She’s been credited with helping James Corden, Sam Smith and Boy George slim down. But can nutritionist to the stars, Amelia Freer transform your plate, too?
Amelia Freer knew things had to change in her mid-twenties when she was working as Personal Assistant to the Prince of Wales. While she loved her job, her lifestyle – and poor diet in particular – meant evenings were spent exhausted on the sofa binge-eating carbs.
‘I wasn’t overweight but I wasn’t healthy either’, Amelia says in the introduction to her recently published book, Eat, Nourish, Glow: 10 Easy Steps For Losing Weight, Looking Younger and Feeling Healthier (£16.99; Harper Collins).
‘I felt exhausted all the time…I also suffered from terrible Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and my skin would still break out into what looked like teenage acne.
‘Recurrent colds and infections, shingles and low mood took hold’, she explains. ‘I was a mess!’
A subsequent trip to a nutritionist made all the difference for Amelia. ‘As the nutrionist explained the effects food can have on our body functions, a flame light inside me and I knew I needed to learn about this for myself.’
After training as a nutritionist, Amelia set up her own dietary practice. She’s now credited with helping various household names get to grips with what they’re eating to lose weight and keep it off.
Her appointment book might be jam-packed for the foreseeable future, but here are 5 tricks she uses every time a new client walks through the door…
1. Identify what kind of eater you are
Are you the ‘beige food rut dieter’ who relies on carbohydrates to keep them going? If every meal consists of bread, pasta or rice then you probably fall in to this category and need to swap stodge for ‘colourful vegetables’.
Or maybe you’re the ’80’s dieter’ – constantly counting calories, buying diet foods and scoffing on low-fat foods in a bid to slim down, but instead inhaling a huge amount of sugar every time you pick up a spoon or fork. Time to ditch the white stuff!
Amelia recommends keeping a food diary for two weeks to see where you’re going wrong.
James Corden is one of the celebrities Amelia Freer has helped to slim down – and stay there
2. Listen to your gut
‘When it comes to deciding what to give up, your gut is one of the best indicators’, Amelia says. ‘It can really guide us as to what we thrive on and what makes us under par.’
Many people pay little or no attention to what’s going on in the gut, but as
the body’s ‘second brain’ it can tell you exactly where you’re going
‘If you eat bread and bloat or dairy makes you gassy, there’s your answer.’
That’s why Amelia always focuses on gut health during her initial consultation with a new client.
3. Detox your kitchen
‘A disorganised, junk-filled kitchen leads the very best intentions astray’, Amelia says. ‘So it’s essential to prepare your kitchen for success.’
And that means being ruthless. ‘I’m very strict that you throw ALL junk away’, she explains. ‘Yes, it’s wasteful to throw food away but you are not a human dustbin.
‘Fill your bin with this junk, not your body.’
She recommends throwing away all breakfast cereals, canned meals, salad dressings, yoghurt and margarine. Her book contains a ‘re-stocking list’ – this is the food shopping list that she sends every new client away with.
4. Then detox your desk
That ’emergency snack’ you keep hidden in your desk drawer isn’t doing you any favours.
‘Don’t keep sugary snacks in the drawers – no matter how much you tuck them away out of sight, you will inevitably reach for them the moment you feel stressed’, Amelia says.
‘Although I’m not a fan of snacking’, she says. ‘I suggest nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and raw organic seed bars.’
Don’t forget to keep your water levels topped up during the day too, but her most important piece of advice for desk-dwellers?
‘Make a bottle of salad dressing with olive oil and apple cider vinegar each month. This will liven up your lunch and keep you away from sugary, artificial flavourings like salad creams.’
5. Don’t give food a label
Amelia believes that seeing some foods, such as salad, as ‘good’ and others, like a plate of chips, as ‘bad’ or a ‘treat’ reinforces bad eating habits.
‘[Believing] that salad is a good, but rather boring food that you eat when you’re being disciplined and virtuous, whereas chips are bad, but delicious and tasty…makes them more alluring because [they are] forbidden.’
‘Instead of labelling food, see it for what it is – a way of nourishing you, of making you healthier, stronger, happier and more energised. Make every bite work for you – not against you.’