November 2013 was the third time BKC members squared of against one another for a 4 week fat loss contest, 40 people entered for a chance to get in shape and win a cash prize.
The £400 prize money is split between the male and female winners.
Landing in first place and beating off all other females was Harriet Ellis. She managed a fantastic 10 pound weight loss and 17% total body fat reduction!
Wanting to know more, we decided to interview Harriet to find out how she achieved this awesome result.
Over to Pete and Harriet.
PL – Congratulations on being the female biggest loser, you must be over the moon?
HE – Thank you very much. Yes I am chuffed with my results and didn’t expect to win at all.
PL – Was the cash prize a big incentive for you?
HE – It certainly helped having a cash incentive but it wasn’t the ‘be-all-end-all’. The fat loss alone was enough of an incentive as I was starting to feel uncomfortable and lack self-confidence in the way I looked.
PL – Have you attempted fat loss before and if so what type of diet did you try?
HE – I feel like I am always on a ‘diet’ or at least watching my weight! Unfortunately I am a bit of a yo-yo dieter which isn’t good. I wanted this experience to teach me a new way of thinking and to have a more consistent, long-term approach to healthy eating than I did before (a lifestyle change, not a quick fix).
PL – Did you make a lot of changes to your diet? Can you give us a brief snapshot of a what typical days food looked like?
HE – I did make a lot of changes to my diet, mostly involving increased protein intake and making a conscious effort of drinking more water. I also took more time to plan and prepare meals which helped me stay on track (I only bought what I needed for my plan, no extras). A typical day of food would start with a green tea and a small bowl of wholemeal porridge with a small handful of raisins and a teaspoon of honey (skimmed milk). For lunch I’d make a puy lentil salad with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, red onion and mix in a tin of sardines. I’d also have an Activia yoghurt, Go-Ahead biscuits, babybel cheese, small banana and a hard-boiled egg. For dinner, I’d have a salmon fillet or a steak with a massive pile of iron-rich greens like broccoli and spinach with sauteed mushrooms and peas. If I fancied something sweet, I’d have some tinned of peaches in juice with some low fat custard. Fundamentally though, the only ‘treat’ foods that I had during the whole month was half a Welsh cake and literally a paper-thin slice of homemade Victoria Sponge.
PL – Did you count or track calories at all?
HE – Not at all! I have always calorie counted in the past but I was determined to try a different approach this time and simply eat when I’m hungry whilst making sure that what I eat will benefit my body!
PL – Tell us about the exercise you did over the 4 weeks, was it just kettlebell? How often did you train?
HE – I didn’t train as much as I would’ve liked although I did incorporate a mixture of weight and cardio exercises which worked well for me. On average, I worked out twice a week with kettlebells and 1-2 times per week at the gym. My gym workouts consisted of high intensity running and power walking, with high resistance rowing for an hour per session. I also fast walk to and from work everyday which is about 30 mins each way, 5 days per week.
PL – How did the change in diet make you feel? Were you ever hungry? Did the diet affect your energy and exercise performance?
HE – I found the first week difficult in terms of willpower, but after that, the changes simply became part of my daily routine. Due to the higher intake of protein, I was rarely left feeling hungry and with the exception of a couple of days where I didn’t have enough sleep, I felt considerably stronger and fitter whilst exercising. I gained more self-confidence and felt more energised during the day.
PL – So would you say the experience has changed your perception on dieting? What have you learnt?
HE – It has definitely changed my perception on dieting in that I now realise that you don’t have to calorie-count in order to lose body fat. If you’re hungry, then eat! But make sure you’re fueling yourself with the right foods and you will soon notice the positive effects that it has on your body. I have learnt that if you put your mind to it and stay focused, you can achieve amazing results in no time at all.
PL – What advice would you give to someone else desperate to lose body fat?
HE – Probably the best advice that I can give (and that I have only just realised myself during the past month) is to eat lots of protein and reduce carbs intake. I always thought that to perform well during exercise, you must eat lots of carbs to ensure that energy levels remain high. However, I have completely changed my way of thinking and have now realised that when eating high quality protein (steak, chicken, oily fish, lentils) regularly at every meal with vegetables/salad, my hunger pangs are virtually non-existent and I feel fuller for longer which is fantastic. No need for pointless snacking! In addition, I have gained more muscle and therefore have become stronger day by day. Drinking lots of water is also a must as I found this often filled me up instead of having to eat food.
PL – What will you spend the £200 prize money on?
HE – I shall add the cash to my holiday fund for next year 🙂