I totally transformed my body – and my life
Flicking through photos, I scrunched up my face.
‘You look lovely in this one,’ my mum Sally smiled. ‘I do not!’ I groaned.
We were looking at pictures of my auntie Lauren’s wedding, where I’d been a bridesmaid.
All I could see was my flesh spilling out of my tight, purple, strapless dress.
I’d known I was overweight. It’d started when I went on the Pill aged 16. Then, in 2013, after weight gain and stomach cramps, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries.
‘It can make it hard to lose weight,’ the doctor warned. ‘But losing weight would help your symptoms.’ Not exactly win-win then! A large size-16, weighing in at 12st 4lb, I thought of those wedding pics. It was time to do something before things got worse.
So I started going to the gym four or five times a week, doing cardio exercise. Only, after I lost a stone, my weight started to plateau. So I read up on how weight training can change your body.
That’s when I met my personal trainer Jordan, who showed me how to work out effectively. With her help, I tackled weights instead of just cardio – and I loved it! Within six months, my body had completely changed. I’d got down to 8st – and, most importantly, I had abs, biceps and a pert bum.
‘Wow, you look great!’ friends said.
Jordan competed in body-building bikini shows – and, when she told me about them, I was in awe of her. The strict diet and workout regime, posing on a stage in a tiny bikini… I couldn’t do that, I thought. ‘Yes, you could,’ Jordan
My flesh spilled out of the tight, purple dress
encouraged when I told her.
And, before I knew it, I was being whisked into the world of bikini-body shows.
I had 18 weeks to prep for my first one, starting with a diet of high calories with lots of carbohydrates to build muscle.
Then, a few weeks before the show, I had a calorie-depletion diet to get my body fat down.
The regime was pretty strict, with egg-white protein drinks in the morning, then four more small meals during the day.
‘More broccoli and chicken?’ colleagues at my PA job would joke – and, I’ll admit, it did get pretty boring after a while. But I could see it paying off. Before long, it was October – show day! I was so excited, I didn’t know what to expect.
I certainly wasn’t ready for such an early start. The clock was beaming 4.30am at me as I jumped out of bed.
I yawned through my second spray-tan coating – I’d already had my first the night before.
After a breakfast of steak and sweet potato, I did my hair and make-up, and practised my poses. Before I knew it, I was on the stage in St Albans Arena, flexing my muscles in an orange, diamante bikini. As the crowd of 500 stared back at me, my nerves were gone.
What a rush!
I didn’t come away with a medal, but I was over the moon.
‘It’s time to take the training up a notch,’ said my new trainer Nathan.
I was determined to do better next time. And, six months on, I was back.
Then, before my third show, I was given a new challenge when a producer from All 4’s Six Pack Superstars got in touch via my posing coach Audrey.
The online show followed fitness-comp wannabes as they prepped for competitions.
And they wanted me to take part in it.
‘Just act naturally,’ the cameraman said as I walked into my local gym to be filmed.
Of course, that was easier said than done. Now I know how celebs must feel.
Soon, it was time for my performance to be filmed.
Again, I didn’t get a medal. But, as Nathan and I always say, it’s not the medals that make you a winner – it’s the taking part that does.
I was hesitant about watching myself on TV, but I actually came across way more confident than I thought I was.
Maybe one day I’ll get a medal. But, in bikinicompetition terms, I’m still just a baby.
Some of the girls I compete with are much more are experienced and have been doing it for years.
Plus, I know how hard I’ve worked to get myself to where I am now.
I already feel like a winner!
I had a new challenge when a TV producer got in touch
Bikini-body ready – and how!
That dreaded wedding photo...