Eight weeks ago, Charmian Walker-Smith set out to do a 12 week body challenge with Healthista. The aim was to lose a stone, tone up and get fit with help from celebrity gym haunt Barry’s Bootcamp, London and Alli Godbold, nutritionist.
In her Reboot Body Blog, Charm’s been blogging her progress for Healthista.com. Six weeks in, she’d lost 3/4 of a stone in weight and a total of eight inches, four of those from her waist and dropped from 21 per cent body fat to an astonishing 12 per cent
In week seven Charm was on holiday and sent a dispatch from her hotel lobby. Today, she’s just back from her travels and tells us about celebrating her bikini body with some fine French food and a picture of her in a bikini for that interweb thingie. The results are nothing short of amazing
I’m back from my travels and I tell you, it is not easy to diet in France. Here are some of the delights and the many pitfalls of trying to maintain a nutritional approach to food and fitness in the land of Marianne.
Diet vs french food
I’m not the first person to observe that French cuisine is pretty nice, but it’s also surprisingly diet friendly. Alli gave me a holiday survival guide which had really easy tricks to stick to the diet principles and some dishes to avoid, anything ‘dauphinoise’ is covered in cream and cheese. She warned that the bread basket is big temptation as are the typical breakfast pastries. However, there were loads of lovely options that are high in protein and vegetables, steak tartare is on most menus as is salad nicoise. I also had a dish called Chou Farci and it is absolutely delicious. It’s basically stuffed cabbage made from pork wrapped in cabbage and herbs and lentils, it is so much more flavourful than it sounds.
Diet vs French booze
Alli was very specific about the perils of holiday alcohol, she said nurse two glasses of wine with each evening meal. I tried, but France has lovely wines, and lovely aperitifs, and lovely digestifs, and did I mention the wines? I was in the area where Chateauneuf du Pape is made and sight seeing can be thirsty work, so the eventually wines won out.
Diet vs generous hosts
I love being a guest of generous hosts, and they don’t come much more generous than the absolutely wonderful family I was with. But there is a fine line between having dietry restrictions and seeming like a totally ungrateful prick, it’s not a line I care to cross, ever. Day after day I came down to dinner at a table heaving with local delicacies, carefully bought or prepared for our arrival, it was a festival of cheesy, meaty, pastry-y heavenliness. There was no way out, the most I could do is pray I’d do enough sight-seeing to walk it off.
Diet vs language fails
I try to speak the language of any country I go to, even if it is only a few words, it seems horribly rude not to try. I felt pretty confident about communicating in france. Like most Brits I have GCSE French, and I speak Italian, and just to brush up I also did a course for 10 weeks at the Institut Francais purely so I could negotiate French menus. Yet despite all my efforts somehow my request for a chicken salad was interpreted as a large chicken salad baguette, smothered in mayo, garnished with chips.
I genuinely don’t know how it happened. Nor does my boyfriend and his french is fluent.
I ate it all.
I REGRET NOTHING.
Fitness vs France
Before I came on holiday I did a body composition consultation at Barry’s. It measures your weight and body fat percentage and other things, it’s pretty comprehensive. I wrote down a bunch of figures on a bit of paper which I’ve now lost, annoyingly however I do know that my body fat had diminished, a lot. At the start of the course I was 21 per cent fat, before my holiday that had changed to 12 per cent, a reduction on 9 per cent!!! I was soooo pleased, I’m not sure how true this success will still be after two weeks of eating and holiday but I did try to keep my fitness up. I went riding, I swam and ran a few times, running is quite a lovely way to get to know a foreign city. I even voluntarily got on a treadmill at the final hotel and did 5km in 30 minutes, it was a bit like being at Barry’s except no weights or buff men taking their shirts off.
I don’t know how much weight I’ve put on as I don’t own scales but I’ll get another body composition to find out but I do know that my measurements haven’t changed much which is amazing. I thought I’d put on loads of weight round my waist until I realised I had the tape measure the wrong way round. In fact I’m almost the same shape I was before I left but my bust is a little larger and that’s not entirely a bad thing.
Charmian’s starting measurements:
Charmian’s Week 8 measurements
Bust 35 inches Waist 26.5 inches Hips 35.5 inches Legs 21 inches.
The dreaded bikini shot
In all honesty I don’t want a picture of me, in a bikini, on the interwebs, it’s mortifying. I’m an extrovert not an exhibitionist, I’ve genuinely lost sleep about putting up a picture of me in a bikini. Will it ruin my political ambitions? Well no, as it happens you can see pictures of Obama and Cameron in their swimmers all over the net. What if future employers google me? What if my unborn grand children google me and see me ‘flaunting my curves’ as the Daily Mail would say…? And then my lovely boyfriend pointed out the internet is full of much worse stuff and I look healthy and fit so there’s nothing to be ashamed of, I’ve worked pretty hard to get a flat stomach. So with a deep breath and a hearty wave to my future employers here’s a shot.
Fitness – Anya Lahiri Charm attends 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).
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