Weight Loss: Elaine Crowley's no pain no gain plan
WITH her huge brown eyes and Jessica Rabbit curves, Elaine Crowley is the envy of thousands of women across the country. For six weeks she has been doing a no pain, no gain challenge; a rigorous diet, exercise and beauty treatment regime designed to whip the Corkonian and her cohorts into shape.
In between sharing some x-rated banter with her fellow Midday panellists during our photoshoot, Elaine sits down to explain her motivation for starting the plan and offers up some advice for Irish ladies battling the bulge.
“This year is more about me showing the other girls the path. I’d love if I’d lost another stone but I have to get out of the mindset of ‘weight, weight, weight’. I’m proud of myself because I’m still a size 14-16 but I can do a photoshoot and not feel like a whale. Before, you wouldn’t have caught me dead doing a shoot like this
“I wasn’t intending to do the plan this year because it is so tough, but viewers were constantly texting in asking when it was starting, so by mid-January I said ‘feck it, I’ll do it’.”
At just 34 years of age, Elaine is already a veteran at TV3 – she appeared in her first broad
cast almost 12 years ago. However, the pressure of working in an image-obsessed industry has had an impact on her and she admits that she gets struck with bouts of self-consciousness.
“Anyone who says they aren’t self-conscious is lying. No matter how thin you are, how beautiful you are, everyone has things they don’t like about themselves.
“I like my hair and my eyes. But I hate everything from my ankles to my chin, and I’ve always hated my thighs. Even when I was quite thin I had chunky thighs. I’ve considered it all – plastic surgery and gastric bands – and I’ve been offered the procedures too, but I wouldn’t do it, not at the moment. Give me ten years and I might have changed my mind,” she laughs.
Elaine’s no pain, no gain plan, which involves cutting out carbs and alcohol, was a success – she lost seven pounds. However, she doesn’t recommend such drastic measures for the average woman as losing weight quickly often leads to putting it back on.
“Take baby steps, don’t take on too much too soon. Even if you just cut down on one cappuccino a day or just don’t have that extra glass of wine on a Saturday night when you’re watching TV. Tiny steps will make a difference and get you started, and you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. If you think you can’t have something you’ll want it more, if you’re anything like me.
“A lot of people can’t afford slimming clubs at ten or 12 quid a week. It is quite expensive. If
we all just make one little change a week it will make all the difference to our health.”
Her six-week stint might be over but Elaine intends to keep up her healthy lifestyle – and hopefully keep off the weight that she fought so hard to lose. After last year’s weight loss (and subsequent weight gain) she is determined not to make the same mistakes, but she admits that her battle with her weight is an ongoing struggle.
“Last year I was fiercely competitive about it, I was in the gym every morning before work. I was obsessed. Not one carbohydrate passed my lips, not one drop of alcohol. I was a complete nutcase. I lost 20 pounds, but six weeks later half of it was back on. Hopefully the slow drip, drip of the stone this year will stay off.
“But with me it’s a constant battle, if I even look at a sliced pan I put on a stone.
What is it all about?
The no pain, no gain challenge that the Midday girls took on is not a faddy diet, but more of a lifestyle overhaul. Each of them had a meal plan tailor-made to their needs, so while everyone was encouraged to avoid alcohol and carbohydrates, no one was struggling to stick to a diet that didn’t suit their lives.
They were all encouraged to eat regular meals and change their eating habits – cutting out white foods like pasta, bread and
sugary foods while focusing on the nutritional value of the food rather than the calorie content. They were allowed a cheat window where they could eat something they’d been craving. This would make them more likely to stick to their meal plans in the long-term.
Over six weeks, they worked out with a personal trainer, but they were also advised to exercise for 15 minutes a day with repetitions of six simple exercises (which can be viewed on the Midday website).
Paul Byrne from BodyByrne put the ladies through their paces over the past six weeks. He has worked as a personal trainer for 25 years and is an expert on nutrition. Here he share his top tips to help you on your own weight loss jounrey.
Paul: “A portion of food should be no bigger than the size of your fist. Portion control is the biggest obstacle to overcome.”
Have 5 meals a day
Paul: “By doing this you’ll be providing your body with consistent energy throughout the day, without overloading your system. You’ll keep your metabolism burning without your body to switch into starvation mode.”
Paul: “Eliminate all sugary drinks from your diet. Sugars, especially refined, simple sugars, elevate insulin levels (a storage hormone) and turn into fat when
not used immediately for energy. Sugar is just as big an enemy in the war against body fat as fat itself.
Avoid empty calories
Paul: “It makes more sense to consume a 150kcal can of tuna that contains protein than a 150kcal sugary coke. So choose foods such as brown rice, plain oatmeal, potatoes, tuna, chicken breasts, turkey, steamed veg and fruit.
Stop making excuses
Paul: “Getting in shape is as much a priority as going to work. There are so many benefits to exercise that depriving yourself would be a shame. So stop making excuses.”
©Sunday World Magazine