Gemma Atkinson – ‘Losing weight and getting fit has changed my life’
You would never tell by looking at Gemma Atkinson’s enviable size 10 figure, she once had body demons. “I’m the happiest, most confident I’ve ever been. I’ve got so much energy. I wake up feeling ready to go” The 5’9 actress, who’s now 10½st, is proud of her new toned figure and reveals there is no secret behind it; it’s all down to a healthy lifestyle.
This is why Gemma jumped at the chance to become a mentor the new series ‘Come Diet with Us’ “I wanted to help other women change their lives through healthy eating and exercise. I’m looking forward to helping women lose weight and look and feel their best, knowing you’ve boosted someone’s confidence is brilliant. I feel it is important to be strong and lean yet feminine, not too skinny or muscly. I do not think that’s attractive.”
However the actress has not always been this way, during her years on Hollyoaks she became depressed about her weight “Hollyoaks was an incredible time in my life but it would always be someone’s birthday, or we’d go out for a few drinks, then you’d end up eating a McDonalds to ease the hangover. We all worked very long hours whilst recording so I was eating the wrong things at the wrong time; I was always tired and had terrible skin. I went up to a size 12-14 and I weighed around 10st, which is actually lighter than I am now but it was all fat not muscle.
I know size 12-14 is not big, but it was more about how I felt.” It was the healthy influence of her footballer ex Marcus Bent who helped get her back in shape and current boyfriend, who has encouraged her to keep up the good work. “I got my fitness mojo back at 22. Over the past six years I’ve completely changed my lifestyle. I only drink on special occasions and Liam and I train together and cook healthy meals.” Gemma adds: “I understand that it is difficult for women with children to find time to try and lose weight, but if you set aside just 20 minutes a day to do a little bit of exercise, you’ll get fit and healthy and have more energy.”
The actress admits her disciplined regime isn’t for everyone, but she likes to exercise for 45 minutes, six times a week, doing a mix of kickboxing, toning classes and interval training at home.
Gemma’s typical diet will include smoked salmon with eggs for breakfast, chicken with asparagus, broccoli, spinach and wholegrain rice for lunch and for dinner it’s fish with veg. Throughout the day she will snack on carrots and houmous, bananas, nuts, or a boiled egg. She has revealed that she does like to have a cheat meal and a day off from work outs every Sunday. “It takes time to change bad habits, but quick results will spur you on.
Introduce exercise gradually, so your body gets used to it, even though you may not see changes in your body for three weeks, you’ll feel great mentally within a week.” Being healthy is not just about looking good for Gemma; it’s an insurance policy for old age. “You’ll feel stronger, handle stress better, plus you’re giving yourself the chance of a longer life. Tell yourself it’s not a diet, but a life-changing journey.”