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REBOOT! The 12 week challenge

charm on a boatMeet Charm Walker Smith, 35, a press officer for the Stroke Association who lives with her boyfriend, Sebastian and cat, Sonny in central London.  This is week one of Charmian’s exclusive 12-week Reboot Challenge.  Check back regularly as Charm will be blogging weekly about the ups, downs, losses and gains (in we hope, all the right places) for Healthista. With pics. With measurements.  With details.

anya lahiriExercise
Attend three weekly classes at Barry’s Bootcamp, the new super-gym that has a huge celeb following in the US whose fans include Jessica Biel, Sandra Bullock and Katie Holmes.  It’s just opened a branch in London’s Euston where Charm will be guided through her paces by chief Barry’s instructor Anya Lahiri (left).
alli godbold
Diet  A total nutritional overhaul (no less) at the hands of Alli Godbold (above), nutritional therapist who has worked alongside chefs Charles Amos and Alan Wichart at Divertimenti Cookery Schools in Knightsbridge and Marylebone, author of Feed Your Health (£13.99 from Amazon and
selfies with date
Weight 8.28 stones
Height 4 foot 11 inches
Bust 36 inches
Waist 30.5 inches
Hips 37 inches
Top of thigh 22 inches
‘Have you ever been offered a seat on the London Underground?  It doesn’t happen often, a few months ago I was on a tube when a lady prodded my arm. She smiled and offered me her place. Delighted, I settled into the seat, it suddenly occured to me; ‘Oh Lord, she thinks I’m pregnant!’  I’m not pregnant and never have been.

‘This got me thinking, firstly, I should get a ‘baby on board’ badge it will clearly help me get a more comfortable journey to work. Secondly, I’ve let myself go a bit.  Weight has crept on and it’s particularly happy to settle around my middle. Clothes got tighter, but rather than do anything about it, new clothes in bigger sizes seemed an easier option. Now the new clothes in bigger sizes were starting to pinch too. I had planned another shopping trip, but the smiling lady had given me a wake-up call, the belly needs to go.

‘Being mistaken for pregnant was motivation enough, but there are other reasons why I want to do the Healthista Reboot challenge

1.      Health. I don’t take good health for granted. I work for the Stroke Association so I’m painfully aware of the dangers of high blood pressure (it is the single biggest risk factor for Stroke) the best way to avoid having high blood pressure is to have a healthy weight. A healthy weight also helps prevent the risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers.   I’ve got all 3 conditions in my family.

2.      Fitness. I was fit once, I remember I really enjoyed it. Endorphins are lovely. But self discipline isn’t a strong point, if I go for a run, it can often end up more of a walk… to the pub.  I need to be fit for August, I am going to France to meet my boyfriends family.  I want to make a good impression, bien sûr, there will cycling, riding, walking, swimming and this Rosbif intends to keep up.

3.      Vanity.  I put this one last as I didn’t want to look terribly vain, but most people want to look a bit better. It’s not a desire to conform to some unattainable ideal but I’m a bridesmaid in August, there will be photos, I’d like to have just the one chin in them.

The main task for week one was to meet my mentors.

Alli Godbold the nutritionist is giving me a personalized diet and Anya Lahiri is in charge of getting me fit at Barry’s Boot camp.

The first impression was that they are both strikingly beautiful ladies. I know that genetics is an important factor, but they both practice what they preach –they are walking testimony to their own expertise. But beauty is only skin deep, more importantly they are both terribly nice.

I met Alli at her gorgeous home in west London. I filled in a questionnaire that seemed approximately four thousand pages long and covered every element of my diet, health, habits. It was detailed and there were a lot of questions about stools. I am pretty bashful about that sort of thing. Alli on the other hand was cheerfully dismissive of my embarrassment, telling me that nutritionists are always talking about stools, I made a mental note not to speak to nutritionists at parties.

The problems I wanted to address are weight loss, digestion, fatigue, period cramps, and my habit of demolishing an entire cheese board in under 20 minutes. From the questionnaire Alli identified some specific issues and decided to start with weight loss and the possible causes for some of the sluggishness in digestion.  To address that I’d need to eliminate some things from my diet for a while. I have to cut out dairy and gluten, caffeine and alcohol. I ran an inventory of things I would not be able to eat and my head reeled. Perhaps sensing I might run a mile Alli gave me a weekly meal plan, suddenly the dark clouds of deprivation cleared as the food looked absolutely brilliant.  All my favourite things, avocado, fish, FAJITAS!

The diet, this week at least has been a total delight. Fantastic salads, filling breakfasts, a lot of variety that is often lacking in any regime I’ve tried before. I’ve not felt hungry once. However, the coming off caffeine and booze was astonishingly hard, it was a two day headache, a really bad two day headache, the sort that makes you want to lie in a darkened room.  If you’re planning a detox, do it over the weekend or take time off because I struggled.

Next I met Anya, at Barry’s Boot Camp. Barry’s is not like any gym I’ve ever seen before.  The smell of scented candles wafted, I waited on a low sofa opposite a smoothie bar, it was so low I couldn’t actually get up to say hello when Anya came over. Not only awkward it was also a fairly accurate indication of my level of fitness.  Lucky for me that Anya is far too encouraging and positive to let something like my fondness for sitting get in the way of becoming fit.

All the action takes place in classes in one large room that looks like a bit like a night club full of treadmills. Each class is split into two groups who alternate treadmills and floor work so you get a great combination of running and strength.

barry's treadmill room
The treadmill room at Barry’s is more like a nightclub than a gym

There’s no gentle warm up, there’s no soft option, you work out solidly for an hour and there is definitely no hiding from Anya if you try to slack off.  It is results driven, you are encouraged to compete against yourself and each other, which sounds competitive but class members are really supportive. At this stage I am still just trying to keep up and not be sick.  It is the hardest work out I’ve ever had, but it is clearly addictive. I know that because someone in the changing rooms told me it was addictive, it is just as well because after the first class I was so stiff I could hardly get up or down stairs and that sort of thing can dent a girl’s confidence.

Week one has been quite painful but I feel different and better. My family are convinced that they can see subtle results already, little things like clearer skin, rosier cheeks, pretty good signs as far…’

This week’s menu Breakfast – 2 poached eggs and crackers, Lunch  – Lentil and Tomato Soup, Dinner – Lemon chicken with chickpea and feta salad, Snack  – 35g raw nuts with a crispy green apple

This week’s workouts 1 x Butt and Legs session on Tuesday, 1 x Core and Abs session on Wednesday, 1 x Full Body on Sunday plus Highest speed on the treadmill 7 (for about 20 seconds…)





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