28, singer, West End star and former winner of The X Factor
‘The evening my dress ripped while I was on stage performing the lead in The Bodyguard musical, I knew it had gone too far. By the summer of 2015, I’d piled on three dress sizes over two years, going from a size eight to a 14. My hectic tour schedule meant that I’d often skip the gym, miss meals and then gorge on takeaways late at night.
I wasn’t overly troubled by the way I looked – I was in a happy relationship with my boyfriend Josh Ginnelly and my career since
The X Factor was going brilliantly well. But my mum has type 2 diabetes – which is associated with obesity – and she had been unwell, so I knew that it was time to get healthy. If I didn’t, I’d risk developing diabetes like my mum.
As a teenager, I ate healthily and was sporty at school. But now I needed some help structuring my chaotic eating. I started eating six small meals a day: porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch, fish or chicken with salad for dinner, and snacks of fruit and nuts in between. I suddenly had so much more energy from eating regularly – which was essential when I was performing on stage at night.
Healthy eating encouraged me to kick-start my gym routine, too, and I began working out five or six times a week. Two years on, I’m three dress sizes smaller and 2st lighter, and I’ve built up muscle.
It’s been a slow process but the rewards are for the long term.
Now, my training schedule never changes – not even when I’m on holiday. I begin with a 10-minute run to warm up, then an hour of circuit training. My fitness goal is to run the New York marathon before I reach 30 and kids factor into the equation.
I’ve always suffered from anxiety, which heightens occasionally, so to help keep it under control, I do half an hour of yoga or meditation before bed rather than go out with the cast and crew, to make sure I feel refreshed the next day. My health and happiness are all that truly matter.’
Alexandra Burke is the official ambassador for Slimfast