Three Fabulous readers reveal exactly how they lost nearly 3st in the run-up to bikini season
‘I lost 11in and am so proud of my new body’
Lisa Palmer, 38, runs her own electrical and building business, and lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, with her son Bradley, nine.
THE PROBLEM “For nine years I’ve tried everything to stop my bum and thighs being so fat and wobbly – from hitting the gym three times a week to trying loads of diets, such as Atkins. But nothing worked for me.
Before I became pregnant with my son Bradley 10 years ago, I had a decent figure. After that, it all went literally ‘pear shaped’ as my thighs and bum got even flabbier. My confidence was destroyed and, as a single mum, I knew I had no chance of meeting a man feeling like that. I’d keep my legs covered up in long skirts or jeans and although I fitted into a size 12, I detested my bottom half.”
THE SOLUTION “Fabulous introduced me to personal trainer Jake Gowan, from The Gym in Tunbridge Wells. At our first meeting I was mortified as he scrutinised my every lump and bump while I stood there in my bra and pants. He could tell that I loved to snack on fatty treats such as chocolate and chips, and suspected my hormones were one of the reasons I was storing more fat around my tummy. He told me quite simply that I was eating too much fat, and explained that no matter how much exercise I did, if I didn’t drastically cut down my fat intake, I’d never tone up my thighs and bum. The thought that I might be able to fix the problem that had plagued me for 10 years, in just six weeks, was the motivation I needed.
I saw Jake three times a week for 45-minute sessions in which we did both running and weights. Sometimes we were in the gym and other times we went to the park.
I followed the diet plan nutritionist Gemma Landau gave me, cutting out all starchy carbs, such as bread, pasta and potatoes, and stuck to wholemeal carbs and vegetables instead. I also avoided alcohol, fizzy drinks – and the fat-laden takeaways and creamy pasta sauces I craved so much. Jake felt that as I was doing extra training, I needed to eat more protein, so I also upped my intake of lean meat.
I wouldn’t be able to live like that forever, but to give my weight loss a kick-start, I had to give it a go.”
THE RESULTS “I found the plan really difficult initially, but after a week or two I stopped craving white wine and spaghetti carbonara.
Allowing myself two squares of Green & Black’s chocolate each night, and a fish and chips blow-out once a week, saved me from going mad and giving up.
After two weeks I began to notice that my legs had slightly less wobble to them. A fortnight later, there was even more tone to them, which spurred me on to work even harder.
There were times when I’d crave something naughty or dread another session in the gym, but I had to keep focusing on the end goal.
In six weeks, I lost an amazing 1½st, and my thighs and bum are now in the best shape they’d ever been.
Changing my eating habits has been a challenge and I still miss my fizzy drinks and takeaways – but it’s all been worth it.
It’ll be hard not having Jake there to push me now, but I plan to continue going to the gym and classes. And I’ll try to be strict about my diet and eat healthy wholegrain carbs when I get a craving for stodgy foods.
Ten years ago I would never have dreamed of wearing a mini-dress, but now I’m proud of my body – and the work I’ve put in!”
Lisa’s leaner-me gym plan
Jake says: “Lisa did a combination of interval training and weights to maximise fat loss all over.
*We started with 45 minutes of intensity training twice a week – short bursts of intensive exercises including sprints, pulling a weight around from her waist, punch bags and lots of squats and lunges.
*By week three, Lisa was doing three of these high-intensity circuit sessions, and upped this to five by the end of the six-week period.”
The Food Doctor’s nutritionist, Gemma Landau gave our summer shape-up readers an eating plan based on these simple rules from The Food Doctor’s Ultimate Diet.
*Eat three meals a day and have two snacks.
*Avoid processed and refined or sugary carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta. Instead, choose wholegrain or low-GI (Glycemic Index) sources, such as brown rice, sweet potato, rye bread or pulses, which break down more slowly and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
*To keep blood sugar balanced and help prevent cravings, eat protein with every meal and snack – for example, eat a handful of seeds with low-sugar fruit, such as berries.
*Allow two to three hours between snacks and meals.
*Cut out fizzy or sugary drinks and start the day with hot water and lemon or ginger instead of caffeine.
*Avoid fried foods or those rich in saturated fat, such as cakes, butter or processed meat. Use herbs and spices and 1 dessert spoon of olive or flaxseed oil to add flavour, rather than calorie-laden sauces.
Their typical daily eating plan
BREAKFAST 2-3 heaped tbsp porridge made with skimmed milk or water, topped with 1dsp of ground sunflower seeds, or 2 poached eggs on a slice of rye toast.
SNACK 1 Vegetable crudités and 1tbsp low-fat houmous, or low-fat cottage cheese on 1 oatcake.
LUNCH 100g cold salmon and watercress salad, or 300ml chunky vegetable soup topped with roasted pumpkin seeds or lentils.
SNACK 2 250ml mixed fruit smoothie with 1dsp of silken tofu, or ¼ avocado mashed with a cherry tomato on a rye crisp bread.
DINNER Vegetable and chicken stir-fry made with 100g chicken breast (no noodles), or baked white fish with roasted mushrooms and spinach.
‘I look sexier and have more energy’
Hayley Golby, 28, is a singer and lives in Brighton with her nine-month-old daughter, Layla.
THE PROBLEM “After giving birth last October, I kept my fingers crossed that, like the celebs, I would ping straight back into shape. Sadly, I didn’t.
Instead, after having my daughter Layla, my tummy became really saggy and stretched, and it hung over my trousers. I hated my post-baby body.
I should have been having the best time of my life with my new baby, but being aware that I looked so terrible really knocked my confidence.
Before I was pregnant I was 12st and a size 12-14. But towards the end of my pregnancy – thanks to a constant craving for Haribo sweets – I’d shot up to 14st and a size 18.
This spring, I began thinking about returning to work as a singer but knew that nobody would want to come and see such a big, fat blob on stage. I knew I needed to shape up.”
THE SOLUTION “Fabulous signed me up with my local Fitness First, where trainer Chris Odle promised to put me through my paces. He told me I’d get rid of my jelly belly in less than two months, something I thought I thought I couldn’t even achieve in a year. Still, I didn’t realise just how many stomach crunches and sit-ups I’d be doing!
Knowing that my tummy was my problem area, Chris said we needed to focus on my core muscles. As well as tummy toning exercises and sit-ups, I did a lot of resistance training using weights to help build up my abs.
I cut out crisps and sweet treats, and Chris taught me about the importance of food ratios – such as the portion size of vegetables I needed to eat with my meat for a healthy combination.”
THE RESULTS “At first, I missed all my treats, but after a couple of weeks I started to notice a change in my shape and this kept me motivated. My waist looked much slimmer already.
At the end of the six weeks, I couldn’t believe how much my tummy had changed. The horrible rolls of flab have now disappeared and, yes, I still have the stretch marks, but just toning my belly had made them drastically fade. Because I was so determined to lose the weight, I didn’t mind going to the Zumba and step aerobic classes, although there were times when I felt exhausted. I struggled to up my protein levels enough to keep up with all the weight training I was doing. So while I did lose weight, some of that was muscle rather than fat.
I’m sure Layla can see the difference in me, too – I have bags more energy to play with her and I finally feel like a yummy mummy.”
Hayley’s shape-shifting exercise
Chris says: “The main focus of Hayley’s workout regime was to burn fat and tone up her middle, so we combined cardio and resistance training.
*She did two 1-hour strength-training sessions a week in the gym using a TRX machine, where you lean, lunge and perform different exercises against stretchy resistance bands to build muscle. She also used a freeform board (which is like a little skateboard on balls), which you balance on to build core strength.
*Hayley also did two 1-hour exercise classes a week, from Zumba to step aerobics, to get her heart rate up, burn fat and tone muscle.
*I gave her a heart-rate watch to monitor how many calories she was burning. Her challenge was to up her calorie burning every seven days.”
‘Now I can easily fit into my favourite shorts’
Kylie Jenkins, 27, works in PR and lives in Southend, Essex, with her boyfriend Trevor Bawden, 33, an engineer.
THE PROBLEM “Hanging in my wardrobe are a pair of Gap city shorts that I love. Last December, I tried to squeeze into them and discovered, to my horror, that they no longer fitted.
For most of my adult life I’ve been a size 10 and 10st, but when I moved in with my boyfriend Trevor last year, takeaways and bottles of wine after work took me up to 10st 9½lb. I started buying size-12 clothes instead of size 10.
It was frustrating as I’ve always been active. I ride horses and sail every weekend, so I thought I was doing pretty well on the exercise front. I tried to lose weight and joined WeightWatchers for a couple of months, but I just couldn’t shift those extra pounds.”
THE SOLUTION “My personal trainer, Thabian Sutherland, from The Bankside Health Club in south London, explained that I needed to bring new exercises into my life. My body was so used to riding and sailing that these sports weren’t making any difference to my shape. So I began training three days a week for an hour, doing lots of circuits, which included endless squats and planks. I also did interval training, running for a couple of minutes, then walking. Once a week I also went to Thabian’s body-attack class.
He said that my diet needed a major overhaul, too, and that following Gemma’s plan of cutting back on carbs and boosting protein was the right way to go, and he told me to avoid alcohol.”
THE RESULTS “I felt so good once I’d changed the way I ate, it helped me keep focused. Within a fortnight, friends and family were commenting that I’d lost weight from my face. After three weeks, my size-12 clothes began to feel baggy, and I had to do my belt up an extra notch.
Six weeks later, I’m back down to 10st – and I can easily fit into my city shorts! I found the level of exercise really intense – I felt like I was always either going to work or the gym. Now the six weeks are up, although I want to maintain my new size-10 figure, I’ll calm down a bit and might treat Trevor to a celebratory Indian takeaway and a bottle of wine!”
Kylie’s calorie-busting workout
Thabian says: “Kylie wanted to tone up her tummy and lose inches from her waistline, so we worked on her core muscles.”
*She did two 45-minute cardio sessions a week (such as running, aerobics classes or spin) to speed up her metabolism and burn fat.
*On top of that, we did three 1-hour resistance training sessions each week. We used free weights, doing lots of repetitions on all exercises and included jumps and Swiss-ball work to help tone her legs, bum and tum. We also concentrated on exercises that engaged lots of muscles in one go – such as squats holding a medicine ball above her head – to help burn calories and tone.”
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