open to new ideas from potential authors.

In terms of personal plans, after the launch party for the next book, “Being More Productive”, in early September, I am taking two weeks off work – the longest break I’ve had for a few years. I am off to Cornwall with my partner and will be practicing one of the excuses from my books as I eat Cornish pasties and cream teas – “I’m on holiday”. But if you’re eating well and exercising for 50 weeks of the year you can get away with that when you’re on holiday – it’s all about balance!

‘Whats Your Excuse for Not Getting Fit’ and ‘What’s Your Excuse for Not Eating Healthily’ are available on Amazon, iTunes and Audible to purchase as a book or audiobook.

Just click on the books below or on the Home page of this website to listen to a sample and purchase your ‘new start’ – whats your excuse not to?

To learn more about Joanne you can visit her Website  Facebook Page  Twitter Feed  Amazon  Author Page , connect on LinkedIn or get in touch directly.

Email: joanne@joannehenson.co.uk

Check out these other WYE Books to assist with overcoming your excuses… 

What’s Your Excuse for Not Getting Fit? What’s Your Excuse for Not Eating Healthily?
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