Many fans watching her on screen may have believed that Louise Thompson, one of the stars of glitzy reality TV show Made in Chelsea, lived something of a charmed existence. But behind the scenes, she was batting with crippling anxiety, toxic relationships and unhealthy choices – and something needed to change.
‘I had reached the stage where I needed to take charge of my mental and physical health,’ Louise admits. ‘Addressing how I eat and exercise has been a major factor. While I can’t attribute all of the improvements I feel now to that, a great deal of my new-found happiness and confidence is down to changing these elements of my lifestyle.’
Now, she’s sharing her wisdom with her followers in her new book, Live Well With Louise, which includes her favourite home workouts, tips for self-care and the delicious recipes she loves.
Where did the inspiration for Live Well with Louise come from?
I was inspired to write my book by the people who have followed me and my journey. I had a lot of requests from people asking what I do to keep in shape both in the gym and in the kitchen and a book was the best way to answer. There is only so much information you can get across over social media and we don’t really cover health and wellbeing much on Made in Chelsea.
However, it isn’t just my body that has changed but my whole mentality and outlook on life has too. A few years ago I reached a point in my life where I found genuine happiness and peace within myself so I started to look back and try to figure out where I went wrong for most of my twenties. A lot of that stemmed from insecurities that led me to indulge in very self-destructive behaviours that punished my body. I wish I had adopted a different attitude earlier on because I could have achieved so much more by now.
What one lifestyle change do you think has made the biggest impact for you?
Learning how to say no. I found it incredibly empowering to learn that I had the ability to control my future by making better decisions for myself. I used to be such a yes person and I was also a people pleaser with very little backbone. I was sacrificing my own future by doing what everyone else wanted me to and not progressing in my own life.
I learnt how to say no to bad drinking habits, food, people, job opportunities, parties, etc etc. Whilst saying no to negative influences I made more time for positive things such as good food and exercise. Treating my body with the respect it deserves and seeing the influence this has had on all aspects of my life keeps me on the right path.
What are the differences you’ve noticed, both in mind and body?
My body has responded really well to eating a balanced diet whereby I don’t cut anything out. In the past if I abstained from anything I would just binge on it later which is far less healthy. Working out 3 or 4 times a week very efficiently means that I can eat the things that I want to in moderation which is pretty awesome.
On the odd occasion that I order something indulgent like a giant greasy takeaway pizza, I find I don’t actually enjoy it anymore despite that fact I used to get a lot of satisfaction out of eating fast food. Without forcing I have managed to completely change my taste for certain foods. My habits are very different now than they were a few years ago. My mind is much clearer and I have a lot more energy and a lot more drive to overachieve. Everyday tasks are easier. I also find I’m less anxious and much less affected by small things when I exercise regularly.
What are your main rules when it comes to nutrition?
I try not to eat red meat more than twice a week. I rarely eat dairy. Sugar is the enemy and if you’re not burning it off then it is likely to turn into fat. Eat carbohydrates after a workout to replenish your glycogen levels and feed those muscles.
‘If I’m not hungry enough to eat an apple then I probably don’t need to take down a large chocolate bar’
What do you hope people take away from the book?
Do the best with what you’ve been given. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, life should be enjoyed. I have good and bad weeks where I might fall off the wagon a little and treat myself too much, but your fitness journey shouldn’t be about racing to the finish line. I hope that people can relate to my story, and if one person decides to start looking after themselves a bit better having read my book then I will be happy!
Live Well With Louise recipes
Donburi is quintessential Japanese comfort food. The base layer is a basic sushi rice bowl but then what sits on top can consist of any variety of meat and vegetables. This chicken recipe is a very well-balanced combination that might not be a typical way of presenting food, but I think it is good to try new things.
I remember visiting my best friend when she was studying Spanish in Merida, which is in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. She taught me the real difference between tacos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas etc. A taco is simply meat or fish and toppings put inside a tortilla. You can use many different kinds of fish in a fish taco but my preference is monkfish because it is meaty yet has a light, delicate flavour.
A lovely warming lower-fat sticky toffee pudding made with sweet dates. I won a Made in Chelsea, Come Dine With Me-style charity dinner as a result of serving this showstopping pud to my fellow Chelsea companions! These tasty puddings are best served straight from the oven.
Recipes from Live Well With Louise by Louise Thompson, £13.29, Hodder & Stoughton.