Sunday 15 September 2019

13 Weeks ‘til 30: Vicki Notaro's last ditch effort to slim down before her milestone birthday

"For the subsequent three years I’ve either been “good” or “bad”, on the wagon or off."

Brown Thomas
Brown Thomas
Vicki Notaro tries on size 12 jeans in seven different high street stores

Vicki Notaro

It’s that time of year again.

The nights are drawing in, it’s getting chilly and, right on schedule, the longing to hibernate and eat pretty much everything in sight is upon me. Most of us are guilty of it in the autumn – the lure of hiding behind woolly jumpers and vegging on the couch on dark evenings is often stronger than hitting the gym and eating salads, right?

This year though, I’ve vowed that things will be different. Because in January I turn 30, and I simply can’t enter a new decade of my life with the same bad habits (and let’s be honest, bad attitude) I’ve had towards fitness for pretty much my entire life.

Let me explain. I used to be naturally thin and until I was 25, I never really thought about my weight much. I know, I know – not fair. But since then, it’s been a pretty much constant concern. Of Italian descent, I have boobs and hips, and once I hit my mid-twenties they started to expand, as they do when you eat chocolate and pasta like they’re going out of fashion, and are fond of a glass (or four) of wine… several times a week.

So back in 2012, I undertook a fitness challenge for a newspaper. In ten weeks, I was to drop a dress size and fit in to a TINY little black dress in time for Christmas. I didn’t expect it to be easy I guess, but I wasn’t prepared for the complete diet and lifestyle overhaul (bye to most carbs, chocolate and wine) and five workouts a week. It worked – well, of course it did – and I dropped over 20lbs. But, against the advice of pretty much everyone, I also developed an “all or nothing” mentality.

For the subsequent three years I’ve either been “good” or “bad”, on the wagon or off. I’ll “eat clean” and exercise four times a week for a month, and then do nothing for another two months but eat curry and go out. Every health expert ever will tell you that yo-yo dieting wreaks havoc on the body, and at this point I’m just so sick of the ups and downs.

Vicki is on a mission to enter the next decade of her life without
Vicki is on a mission to enter the next decade of her life without "the same bad habits"

But I know where I’ve been going wrong – I’ve been attempting a complete personality change every time, instead of a lifestyle change. I’m a person who reviews bars and restaurants for a living, loves to eat out and quaff Prosecco, and feels desperate at the thoughts of living a completely pizza-less life. So instead of pretending I’d be happy cutting all the things I love out, I’ve realised I must actually embrace moderation and find motivation… two words I’m not very familiar with. I know I’m going to have to cut right back on all the finer things in life if I want to see results.

I’m not massively overweight, but I’m heavier than I should be and the older I get, more little pockets of fat are developing in unsightly places. If I’m honest, my changing body shape has been getting me down. As well as all the shallow reasons though, there are proper health concerns – I suffer from breathing problems and hereditary high cholesterol, both of which worsen with weight gain. 

It’s time to make a change. So what better way to force myself in to a long-term transformation than to chronicle my journey here? Through pictures, vlogs and columns, I will take you with me on my adventure. This isn’t about dropping three stone quickly and then going right back to my old habits – it’s about finding balance, consistency, and (gulp) pleasure in being active.

My goals are simple over the next 13 weeks:

*Find a way of exercising that I actually like and look forward to.

*Keep it up, even when I’m busy, tired or stressed.

*Lose around one stone or 6kg, and inches off my hips, thighs and bingo wings.

*Develop healthier habits in general and make better choices when out and about – lose the gluttonous mentality that’s getting worse and worse.

Vicki Notaro has set herself a weight loss challenge ahead of her 30th birthday in January.
Vicki Notaro has set herself a weight loss challenge ahead of her 30th birthday in January.

*And… I would like to look fabulous in the short, skin-tight, size 10 black lace dress I’ve bought to wear on my 30th birthday in January. There’s no point in doing it if I don’t have some sort of target, right?

This 13 week period is extra interesting, because it spans the entire Christmas party season, meaning I’m going to have to keep my goals in sight during the weeks we all normally let ourselves go and devour everything in sight.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 27th October, I have my first meeting with my new trainer Mairead at 1escape in Smithfield. She’s going to be keeping an eye on me in the gym, devising strength and cardio routines and advising on complementary classes I should be taking, as well as keeping me motivated and taking my vital measurements.

I’m also going to try a smorgasbord of different classes and workouts, because a) I don’t want to get bored and b) I’m hoping I hit on something I absolutely adore and want to do three times a week for ever more. My list of things to try includes Reformer Pilates, Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts, Trampolining, Aerial Yoga and Pole Dancing, among others.

AND I’m going to be exploring alternative delicious recipes to my fatty faves, chronicling my attempts at eating better and keeping an HONEST food diary.

Wish me luck! And come back every Monday to find out how I’ve been getting on… and what on earth I’ve got myself in to.


These are all my own measurements – Mairead will take proper ones this week, and I’m interested (and terrified) to see if they vary.

Height: 5’6.5

Weight: 12 stone exactly (76.2kg)

Bust: 36F

Dress/jeans size: I’ve been wearing a 12, but I’m probably more like a 13.

BMI: 26.9 (Over 25 is overweight)

Mood: Oddly excited, and actually sick of being a glutton. Let’s do this!

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