A toned new body, and, ahem, a rejuvenated love life. Life’s pretty sweet for weight-loss queen Josie Gibson…
Photography by Pete Pedonomou
There’s a striking, statuesque, model-slim blonde in our studio who’s claiming to be Josie Gibson. If it wasn’t for the familiar West Country burr, you’d struggle to believe it.
Because the self-assured hottie, currently strutting about looking flipping awesome while wearing next to nothing, is unrecognisable from the bloated girl in the bikini snaps we all gawped at this summer.
Over the course of six months, Big Brother winner Josie, 27, has shed 3st and dropped five dress sizes and – seriously – it’s impossible to overstate the extent of the transformation. It is truly gobsmacking.
“This is the slimmest I’ve been since I was about five,” she jokes. “I feel like my life has just started again.”
She says: “I’ve lost a few people to cancer in my family and I said to my other half Luke [Sanwo]: ‘I’ve got a lump… I think I’m going to have to go to hospital.’ But it was muscle and bones that I’ve never ever felt before because they’ve always had fat covering them.”
Losing her insecurities
Josie hardly has an extra ounce of fat on her now. Her stomach is flat, her arms are toned and her waist – from which she’s lost 9in – is positively waspish. At 5ft 10in and 10st, she slips easily into the size-10 clothes we’ve brought for the photo shoot, and although she’s always had a larger-than-life personality, there’s a new sort of confidence in the way she talks, laughs and carries herself.
It’s hardly surprising to hear that losing the weight has also worked wonders for her sex life.
“I’m a lot fitter than Luke in the bedroom now!” she says before bursting into peals of laughter. “Before, it used to be all him because I was like a sack of spuds.
“And when you’re bigger, you don’t want to do certain positions because it all hangs over and stuff. I remember sometimes feeling crap and not wanting him to touch me.
Her fiancé, plumber Luke, 24, understandably, is thoroughly enjoying all the benefits.
“He’s actually quite shocked, I think! But he loves it. I sometimes forget we’ve got a lodger and Luke has to say: ‘Josie, come on, put some clothes on’. Honestly, I could join a nudist camp and feel quite proud walking around naked.”
After a lifetime of weight battles and yo-yo dieting, Bristolian Josie finally seized control after seeing those pictures of herself on a beach in Mallorca earlier this year. She’d unwittingly crept up to a size 20 due to a combination of a broken ankle and a diet of beef stew, Viennetta and red wine. Being confronted with the unflattering truth after her holiday was the kick up the (not inconsiderable) backside she needed.
“I just didn’t realise I’d put all that weight on until I saw those pictures. I was a beast,” she says.
“I said to Luke: ‘Do I actually look like that?’ and he just put his head down. And I asked him if his mates down the plumbing shop were taking the p**s out of him. He said no at first, but then it came out that they’d been laughing, saying: ‘Look at your missus!’ It must have been embarrassing for him.
“I’ve got that picture on my fridge because I don’t ever want to go back there. I always used to say: ‘Yes, I’m happy being a curvy girl,’ but I wasn’t really a curvy girl was I? I was just really fat!”
Josie got in touch with her brother’s mate, semi-pro rugby player James Stark and asked him to help. He developed a plan involving interval training – short, sharp bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a rest, which is a proven way to burn fat fast.
The DVD – Josie Gibson’s 30 Second Slim – is out now and is set to become one of the best-selling celeb fitness plans this season. Josie says: “James introduced me to this interval training which is absolutely amazing for me, because it’s 30 seconds on, and then you have a rest.
“I’m not a slogger so it’s perfect for me to do exercise in short blasts like that. It’s amazing how fit you get so fast if you just keep going with it.
“I love doing it,” she says. “If I don’t, I get really angry and feel heavy, sluggish. It’s like I need that release now.”
She also overhauled her diet, replacing her morning fry-up with porridge and blueberries, chocolate snacks with nuts and yoghurt, and swapping evening curries for steak and veg. However, the weight loss has prompted speculation about whether Josie has “done a Fern” and had a gastric band fitted.
“Oh my God I get accused of that all the time,” she says. “At first I was like: ‘You cheeky f*****s!’ because I haven’t done anything of the sort! But now I see it as a bit of a compliment.
“I’m not saying it’s wrong getting a gastric band if you want to go down that route, but I’m telling you it probably feels a thousand times better doing it the way I have. They kill people and everything, those gastric bands. I’ve been reading up on them and they can be quite dangerous.”
Of course, the celebrity slim-down is a well-trodden path. We’ve seen it all before: star loses weight, looks amazing for five minutes, piles it all back on again. And then some. But Josie insists this won’t happen to her.
“What, to be ridiculed on Twitter again? And have people calling me a fat c**t, telling me I should die and saying: ‘No wonder John James [Parton, her ex-boyfriend and fellow BB star] left you, you fat beached-whale c**t’?
“I know you shouldn’t have to change your appearance for others, but it does feel nice to be putting two fingers up to all those people. I feel like I’ve won. So there is no way I will be going back there again. No way on this planet.”
The reaction of friends has been quite surprising, as not all of them have been supportive.
“Some of them have said: ‘Oh you’ve lost too much weight, you need to put some back on…’ They’re the sort of friends who want to go on holiday with you so you sit on the sunlounger next to them and make them look thinner. I was that mate, the fat friend.
“They go: ‘But Josie, I liked you better with the weight on!’ Yes, I bet you f*****g did! Anybody who says I looked better when I was big can’t really be a friend.” Luckily, she’s not been left with the excess skin a lot of large-weight-loss slimmers suffer from.
She says: “I have a little on my belly, but that’ll tighten up with toning. I think it’s helped that my diet is good. I wouldn’t mind some abs, so my aim is to get proper toned now. I don’t want to lose any more weight.”
Josie got engaged to Luke in February, after dating for six months, but there are no firm wedding plans just yet, though she is looking forward to choosing her dream dress.
“I would never, ever walk down the aisle like I was because I know the wedding dress I want and it wouldn’t have looked right if I was a size 20. When we get married I want it to be funky, a festival theme maybe. But we’re not in a rush – I like being engaged. He’s more than a boyfriend, but not my husband!
“Luke’s a keeper. It’s hard to find a guy like that – a proper gentleman. I think because he’s been brought up with his mum and his sister, he’s very protective over women.”
Josie plans to launch a clothing line next year and has TV projects in the pipeline. She’s one of the few former BB contestants with lasting appeal and has shrewdly spun out her 15 minutes since winning the reality show in 2010.
“I can’t believe I’m still going,” she says. “It’s maybe because people see me as a mate but I also think that a lot of people go into Big Brother desperate for it. Well, I’ve never been that. I’m surprised that I’m still around. I’ve been so lucky. I’ve not had to chase anything really.”
Financially, she’s comfortable although by no means rich. She has a mortgage to pay and reveals that she feels she was badly advised over money in the past.
“It was a nightmare,” she says. “But now I’ve got a good team around me, although I’m still not very good with money. I’m good at making it, but not good at keeping it.
“Do you know what though, I got a five-bed house in Bristol with an attached flat and a car out of it, so I can’t really ask for much more than that, can I? People think because you’ve done Big Brother, you do a few magazine shoots and become a millionaire, but it’s not like that at all.”
She has, though, splashed out on a new wardrobe. Being able to wear bodycon is something Josie is relishing.
“I used to go to bed and wish I could wake up thin, especially when you’re in the media and you’re going to parties where everyone’s wearing lovely dresses. I was there in the same maxi because I couldn’t wear anything else. It is lovely to wear a short dress and feel comfortable walking down the street. It’s given me a new lease of life.”
We have 10 copies of Josie Gibson’s 30 Second Slim DVD to give away! Enter by 11.59pm, January 12, 2013.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
How Josie did it
*Warm up Josie starts with four minutes of moves that get the body into fat-burning mode. These include “walking up-downs” where she moves from standing to all fours, crawling into a press-up position, then reversing back into standing. Or “swinging squats” when she squats so deep she can sweep her hands to the floor at the same time.
*Work out Then Josie does 12 minutes of 30-second intervals, followed by a 45-second “active rest”. She does lots of power moves at speed to get the heart rate up. For example, jumping lunges, or punching with weights, or sprinting on the spot. Her active rest period involves press-ups, sit-ups or bicep curls.
*Cool down She finishes with four minutes of dynamic stretching to lengthen muscles and stop soreness.
Josie’s diet then
Fry up – bacon, egg and fried bread and a milky coffee.
A Kit Kat and a full-fat latte.
Pizza and ice cream.
Packet of crisps and a full-fat latte.
Chicken korma curry, popadoms, 3 glasses of red wine, and 1 chocolate bar.
Josie’s diet now
Bowl of porridge (made with water and no sugar) with blueberries.
Spicy chicken breast and salad.
Salmon steak, mixed green salad and sweet potato.
Handful of nuts, 1 fruit yoghurt, 1 piece of fruit.
Lean steak and vegetables;1 small glass of white wine.
DRESS SIZE 20
SHOE SIZE 7
DRESS SIZE 10
SHOE SIZE 6
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