I’d rather be fat and happy than fat and mis­er­able...

This Morn­ing pre­sen­ter Ali­son Ham­mond talks to LIZ CONNOR about body con­fi­dence, work­ing out and the pres­sure of be­ing in the lime­light

Gloucestershire Echo - - CELEBRITY WELLBEING -

SHE’S the re­al­ity star who rose to fame on Big Brother in the early-noughties, and since then, Ali­son Ham­mond has be­come one of day­time TV’S the best-loved pre­sen­ters.

Known for her hi­lar­i­ous in­ter­views and on-screen gaffes, Ali­son has the abil­ity to re­duce even the big­gest A-lis­ters into fits of laugh­ter.

It’s no se­cret that she’s bat­tled with weight strug­gles though, which she’s touched upon when tak­ing part in pro­grammes like ITV’S Sugar Free Farm in 2017.

Now 44, and a mum to teenage son Ai­den, Birm­ing­ham-born Ali­son says she’s fi­nally reached a place of pos­i­tiv­ity. She’s work­ing out reg­u­larly and eat­ing healthily to feel strong in her mind and body, rather than to sim­ply lose weight – and she feels great.

Here, the TV favourite tells us all about her new health and fit­ness rou­tine, and the ef­fect it’s had on her well­be­ing...

ON WORK­ING OUT TO FEEL HAPPY

“I’VE been go­ing to the gym since Oc­to­ber, and I look at the mir­ror and I think I look ex­actly the same, but the way I feel is un­be­liev­able – I’m get­ting ad­dicted to it!

“Ul­ti­mately, mak­ing changes to your life­style is about your well­be­ing. I’d rather be fat and happy, than fat and mis­er­able. At the mo­ment, I am still fat on the out­side but in my head – men­tally – I’m happy.”

Ali­son joined her lo­cal WW (for­merly Weight Watchers) last year and at­tributes her new­found con­fi­dence to the pro­gramme, which helps peo­ple set per­son­alised fit­ness and nu­tri­tion goals, while stay­ing ac­count­able with weekly weigh-in meet­ings. She’s now an am­bas­sador for the brand, hop­ing to in­spire oth­ers to take the first step in pri­ori­tis­ing their health.

“Now I get up and do cir­cuits ev­ery morn­ing with my per­sonal trainer. I’m a morn­ing per­son, so I like to do an hour with him and then it’s out of the way. For the rest of the day, I’m pretty busy, but I might go for a walk and use the WW app; I can put my headphones in, lis­ten to some tunes and walk.

“I also do box­ing with my per­sonal trainer and I love it. Af­ter Strictly Come Danc­ing [Ali­son took part in the 2014 se­ries], I haven’t kept up my danc­ing, but I love Zumba classes. This is a new me.”

ON NOT ‘BAN­NING’ FOODS

SHE’S tried di­et­ing in the past, but Ali­son says she’s now stopped re­strict­ing her­self from en­joy­ing the foods she loves, but now likes to make ‘healthy’ ver­sions that won’t leave her feel­ing guilty.

“There is no diet men­tal­ity with WW, and to me, that was the main rea­son it ap­pealed to me, be­cause I don’t want to cut any­thing out. I want to be able to have a Chi­nese and I want be able to have an In­dian – it’s just the way I make it now which is a bit smarter.

“When you start to make smart choices, the food tastes ex­actly as it is sup­posed to taste, but you’re not pil­ing things that you don’t re­ally need in your body.

“I think be­fore, I wasn’t even chew­ing my food prop­erly, but now I’m com­pletely savour­ing it.”

ON AVOID­ING ‘BE­FORE AND AF­TER’ PHO­TOS

ALTHOUGH she’s on a weight-loss jour­ney, Ali­son says she’s isn’t track­ing her progress with mir­ror self­ies on her smart­phone.

“To be hon­est, there are al­ready mil­lions of pho­tos al­ready out there of me – just Google ‘Ali­son Ham­mond’ and you’ll see them. I’m not be­ing su­per­fi­cial; I’m not one of those gym bodies that does the poses and stuff at the gym. That’s not me. I’m more about ask­ing, ‘How do my clothes feel to­day?’, and check­ing if my clothes are look­ing good and I’m feel­ing great. It’s more about that for me.”

ON WISH­ING SHE WAS AN INSTAGRAM YOGI

ALI­SON doesn’t fol­low celebri­ties or in­flu­encers for fit­ness in­spi­ra­tion, but there is one tribe of In­sta­gram­mers that keeps Ali­son scrolling.

“I don’t re­ally fol­low fit­ness peo­ple on Instagram, but I re­ally like look­ing at all of the amaz­ing peo­ple who do yoga.

“I would love to be able to bend into some of the po­si­tions you see them in.

“I do love a bit of yoga, but I’m not at the place where I can call my­self a ‘yogi’ yet.”

ON FEEL­ING CON­FI­DENT IN HER SKIN

ALI­SON says that although she’s strug­gled with her con­fi­dence in the past, she’s now at a point where she’s thank­ful of all the amaz­ing things her body al­lows her to do. “I think you have to love your body be­cause, ul­ti­mately, that’s all you’ve got. I’ve had a baby, I’ve had my own ca­reer, I hold an es­tab­lished home. “My body is in­cred­i­ble – I’ve been go­ing up the stairs, I’ve been run­ning down the road, I’ve got to the gym, I feel great – even with very heavy weight. “Ul­ti­mately, I know that be­ing a big girl is some­thing that, as you get older, means that things could hap­pen. My mum has di­a­betes, and I don’t want to go down that path. I want to live a bit longer. I want to die in a healthy and nice way, so I know that this is an im­por­tant thing to do for me.” She stresses she’s not on this health-kick to please any­one else though.

“I don’t care what other peo­ple think about my body. It’s what I care about and what I feel,” she says. “[As a TV pre­sen­ter] There is a par­tic­u­lar pres­sure be­cause you’re be­ing watched at all times. “You have to be­have well and peo­ple are look­ing up to you. “That is an­other rea­son why I want to do some­thing that is true to me and some­thing that I gen­uinely be­lieve in.

“This health jour­ney is re­ally im­por­tant. I don’t want to do a fad diet, I don’t want to do some­thing that’s a lie.

“I know my mindset is now healthy. I just need to bring my body up to where my mind is.”

■ For more in­for­ma­tion on WW – the new Weight Watchers, visit ww.com/uk

TV pre­sen­ter Ali­son Ham­mond has a new health and fit­ness regime

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