Kelly: From Rock Bottom to Feeling Amazing in 18 Weeks
When you’re at your lowest point in life, the only way is up.
Kelly felt like she’d hit rock bottom with her health, her body and her confidence.
The 34-year-old had gone from doing triathlons to seeing her weight spiral out of control - and she was desperately unhappy.
That’s when she reached out to Ultimate Performance to make a change.
Now she is almost unrecognisable after making a stunning 18-week transformation - something she believed wouldn't even be possible in 18 months.
Her hard work and dedication helped her get on top of her polycystic ovary syndrome, lose 15kg and get back to feeling her happy and confident self.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that UP has changed my life for the better. I’m the happiest (and smallest!) I’ve ever been in myself and won’t ever let myself slip back into my old ways.
"I feel so great now that I never want to let this feeling go. I feel like UP has given me the fundamentals to continue my journey.”
Here UP Mayfair Client of the Month Kelly explains how she lost weight so quickly and got control of her diet, and outlines her six best tips that helped achieve her body transformation
What were your motivations going into the UP programme?
I emailed the team at UP at the lowest point I’d ever reached. My weight had spiralled out of control, and I was desperately unhappy. I’d lost sight of ‘me,’ and my self-confidence was in tatters.
I was a shadow of the person I wanted to be and didn’t know where to turn. Slowly over a few years, I’d gone from being fit and healthy, competing in triathlons, to a fat lazy blob.
I wasn’t exercising; I was drinking too much and making poor food choices.
I’d taken a job commuting between London and Paris and saw a UP advert in the plane magazine; something just clicked, and I decided to check them out on social media.
I was instantly astounded by the results and decided that I needed to make a change. I sent them a message sat on the runway and went in and signed up two days later.
It felt like fate; like it was meant to be.
If I’m honest, I didn’t think I’d be one of those amazing transformations.
I was confident that UP would help me shift some excess weight and help me get back into a routine, but I thought it would take a full year or 18 months to get into a decent place physically. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined looking like I do after only 18 weeks.
How were you feeling both physically and mentally before starting with UP?
Before I started at UP, I was a complete mess. I’d managed to hide my size cleverly from others by dressing to not show my lumps and bumps, but physically I’d really let myself go.
I’d ballooned to a size 14, and I was the largest I’d ever been.
I was carrying lots of my weight around my tummy, which I blamed on having PCOS - a medical condition that makes it tough to lose weight.
In hindsight that was just an excuse.
My face was puffy, my skin had a grey tone to it, and my cardiovascular fitness was dreadful. On top of that my blood pressure was high and my BMI was in an unhealthy range.
Mentally, I was at rock bottom. To the outside world I continued to be the outgoing, bubbly person people knew and loved, but internally I was bitterly unhappy.
I lacked any self-confidence, I’d stopped being as social as I was before and lacked any drive and motivation professionally. I felt like I was coasting along, not loving life to the full and that life was slipping by. I’d lost my spark.
What was your diet and lifestyle like before you started?
When I joined UP, I was flying weekly. Early starts meant poor quality sleep, and time differences in different countries didn’t help either.
I’d think nothing of having bacon baps and pastries at the airport. I’d grab calorific foods on the go, relying on sugar to give me energy and I’d often ‘reward’ myself in the evenings at the hotel with desserts and wine.
When I wasn’t travelling, I’d be fairly healthy, cutting out carbs and eating salads midweek that didn’t really fill me up. I’d snack on foods I thought were healthy, but actually had lots of calories.
At weekends I’d treat myself any undo any good work built up during the week.
As a result, I found my weight would yo-yo up and down. This was really demotivating, so I just stopped trying eventually.
I wasn’t exercising at all and hardly walked anywhere, taking cabs for work and being stationary in meetings at work all day.
I just used the excuse that I was busy and didn’t have time, which in hindsight was nonsense. I was quite intimidated by the gym as I didn’t really know what to do, so I avoided it at all costs.
My poor diet gave me zero energy and made me lethargic. I was using food and alcohol as a comfort blanket to mask how I was feeling, and I was in a terrible vicious circle that I couldn’t break.
How did your diet and lifestyle change when you started with UP?
From the day I started at UP, my diet and lifestyle completely changed.
I’d never really cared about what I was putting into my body, but now I’m far more self-aware.
Me and carbs aren’t friends anymore, but I’m okay with that! For me personally, they made me bloated and didn’t really agree with me.
Reducing my carb intake has been a revelation and something which I’ll definitely continue with.
I’ve found it really easy to make sensible swaps and honestly haven’t missed them. Strangely, I feel like I have more energy not having them in my diet.
I haven’t really found the diet aspect of the transformation difficult at all, and I’ve been extremely disciplined about what I’ve eaten. It’s been clear, straightforward and very easy to follow.
I don’t really feel like I’m on a diet. I actually eat more now than I did before I started at UP
I do track my calories on a fitness tracker, and it’s been extremely interesting to understand more about what’s in various foods. It’s all so easy to do; it takes seconds.
Cooking more at home has been extremely eye-opening. Being better prepared and having more home-cooked meals has helped my bank balance and meant I’ve been able to manage my diet easily. I’m biased, but think it’s tastier too! I’ve got great Tupperware nowadays as well!
I still eat out so don’t feel restricted about having a life outside of my training. My trainer Simon told me that there’s always a sensible food option wherever you eat and that’s a mantra I now live by. It’s so true and a really easy principle to follow.
Exercise is something I now look forward to, and I feel really confident in the gym.
I train 5-6 days of the week and always make sure I get a rest day. I do a mix of weights, which I adore, and a little bit of cardio.
I’ve had days where I could have easily not bothered doing it, but I get a real buzz from exercise and feel a million times better once I’ve done a session. It gives me so much more energy, even when I’m really tired. It helps my mood as well.
What effect did this have on your health, performance, lifestyle and energy levels?
I’ve found that every aspect of my life is better than it was before I started at UP
My BMI is in the normal range now, my blood pressure is healthy, and my cardiovascular fitness level is through the roof - according to my Fitbit tracker it’s excellent now!
I’ve found I have far more energy and focus and that is doing wonders for me at work.
I get so much more done and feel really productive. I’ve got my drive back, and I’m more motivated than ever to progress my career.
Personally, I’m more confident and happier in my own skin which is really having a positive impact on my relationships with my partner, family and friends.
How did you find the training and did it fit around your busy lifestyle?
I’ve loved my training, so it’s never felt like a chore. For me, it’s something I look forward to, and it’s genuinely the highlight of my day.
I’ve been smart about scheduling my training around any travel and set aside a specific time during my day, so I know other things can’t get in the way when I’m home in London.
If I’ve been travelling, I’ve been able to get in gym sessions in the hotel gym, or if that’s not been possible, I’ve made sure I take a long walk.
I’ve made a very active decision to stop using my busy work life as an excuse not to train.
I also made sure I signed up to a gym close by my house that opens 24/7.
That means I never have to worry about the time I want to train. That flexibility, alongside my structured training sessions at UP, has been super helpful.
Whether it’s been a training or cardio session, it’s only an hour maximum out of my day, so I’ve always been able to fit it in.
What were your results like after your transformation?
My results have been incredible, and I’m absolutely blown away by what I've been able to achieve. It’s hard to put into words because I’ve never expected to do this well.
I started off thinking I’d lose 5-6kg if I was lucky, and it’s been over 15kg which is 25% of my starting body weight. That’s a whole quarter of me, which is completely bonkers.
I look at the picture on my first day and honestly don’t recognise that person anymore.
It’s like I’ve shrunk! Every part of me is significantly smaller, and I now feel like the size I should be.
I’m the tiniest I’ve ever been, and people don’t recognise me anymore. My partner of 10 years didn’t spot me in a crowd the other day because he says I look so different!
I’m now a size 6/8, and it was the best feeling ever walking into a shop and having to get the fitting room assistant to get me a smaller size.
I feel amazing. I’m brimming with confidence and have a constant smile on my face.
What were the most important things you learned during your transformation?
I’ve learned so much in my time at UP:
1. To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. Previously I’d been eating foods that were calorie dense and didn’t offer much nutritional value. I had no clue just how much I was eating on a daily basis. Tracking my calories now means I make good choices, I eat more than I did before and feel fuller than ever. It’s win-win.
2. There’s no easy way or quick fix to losing weight. It takes hard graft, and you really do get back what you put in. Lots of people have asked what the secret is to my transformation; it’s plain old hard work!
3.There are always smart food choices - it doesn’t matter where you are, there is always an option that’s better for you. You just need the discipline to reject the bad stuff!
4. Make time for exercise. There’s no point in making excuses. There’s always time in the day to fit it in.
5. Walk more. Get off the tube a stop earlier, take the stairs rather than the lift. Take a wander in your lunch break, and if you're busy, just walk about the office between meetings, even if it’s five minutes.
6. Trust the process. When on paper you’ve been perfect in terms of diet, training, sleep etc., but it’s not reflected on the scales or visually - don’t get stressed out, the drops will come, be patient!
How has doing this transformation changed you and do you think it will benefit you going forward?
It’s no exaggeration to say that UP has changed my life...for the better. I’m the happiest (and smallest!) I’ve ever been in myself and won’t ever let myself slip back into my old ways. I feel so great now that I never want to let this feeling go.
And I feel like UP has given me the fundamentals to continue my journey.
I’m much more aware of the impact food and exercise has on my body. I feel confident in the gym and have reignited my love for training once again.
I can’t wait to set more goals and see what I’m able to achieve. UP have opened my eyes to show me just how capable I am.
Would you recommend UP and why?
I couldn’t recommend UP highly enough. They are truly the best at what they do.
The level of expertise and professionalism throughout my transformation has been amazing.
The trainers are world class.
Their knowledge and ability to personalise a programme to an individual's needs is extremely impressive.
I’ve loved their 360 approach to the transformation - looking at diet, exercise, sleep, digestion, hormonal impact, etc.
It’s really given a brilliant picture of my progress and helped us navigate my journey in great detail.