LIFESTYLE

Jennifer Lawrence Endorses Dalton Wong's Diet And Fitness Plan That Caters For Her Love Of Pizza

07/01/2016 18:37 GMT | Updated 08/01/2016 09:59 GMT

Jennifer Lawrence is a woman whose thoughts on food I - like the rest of the internet - have a lot of time for.

Like Lawrence, food is one of my "favourite parts of the day" (seriously what a sad life you must lead if it's not).

So when I heard Lawrence's personal trainer Dalton Wong had teamed up with health journalist Kate Faithfull-Williams to publish a book called 'The Feelgood Plan', I was intrigued - if a little skeptical about how exercise plans and meal suggestions could improve your mood.

jennifer lawrence pizza

It goes without saying that Lawrence would only back a diet plan that includes pizza

The idea of a "diet and fitness" plan brings to mind deprivation, exertion and a strict regime - not elements that fill me with joy.

Yes, we've all heard the old chestnut about exercise releasing endorphins, but give me the choice between climbing onto a sweaty cross trainer and pounding the road to nowhere, or enjoying a meal out with friends, and it's no competition which one is going to get my endorphins flowing.

But Lawrence has sung Wong's praises: "Dalton is different to other trainers because he understands what my body needs - how to exercise, when to unwind, how to enjoy food.

"I could never live on a 'diet'.

"Dalton taught me how to eat, move and live a delicious but healthy life."

And she's just one of Wong's A-list clients - he's also worked with Game Of Thrones actors Kit Harington and Gwendoline Christie, as well as Nicholas Hoult and Amanda Seyfried.

At just £11.99 for the paperback, 'The Feelgood Plan' is a lot more affordable than Wong's £250 training sessions. So I gave it a try to see how it measured up to Lawrence's list of the lessons her body needs: "how to exercise, when to unwind, how to enjoy food."

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How To Enjoy Food

Rather than banning pizza, 'The Feelgood Plan' promises to give you metabolism to burn it up.

A focus on enjoying food is one of the elements of Wong and Faithfull-Williams' plan that truly is feel good. No dusty rice cakes with sloppy cottage cheese here.

There are no lists of banned foods or strict meal plans to follow, and it's a good thing to, as unrealistic weekly menus, which would cost triple my usual supermarket shop, are one of the main reasons I rarely get past week one on a diet plan.

Instead Wong and Faithfull-Williams cleverly recognise that there are reasons why we eat the way we do - we've had all our adult lives to choose what food we eat, and it's likely we've found a pattern that makes us feel satisfied - if sometimes a little over-satisfied.

So instead of asking you to make any drastic changes to your regular diet, they instead teach you how to easily transform a meal that "feels bad" into a meal that "feels good".

If you're someone (like me) who ALWAYS starts the day with cereal, you're not expected to breakfast on lean protein or fish. Instead 'The Feelgood Plan' teaches you how to make healthy decisions about your food by laying out the options:

FEELS BAD: Sugary cereals - not just frosted flakes, we're talking granola, cornflakes covered in honey and even muesli packed with dried fruit. If you much choose a brand with large flakes - you'll consume fewer calories without noticing the difference.

FEELS OK: Bran-based cereals and nutty muesli - less sugary than the 'feels bad' options but the third ingredient of bran flakes is still sugar. Measure a half-cup portion so you don't accidentally overeat and give yourself a groaning stomach.

FEELS GOOD: Bespoke-blend bircher - grate half an apple into a bowl and mix in 2tbsp oats, 1tsp chia seeds, plus a handful each of blueberries and almonds. Cover with whole milk and leave overnight; in the morning you have a sweet and satisfying brekkie.

The same goes for lunch and dinner, there are no set meal plans, just suggestions for how you can make your favourite meals that bit healthier, be they sandwiches, burritos, chicken tikka, pizza or fish and chips.

There are also suggestions for healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners, with a blank space next to each of them in which you can mark which ones "work for you", so when you're in need of a healthy meal inspiration in the future you can easily find options you'll enjoy.

Fancy a glass of wine? "That's cool," says Wong. "Wine's sugar is absorbed slower when you pair Pinot Noir with your meal."

How To Exercise

The exercise part of the plan is the one I found most revolutionary. It promises to "change your relationship with exercise" and for me it really has.

I've always looked enviously at the people who actively enjoy going for a jog, rather than seeing it as a chore.

I open the chapter on exercise and read: "You'll enjoy exercise. Yes, you will. Even if you snort with disbelief as you read this."

This plan is "the very reverse of grueling," says Wong. Every work out in the book can be done at home and there's no need for any specialist equipment.

The initial workout takes just 15 minutes and you don't even have to do it every day, it's alternated with a short routine of stretches.

The more advanced work outs involve doing two 15 minute sessions in a day - but these can be divided up so you can fit them in around your schedule.

Also, as it states in the book, "it's OK to skive (sometimes)."

By devoting just 15 minutes to exercise I found I was able to do it "mindfully" - really focusing on fully stretching my muscles with every move, rather than half heartedly flopping my arms and up and down - and that made a world of difference.

"'Switching on' muscles with your mind can make them tone up 35% faster," explained Wong. "Mindful exercise is moment-by-moment awareness of what your body's doing."

dalton and kate

Kate Faithfull-Williams and Dalton Wong

When To Unwind

Sleep is highly valued in 'The Feelgood Plan' and Wong and Faithfull-Williams share their knowledge of how your daily routine can help or hinder your sleeping patterns.

It may surprise you to hear that a key factor here is food. What (and when) you eat has a major effect on your sleeping patterns (and vice versa).

"If you're still digesting while you sleep, your body can't carry out all of it's usual nighttime repairs as well," the duo explain.

"Ideally eat three hours before you go to bed, to give your body time to digest before you go to sleep."

But as with all aspects of this plan, they're realistic enough to know that some days this just isn't going to happen:

"If eating late is unavoidable your best plan is to eat a light easily digestible meal - an omelette is ideal - then go to bed."

The Verdict

This isn't a quick fix - it will take a while to notice any difference in your dress size or on the scales - but the effects on my mood and sleep patterns were almost instantaneous, and this plan is what every other fitness plan I've tried so far has not been: sustainable.

'The Feelgood Plan: Happier, Healthier and Slimmer in 15 Minutes a Day', by Dalton Wong and Kate Faithfull-Williams (Ebury) is available in Kindle, hardback and paperback editions.

Boost Your Feel-Good Mood