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Ella's 6 Stone Weight Loss Success

Ella's Details
Age 43
Height 5ft 3in
Start Weight 16st 3lb
Current Weight 10st 3lb
Goal Weight 10st 10lb
Weight Lost 6 stone
Time Taken 2½ years
Working to Rate of Loss 0.5lb-2lb per week

Ella Before and After

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About Ella

I've always been fat.  Well at least that's what I thought.  Looking back at childhood pictures, I wasn't at all, so that's annoying!  I have always been greedy though and after months and months of maintenance, I'm sorry to say that I didn't achieve some miraculous "change in behaviour".  I have come to the realisation that I will always want more food than I need but I am learning to accept this and do the exercise to compensate or in most instances just buck up and say, "no thank you". 

I went to a brilliant boarding school in Sussex when I was 7, while one set of parents (the foreign office ones) lived in Romania (then America, Hong Kong, Canada and a host of other countries) and the other (the ex actor) was in Saudi Arabia and then settled in Mallorca. 

I can remember in the holidays, stealing boxes and boxes of the After Eights that we had for visiting dignitaries (not Ferrero Rocher as the ads suggest) and ploughing through them in the middle of the night hiding the boxes under my bed.  It was only when a particularly ferocious infestation of cockroaches plagued my bedroom that Mum found them and I was in serious trouble.

I remember at boarding school scouring the kitchens for jars of Nutella and hiding in the huge metal cupboards eating until it hurt. 

Every waking moment revolved around how to spend my pocket money in the tuck shop.  Anyway you don’t need to be Jeremy Kyle to work out that I was searching for a cuddle in every last Caramac bar.   

So back to today, I’m a working actress (acting name is Ella Kenion if you’d like to google and see just how fat I was) and mother of one lively four year old boy and house-wife to a very hard working fella who leaves at silly o clock and returns after our son’s gone to sleep. 

As far as daily life and meals go it’s all a bit erratic.  We’re hopeless at sitting down properly together for meals as everyone’s on different schedules and different food.  In the old days I ate with whoever was eating so I’d pack in about 9 meals a day somehow. 

My husband has eaten and gone by 6am, my son has rounds and rounds of toast (I give him olive spread as I’m not yet strong enough to have butter in the house – it may take some time!) While my son’s eating (I know it’s not ideal but it works for me) I sip at a highlights dark hot chocolate.  Once I’ve packed him off, if I’m not en route somewhere, then I’ll come home and have my breakfast about 9am in lovely peace and quiet. 

My working week is so varied.  Some days I’m voicing cartoons or adverts, some days I’m doing audio books (Doctor Who “Wrath of the Iceni” with Tom Baker is out now if anyone’s a fan) or audio guides for the Tate and other museums, or I’m at a read through in front of piles of those evil buckets of “bites” trying not to eat them all day, or I’m filming on location in the middle of nowhere. 

If it’s a voice over day there are bowls of chocolates and sweets in the reception areas of the studios. It’s ok while I wait because I know that it’ll make my voice sound horrible if I eat before voicing but when I come out afterwards I struggle every time not to take a handful. 

When filming that’s the absolute worst.  Three huge meals on offer from the catering truck every day, including gorgeous cooked breakfasts when you’ve been up since 5am and you’re tired it’s so hard to resist.  Then in addition to that mid morning and mid afternoon they come round with sandwiches and chocolate bars, anything and everything to keep you going.  But we all know it doesn’t does it?  You just crash down even more tired. 

pack all sorts of healthy alternatives but there’s nowhere to keep them on my costume, so they’re back at my trailer and I never get a break long enough to go back to get them and then the sandwiches etc are shoved under my nose, it’s torture. 

I did eight weeks filming in the summer and for the first two I was amazing, I was a rock of will power and would just go hungry until the lunch break then eat my own lovely salad with feta and sundried tomatoes and oat cakes in my trailer avoiding the catering truck altogether (but missing chatting with the other actors and crew to be honest) and just suck up the hunger on the way home at 8pm and have a good soup when I got in but I just couldn’t hold it together for the following six weeks and I went downhill (and up the scales) fast. 

I think the worst of it is there is no time to exercise and I’m so exhausted when I get in it’s the very last thing I can do.  Filming means one day off every fortnight which I spend frantically learning lines for the next block.  But then I get weeks where it’s quiet and I like to book in every PilatesZumba, aqua aerobics and bodytone class going to make up for the working weeks’ damage.

What diets have you tried in the past?

In the nineties when I was at the RSC for a year and only about 11.7 stone (but thought I was enormous) I did a really dodgy diet with a very well known older actress (wish I could name her). 

We went to this place in Harley St and got injections in our bottoms, water tablets, laxatives and ate nothing but citrus fruit and meat for months and I disappeared to 9.5 and looked absolutely dreadful. 

I found it fairly easy to stick to, although I do remember on the way to the weekly appointment I would eat a kit kat and a flake as I figured it couldn’t affect the weigh in so close to appointment time. 

Our breath was odious and the minute I ate all food groups again, surprise surprise I got fatter and then fatter.  The “doctor” said to us if we feel the weight creeping up just cut out bread and keep doing that and you will stay slim.  Yeah alright, love! 

I did go to WeightWatchers once.  Just the once.  I only needed to stand on scales in front of other people once to know I’d never be doing that again. 

I had a good experience doing a diet delivery service about a year in on this journey.  For a few months it introduced me to portion control and to paying attention to how much exercise I was doing, but I wouldn’t have done it if I’d had to pay for it I was lucky enough to be sent the food to try.

How has your weight affected your lifestyle?  Has it stopped you doing things? How did it affect other people’s reaction to you?

I’ve never been too fussed about other people’s reactions to my size, what was hard was not being able to move about freely enough with my child; not being comfortable on airplanes or baths for that matter. 

I’d always had a corner bath and when we moved I was horrified to discover I had to be completely wedged to get myself to the bottom of the bath.  Of course I blamed it all on the bath and set about persuading my husband and myself it was smaller than a normal bath and how outrageous and stupid of the previous owners etc.

We have a tiny bathroom though so either I was going to get smaller or we were going to have to knock a wall down if I wanted a bigger bath.  I kid you not, I have the plans and everything from the builders, I was going to do it – thank goodness I lost the weight that’s saved us a pretty penny. 

My brother lives in the States and my dad in Mallorca so we need to fly frequently, I’d come up with any number of excuses not to go because I just hated being all squashed with a restless toddler to deal with and feeling so uncomfortable and huge.

We have very steep stairs in our house and live on a very steep hill, so I spent my life gasping for breath and as my son was getting bigger I often thought I might pass out.  Something had to change. 

Problem was I thought I knew it all about healthy eating and exercise and refused to believe it could be as simple as the GP and fitness instructors were telling me: “calories in and calories out love”.

I had chronic reactive arthritis when I was 18 and I remember the junior doctor saying, “it’s time to lock up the knife and fork girl or you’ll be in this wheelchair the rest of your life”.  I still kept eating but I was young and fairly fit so I got away with it.

Then my career was ticking along nicely with larger roles (as in roles for larger women sadly not particularly large roles!) so I would convince myself that if I lost weight I wouldn’t get any work and I’m known as fat actress and it’s best not to rock the boat. 

My agent was nervous too as I started to address my health, I see her point she did sign me fat and within six months of me being with the new agent I started to lose weight.  She’s happy enough now though, I’ve done a “Doctor Who” (in skin tight red leather from Zara) and I’m a regular in a cracking new sitcom called “Gates” for Sky, playing a sporty Australian mum.  So I know it’s not hurting my career but my God it took me months to actually knuckle down and start logging.

I would go for the free trial day and hover about the website not actually signing up until I’d already lost a fair bit upping my exercise and thought I’d see if I could face my fears and really look at what I put in my mouth every minute of every day.  I’ve never looked back it’s so brilliant. 

What has been your main motivation to lose weight?

My main motivation has to be to live longer for my family.  I’m already an older mum, having my son when I’d just turned 40.  He’ll have to lose his parents sooner than lots of other young men and it’s just not fair of me to make that time even shorter by not addressing my health. 

I met my husband so late in life too and six weeks after we met I was pregnant so I want as much time as possible with my gorgeous boys.

I wasn’t too bothered to start with about my looks as I was still getting work and wasn’t hideous to look at but as the weight started to go, I really enjoyed shopping for clothes.  It’s been so lovely being able to pick up an item without XXL in the collar. 

To start with I’d only go to charity shops because I kept thinking it might not last but I hit goal 2 years ago for goodness sake - I think I may have finally accepted this really is for life.  

So having an eye on a lovely piece of clothing keeps me motivated and also I have to look the same size if we do another series of “Gates” or we’ll have to crow bar some nonsense about me eating all the children’s school dinners, into the storyline. 

Which tools and resources do you use regularly on WLR? Which tools do you find invaluable?

I know everyone says it but it’s the food and exercise diaries.  The history reports are so brilliant.  If I’m having a bad day I’ll look back at all the facts and figures and particularly my journal. 

Since I’ve been maintaining I’ve weighed daily and put the number first thing in that day’s journal, it’s then great when I look back to see what sparked off a big gain or a big loss.

I love being able to tag messages too.  People have such great insights on here and I like to look back at all the clever ideas for stopping cravings and new low cal snacks people have found or exercises that really burn calories. 

I love looking at my graph too.  I think the buddy system is invaluable.  I’m still buddies with my lovely J0NP and wouldn’t be without him, such a fantastic support.  I hope I’m there for him too.

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Have you purchased any products that have helped you with your goals?

  • I’ve got every DVD going and I never put them on, I’m hopeless.  I seem to be happier burning the calories out and about. 
  • Digital scales (two - one for the food and one for me!)
  • Some good trainers for walking and dance trainers for Zumba

Why do you think WLR has helped you lose weight where other diets have failed?

It’s real.  It’s your real life, your real eating and exercise habits right there in black and white (and some pretty colours) in front of you to face up to and change however quickly or slowly you feel able with loads of support which you can lean on and as much or as little as you want. 

No-one’s going to judge you, you can just eat mars bars and run round the block and make the numbers work if you want and still lose weight, or you can really spoil yourself by trying to hit some fruit and veg targetsdrink loads of water, keep your protein nice and high – feel fantastic and eat all those things you love but with moderation and respect for yourself.

WLR is the best thing that ever happened to me (besides the family!).

Have you struggled at points in your weight loss journey? Experienced a weight loss plateau? What has kept you motivated?

I struggle all the time I’m afraid and I struggle still here on maintenance.  BUT YOU CAN STILL LOSE WEIGHT! 

I’ve hit plateaus, I’ve been miserable and over eaten for weeks, I’ve blown my knee, burst an ear drum and thrown my back out and thought I can never do this.

This is for life.  I have so many days (more days than not) when I’m not in the right head space or the zone or whatever you want to call it.  But I just keep going.  I keep logging, even when the numbers are frightening and I’m astonished to be able to say that the weight does come off.

Support is crucial.  Find the ones you love and trust and LEAN on them.  A heartfelt chat when you’ve lost your mojo is brilliant, particularly if done on the move in the park or somewhere.  If they don’t say the right thing, your body will thank you for moving!  (And speaking of saying the right thing:  someone close to me thought I’d had surgery and that I couldn’t have achieved this loss through diet and exercise, I still find that quite hurtful)  So stick to the supportive friends and family members!

This seems a good moment to thank Daigo Smith at www.futureproof-fitness.com (a mate who kept banging on that his clients recommended weightlossresources.co.uk and to take the free trial) and also the brilliantly supportive Andy Dubois from www.mile27.com.au -  Even if you don't live in Australia his blogs are always worth a read!

Don’t give up.  As long as you’re eating under maintenance 80% of the time it really does work.  And it’s still loads of calories if you just want to eat maintenance, have the things you want and work harder in Zumba the next day…  I just wasn’t going to give up and I’m not going to give up.  I can’t be fat and die sooner than I might.  Besides I love that I’m not auditioning for endless “fat friend” roles.

Since losing weight can you give some examples of how your life has changed?

I’m so active.  I can’t remember the last time I sat down and watched a bit of telly in the day.  I just can’t sit still.

I’m up and down that mighty hill we live on like Peppa Pig and her family.  I even take a huge rucksack and do the weekly shop that way rather than take the car.  I pack in 4 x 2 litre bottles of fizzy water and then all the food on top – I’ve had to make two trips before but I love feeling muscle sore and like I’ve really worked. 

Last year was tough with various physical challenges but I'm so much more aware of what I eat and I just had to eat less until I was up and about again.

In the old days I’d have had no idea and would have eaten the chocolate and several roast dinners for one until I cried myself to sleep with indigestion.

  • I bomb up and down the steep stairs in our house sometimes looking for excuses to go back up to get something.
  • I can sit on airplanes comfortably in economy.
  • I can look down and see my toes.
  • I can wear a size medium and sometimes a small.
  • I can cycle.
  • I can dance for two hours.  Hard.
  • I can breathe.
  • I can lift my four year old high up on my shoulders and walk uphill singing all the way.
  • Again.  I can breathe.

I am so happy.

Exercise routines adopted?

Much to my frustration running just isn’t an option.  The arthritis has left so much damage to the knees it’s been forbidden by too many health professionals to count.  So I walk and walk and walk and walk. I can recommend www.walkit.com (a great free website) to help plan your walking routes.

I walk the 12 mile round trip to do a voice over in Soho.  I walk to do the weekly shop as I’ve already mentioned.  I do Pilates on the reformer (brilliant for anyone with knee or back injuries) and you really feel it the next day and I Zumba my behind off at least twice a week with www.clairecordell.com

There are the more high impact moves that I just mark through but I sweat buckets and work really hard and I love it.  I try to swim but I just get a bit bored, I should do more swimming though.

I do 30 minutes weight-lifting and strength building twice a week just at home but I put it into my diary so that I do actually do it.

In the last couple of years I've been doing power plate at the brilliant Movers and Shapers, it's great for a quick intense workout.

What do you love about your body now?

I have a waist!  I’ve lost that awful fat back. And I really do have quite nice ankles. 

Ella’s Tips

Oh I would always just jump to this bit on everyone’s success story, ha, so if you have I’d better make this worth your while.

  1. Hunger is not an emergency.  Don’t worry about it, get busy and do something else until your meal or snack time.
  2. If you’re having one of those awful days where you can feel control slipping away and you’ve already perhaps started over-eating and you get all panicky and think the world’s going to end (maybe that’s just me).  Breathe in for 7 and out for 10 and PUT THE GAPS BACK IN.  By that I mean.  Just stop.  Stop eating, stop even thinking about it and see if you can just wait an hour or two before the next thing you eat.
  3. Make a plan.  I really found this helpful to print off at the beginning of a day (particularly days when I wasn’t going to be near a computer) and I’d mark off the food as I went along and obviously make notes of adjustments that inevitably occur.
  4. Weigh it!!!!!!!  It’s almost certainly more than you thought and what if it’s less?  Get every gram you should.
  5. I go by a weekly weigh in when losing and daily when maintaining, just to avoid panic on the way down and to keep a close eye on things when you’re where you want to be.  On maintenance those numbers are just feedback don’t go all bonkers and obsessive like I did to start with.
  6. Move, seriously when I first started I couldn’t push my son’s buggy to the end of the path without feeling exhausted, but I pushed it a bit further every day.  It doesn’t have to be gym memberships and fancy classes – just get moving at every opportunity.  I never take the lift now, even on a bad day when I hate myself for eating too much and all is lost, I’ll still walk up the stairs.  And the next day’s never as bad.  When walking, go the opposite direction to the traffic, it’s much harder to jump on a bus!  Also bury your purse deep in your backpack so that it’s a real pain to get out if you pass a tempting snack en route.
  7. You don’t have to be a brilliant cook.  I am hopeless at cooking and I’ve an aversion to ready meals now but I can still throw together healthy bits and pieces.  There are healthy ready meals too by the way for when you’re desperate and if you’ve a few extra pennies that month.  I use COOKfood.net for those days.  I know it sounds a bit odd but half an iceberg lettuce doesn’t half bulk up Glorious! Sunny Thai Chicken Soup.  I do the same with broccoli or cabbage and other soups (but that’s a bit less odd as it’s not lettuce with something hot!).  If two thirds of your plate is green, you’re going to have a wonderful meal.
  8. Low cal favourites:  I love Highlights dark hot chocolate drink; sugar free jelly; philli light (garlic and herb) on Carr’s water biscuits; apple with thin spread of peanut butter; almonds; edamame (the nuts from M and S); mini Twister lollies; toast with marmite (no butter) and a poached egg – ooh I could go on forever and I’m getting really hungry thinking about this – aaagh!
  9. Presents:  ask for anything by Judith Beck (she has brilliant tips for diet and maintenance); a training session (if you’re in London) with Claire Cordell or a Zumba class with her (www.clairecordell.com); resistance bands and light free weights or flowers, you can’t beat flowers!
  10. Not for everyone this but for me, I responded well to NLP and hypnosis.  There are some wallies out there though so make sure it’s someone who’s been recommended.  I went to www.londonhypnosis.com and had some great sessions.  He’s got loads of my friends off cigarettes and certainly I’ve found the positive thinking and hypnosis really rewarding. 

Finally GOOD LUCK, please don’t give up.  Just stay at it and at it and at it.  The time’s going to pass anyway.  I intend to be on this site for a very long time, feel free to message me or follow me on twitter @EllaKenion

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* Note: The success stories published on Weight Loss Resources are written by WLR members, past and present, telling their own stories in their own words. As you will see if you read more than one or two of them, everyone's story is different and they have reached their success from a variety of starting points and lost weight at varying rates. Individual results may vary.

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