Lou is a health coach. She helps clients change those sticky habits that get in the way of health and living life to the fullest. She has a particular interest in the benefits of eating ‘real food’, weight management, and workplace health and wellbeing. As well as working one-to-one with individual clients, she works within organisations, coaching people, running workshops and helping employers make it as easy as possible for people to be healthy at work.
For 16 years Lou was a leadership development consultant, specialising in behavioural diagnostics and personal development. But a longstanding interest in the relationship between health and performance led her to a Masters degree in Obesity & Weight Management and a postgraduate certificate in Human Nutrition, and then a career change towards health coaching.
Her Masters research was the first academic study into workplace cake culture. Its findings have implications for workplace health and Lou is campaigning to help organisations rethink workplace snacking and food-based reward culture to reduce workplace sugar consumption.
Outside of work she is an athletics coach and sports massage therapist, an ambassador for the UK Public Health Collaboration and on the Steering Group for the Real Food Campaign.
In this episode, athlete and researcher, Lou Walker started her low carb journey to find out what was the optimal for her Ironman performances.
Lou didn’t have any ailments and wasn’t over weight but she edged her family towards low carb by cutting out potatoes, rice and pasta. She then signed up for The Real Meal Revolution and went fully keto.
Lou recognises that stress and boredom make her want to eat carby foods but she doesn’t give in to the urges.
Lou has swam in open water and accessed the fat on her body to keep her energy going. This helped her not have to take in nutrition whilst she was swimming.
Bread is a treat for Lou on Christmas Day and her birthday.
Lou did a Masters in obesity and weight management. Her original research was on cake in office culture. She interviewed 1000 UK office workers to understand what office cake looks like. Listen to all the different areas she looked into.
Office Cake Culture research
Walker, L., & Flannery, O. (2020). Office cake culture. International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
Lou's Top Tips
- Focus on all the things you can eat rather than what you can’t eat
- Learn to cook and adapt recipes
- Be prepared to explain what you are doing and fight your corner
- Listen to your appetite
- Just try it for 6 weeks
Real Meal Revolution - Prof Tim Noakes
Quotes by Lou Walker
“My husband put it really well the other day: Lou started looking at this way of eating so that she didn’t end up on a drip at the end of her Ironman races.”
“I was keen to avoid [ending up on a drip from dehydration] and started doing some research, and all the sugar and gels, bars, gatorade, all the sugary stuff weren’t doing me any good. And it was costing me a fortune! Clearly it wasn’t helping because I was on a drip at the end.”
“As a family, we started to cut down on the starchy carbs: bread, rice, pasta and potato. Just because it didn’t really make much sense to me as there wasn’t a lot of nutrition in them.”
“If not relying on sugar can get me through an Ironman, then it is worth thinking about everyday life.”
“I don’t count macros now or anything, but I think it is really helpful at the beginning for anyone to really if they are interested to find out realistically what the proportions are that they are eating. Because I wasn’t eating sugar, starches, potatoes but I was eating fruit and I was having my delicious smoothies which contained bananas. It was a really useful process in the beginning.”
“Being five, six years on, I am not immune to seeing cherry liqueur chocolate near Christmas. I’m not completely immune to it. If I have a couple because it is Christmas, I do find it hard to control. It is probably easier for me to cut it all out and go cold turkey. It is still there.”
“Things that would make it harder for me would be: boredom, stress, those sort of emotional times when sugar is comforting.”
“Follow the 80:20 rule. If you’re eating really good stuff 80% of the time, and the other 20% enjoy it. Make it mindful, don’t just mindlessly eat the bread and other stuff. If you’re going to eat bread and cake, make sure you enjoy it.”
“If you’re hungry: eat. If you’re not hungry: don’t eat. When you’re full: stop eating.”
“When you’re not eating rubbishy food, when you’re eating real food, you become in touch with your appetite again.”
“Sometimes I clean my teeth, so I don’t eat anything else.”
“I do prioritise sleep.”
“I don’t think about what I can’t eat, I think about all the things I can.”
“It is good food, it is delicious food, that what I don’t understand the arguments against the low carb keto diet is that it is not sustainable and people can not stick to it for a long time. That is just not my experience.”
“One of the hardest things that they have to face to make the decision to go low carb keto, is other people.”
“It is really difficult to stay healthy when our environment is enticing us to not be healthy.”
“Employers aren’t doing as much as they could do to make the workplace environment easier to be healthier in.”
Connect with Lou Walker on social media
If you have enjoyed listening to this episode - Leave us a review
By leaving us a review on your favourite podcast platform, you help us to be found by others.
Support us on Patreon
Help Jackie and Louise make more episodes by supporting them on Patreon:
Connect with us on social media
Music by Bob Collum
Recommend a guest
We would love to know if you have a favourite guest you would like us to interview. Let us know who you would like to hear of if you have a particular topic you would like us to cover.
We sometimes get a small commission on some of the links, this goes towards the costs of producing the podcast.