Della Stanley, the 395th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, was hoping to become a partner in her law firm, when two key events happened.

The first was the Global Financial Crisis, which drastically affected the firm’s profitability and made it put all partnership promotions on indefinite hold. The second was an offer for staff to apply for redundancies – which Della decided to accept.

Della’s original plan was to take some time off and find another corporate litigation role. But, during her sabbatical, she fell pregnant with her fourth child, which made her realise she wanted a lifestyle that would allow her to spend more time with her family. After giving birth, Della started attending fitness classes; and when the trainer encouraged some of the students to attain personal training qualifications and then work alongside her, Della decided to accept that offer as well.

Soon after, Della launched her own business, Dellafit, which has been running for 11 years, and which specialises in helping women over 40 become fitter and healthier.

One of the challenges facing Della’s clients is that, once they reach a certain age, and are no longer chasing kids and performing a million other tasks per day, they do less incidental exercise and have more time to drink a relaxing glass of wine. Consuming a few more calories and burning off a few less doesn’t matter over the course of one day; but when this behaviour accumulates over months and then years, you can gradually put on 10kg without realising.

As we know, when people sign up for the gym or a fitness program, a certain percentage stick with it and a certain percentage drop off. Della has discovered, paradoxically, that the people who are more likely to maintain an exercise regime are those with busy lives – they add it to their schedule, it becomes a matter of routine and it gets done. Conversely, someone with more time on their hands is able to keep putting off their workouts – which can also become habitual.