Laura Hamilton talked to Female First at the beginning of her weight loss and exercise journey. She is hoping to get her body back to where it was before she had children, so we caught up with her to find out how she's getting on.
How are you feeling both physically and emotionally after your first few weeks on the new diet plan and exercise regime?
I'm feeling good because I'm starting to see a result which is brilliant. I have had a couple of instances- one for example was on Monday when I did a 4k run in 23 minutes and I didn't have enough water. I ended up getting ridiculously bad headaches and I was sick. I didn't have enough water and it's easy to forget to eat when I am looking after my children. I am trying to cram in all this exercise and I am not looking after myself as well as I perhaps should.
Can you tell us about the exercises you have been doing?
With John Beeby, I am doing lunges with weights, squats, using fitness balls, loads of boxing, lots of ab work like sit-ups and leg exercises. John has a gym at his house, so I went there on one occasion and it was really good because he has a little mini gym in there and I did a mini circuit. I am doing anything and everything to the point where it's becoming addictive. I sent John a message saying that the training is addictive.
I went on location with work in Manchester last week and I didn't take my gym stuff. The hotel had a gym and I wanted to train. I ended up running in my Toms because I just wanted to run. A guy that was working in the gym- said to me 'you haven't got the appropriate footwear have you? You are making quite a lot of noise on the running machine' and I said I was sorry!
Before I got married, I did quite a lot of running and skipping and that was how I lost weight. Even though I hate running it's where I find the best results. John is encouraging me to get my running back. I was doing 5k in 25 minutes, so I am trying to get back up to that.
You have mentioned that it's addictive, so did you ever feel like that before with exercise?
When I started this and I started to see results, it's got quite addictive. When I last spoke to you I wasn't seeing any results. It was annoying me- I kept asking 'why is nothing happening to me, it's taking ages and I'm not really losing anything'. All of a sudden I have lost weight. Now because I am starting to see results, it is spurring me on.
Initially I was saying to John 'I don't get it', I was desperate to get on the scales and go from 10 to something that starts with a nine. When that happened it was amazing- but it's not been an easy process.
I was at an event last night and I was chatting to someone I know and she told me I look great (last time I saw her I was heavily pregnant). I said to her that it's not easy, I am doing the 5:2 diet and I am exercising as much as I can. But I see people like Abbey Clancy in a bikini who looked stunning only 12 weeks after she had her baby. I feel like- I don't look like that! How many women does that happen to? It's certainly not happened to me that's for sure.
What is a typical day like for you in terms of what you eat on your new diet plan?
On the 5:2 diet- on the fast days, which I am on the first of my two days now- I would have something like vegetable couscous for lunch and carrot and coriander soup on an evening. These are both calorie controlled meals which both amount to 500 calories which is what eat on my fast days. The meals are sent to me by Fast Diet Kitchen. Ordinarily on my non fast days I would eat something like Weetabix for breakfast, for lunch I would have a prawn and avocado salad. For my evening meal, I might have salmon with spinach and sweetcorn.
With this diet it makes you revaluate and reassess what you do eat on your five days. It stops you from eating a load of rubbish and makes you more calorie conscious. I have cut out chocolate and crisps and I am trying not to eat too much bread. I am hoping that is going to work, but working with John, he has said that going forward I shouldn't have to follow to 5:2 diet.
I filled in a food diary and he sent it to a nutritionist who gave me food plan. It said when you train you need this percentage protein and carbohydrates and you need to be eating to fuel your system- so that's been quite interesting. It's all about eating right- but it's so hard when you are on location filming or at work normally or I am looking after the children it's a serious challenge.
You are making progress now- but when it was happening slower than you liked- can you tell us how you coped with that mismatch from your initial expectations?
I kept saying to John 'I don't get it, I don't see much weight coming off'. He keeps motivating me by saying ' You have got to stick with it, your body is adjusting. You have had a baby, you were breastfeeding. You stopped breastfeeding and your body is completely readjusting to everything'. I do think it helps to have someone train you because it helps to motivate you massively. It's just the fact that he keeps telling me- 'just stick with it'.
I was weighing myself on my ordinary bathroom scales and it was saying one thing. When I went to his home gym, he weighed me on his medical scales they said that I weighed 4 pounds less than my own scales were saying at home. He told me that the bathroom scales you buy in a high street store aren't calibrated so they aren't as accurate as the medical scales. That made me feel better because it showed me that I had lost a few more pounds then I had at home.
What are you struggling with the most?
I think the thing I struggle with the most is eating right for the exercise I do. What I am really struggling with is when I am away on location like I am this week for example. I trained on Monday and I travelled in the evening to Bristol, because I am filming there today and tomorrow. I am back on Friday to look after my children. The hotel I am in doesn't have a gym and I can't guarantee that where I am staying is going to have facilities or not. If it doesn't, the weather has been bad lately so I can't go out for road run and I don't have anywhere to train.
I am trying things like taking my skipping rope with me and doing mini circuits in my hotel room. That is quite hard when you are with the crew and we are going out for drinks and things. As it is I feel I have to be disciplined. On my fast days when I am filming, they are getting all this lovely food on location and I am snacking on bits out of the snack box and I am telling people I am on my fast day so I can't eat.
It is harder than you think but I did a voice over yesterday for A Place in the Sun. The show I was doing the voiceover for was only 4 weeks after I had Tahlia. I couldn't believe how big I looked. I took a photo of myself. It's on my twitter because I sent it to my trainer to prove that the weight is coming off. People are going to watch the show and think I'm pregnant. It was only 4 weeks after I had given birth but I think you have this image of yourself in your head. I thought I was a certain size and when I look back I am like 'wow' I was big. I think having photographs like that help- that is why I have my photograph from my honeymoon- that is my motivation for what I want to get back to.
What have you found to be the easiest part of this process is it the running because you had done it before?
I knew that I was able to run 5K before I got married; I have used that as a goal to try and achieve which I'm not at yet. Clearly I need to drink more water when I'm working out. My husband said to me that I have responsibilities now- and not to be ridiculous- that I shouldn't make myself ill over this. He can see how desperate I am to get back in shape and how I feel the pressure because of what I do. TV does make you look bigger than you are. I don't love running but I am now doing 4K in 23 minutes so I have got to try and get to 5K in 25 minutes.
How have you found balancing your new diet plan and exercise regime with your responsibilities as a mum and a wife?
I have a running machine at home so once I have given the children their breakfast- I say to Alex- ' it's over to you while I do my exercises'. While he is worried about me and my water intake, he says it's really commendable what I'm doing. He thinks it's really impressive given that I am a mum, I work and I'm a wife. I have all these responsibilities and I'm not resting on my laurels and saying 'I can't be bothered'. I sent him a text message the other day saying 'I'm really motivated to do this for work and for you' and he just said and 'what about you?' I want to do it for me too but I realise that image is part of my job and that it's important. It's not just about image; it's about a healthy lifestyle too.
What advice would you have for other women who want to embark on a commitment such as yours?
I would say doing the 5:2 has massively helped me on my fasting days. I am really enjoying that. If you can work with a personal trainer and you are able to do exercises at home, you don't have to go to a gym for that. Someone could come to your house and help you work out. That makes life so much easier because you can do it when the children are sleeping. It is hard to get childcare to nip off to the gym. I would feel guilty. When I can have someone come to the house when the kids are in bed asleep, it makes me feel less guilty.
I know personal trainers can be quite expensive. If there are other women that you have met with babies then maybe make an afternoon of it where someone comes to one of your houses and trains three of you at the same time. The babies could sleep next to one another while you train.
What are your hopes for the next time we talk?
I would love to get down to 9 stone. I think at the moment, I am at 9 stone 9lbs. It is my mission to get down to 9. When you have a caesarean, you end up with the overhang, which is horrible. I text John and said ' I am not sure that I am ever going to get rid of that' and my stomach flat again. He told me that we are not really going to know until I am down to my target weight that I want to be at. We are not going to know if we can tone my body and create that shape. He told me 'little by little', this is not a process that is going to happen overnight. Let's just focus on getting to the 9 stone, as that is my next goal.
Hopefully, the next time I speak to you I will be there. To some people it might not sound too heavy, but I am only 5 ft. 2 inches. I am used to my weight sitting at about 8 stone 6 so that is still a stone heavier than I would normally be.
Top tips from John Beeby on exercising after pregnancy
A women's experience of pregnancy can vary based on multiple factors during and post pregnancy. In Laura Hamilitons case the unexpected 2nd cesarean brought together a whole set of emotional factors to deal with. How you deal with and cope with such situations can rely your on personality, beliefs systems and the social support around you. The physiological, biomechanical and psychological changes during this time will be a challenge to the women's ability to cope. By making the right choices you will maximise the opportunity to make a difference. I have five top tips to help anyone going through a similar situation:
1) Make time for you
It's very easy to spend all your time looking after everyone else and giving no time back to yourself. This over time only leads to exhaustion and an unhealthy you. Take time out everyday to spend some quality time doing something that you want to do and giving you some time back.
2) Planning and Setting Goals
Preparation is so important in organising your life. Things can be overwhelming during these times and make dealing with the simplest of tasks stressful. Learn how to prioritise and manage your time. Setting goals can be a useful way to help set targets and structure your tasks to help manage expectations.
The introduction of exercise has many benefits both physically and mentally, usually introduced 6-8 weeks post pregnancy depending on the delivery. It is important to train the body that facilitates its balance, alignment and strength development especially post pregnancy. Working within your limits and gradually building the intensity over time.
4) Positive Outlook
Focus on what's in your control and less on what is outside of it. It's easy to criticise and making rash decisions so take your time and stay positive towards your goals.
5) Be Patient
The body will have gone through a big change so try to manage your expectations. Self doubt can creep in and challenge your thought process but remember everything takes time and overnight changes are limited to unrealistic expectations.
It would seem that Laura's confidence is coming back and with big change must come new hair! As we can see from her Instagram images- she is sporting a new bob!
Laura Hamilton presents A Place In The Sun, which returns to C4 later this month, and C5's Cowboy Builders and Bodge Jobs. Follow Laura and John on twitter @laurahamiltontv @JohnBeebyPT and learn more about John here johnbeebypt.com