According to the House of Commons Library, 28 percent of adults are obese in England and carrying more bodyweight than deemed healthy can bring a whole host of problems, from joint and back pain which can, in turn, restrict movement, to a loss of muscle mass which can make an individual weaker. Basic home activities such as climbing the stairs, cleaning the house and bathing also become difficult. These are all things that Alex Athienitouis struggled with, but last year, when Britain experienced extreme heat for the summer, she experienced “blisters from her skin rubbing against itself” and explained how she “couldn’t even walk down the street without being in pain and having difficulty breathing”. In the space of 12 months, she has gone from a size 20 to a size 8. So how did she do it and how does she feel now?
Speaking about last summer, Alex said: “You need to wear less clothes in the summer [and because of this] my body issues and insecurities had never been worse, a change had to come.”
With gyms up and down the country closed, Alex didn’t know where to start with exercise and “working out in the park in front of other people, or even in the garden in the heat, was something that sent shivers down the spine”.
Alex considered all options and eventually decided that a gastric sleeve procedure was the best plan of action.
The operation removed 85 percent of Alex’s stomach, meaning simply that she couldn’t eat the amount she was able to before.
The weight fell and the initial results were astonishing, taking her from a size 22 to a size 10/12 in a matter of weeks.
But, being thinner didn’t necessarily equate to being fit, healthy – or happy and Alex “knew there was something missing”.
With two small children, Alex would see them playing games in the park and was “devastated” to not get involved.
“The results were dramatic, and I felt brilliant,” she explained. “However after the initial buzz died down I realised that just because I was smaller, I still wasn’t necessarily fit.
“I had a lot of loose skin, and my body still felt like it needed shape. I wanted to be stronger – and happier.”
Before the operation, Alex was unable to take part in any exercise, but having lost so much weight, she “seized the moment and began running”.
Starting off with small distances, Alex revealed “the effects on my mental health were profound”.
“I began feeling a sense of happiness and clarity that I had never experienced before,” she said. “It was amazing, I said to myself, this is what people have been saying about joggers high! From then on, there was no looking back.”
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In a bid to get even fitter, Alex researched Six Pack Revolution and booked herself onto the next session.
The program, founded by Scott Harrison, takes participants on a journey of self-discovery and life improvement, and involves 75 days of being told what to eat and drink, completing a daily exercise regime.
In a bid to add accountability, participants uploading a picture/video to a Facebook group as evidence.
The exercises are short but highly effective, taking 10-15 minutes per day with two sessions of 30 minutes a week.
And Alex completed the process at the end of July 2021, with a two week break to undergo a procedure to improve the stretch marks on her arms.
Having taken part in Six Pack Revolution, Alex went from a size 10/12 to a size eight, but the effects are more than just physical for her.
“I can genuinely say that the health and fitness plan has had a bigger impact on my life than the operation did,” she said.
“I can think more clearly, my memory has improved, I am happier, more energetic, I sleep better, and I look amazing.
“I’m not just thin, I am strong, healthy and my body is sculpted… I can’t believe I have abs! Something I never in my wildest dreams imagined would happen.
“I’m enjoying summer 2021 much more than I did summer 2020,” Alex added.
As for what daily meal plan Alex followed, a snapshot included:
- Mexican Quorn Burrito
- Chicken Madras
- Post-workout shake
- 2 meal replacement shakes
- Snacks included yoghurt, berries, and nuts
And some of the daily exercises included:
- Battle rope training
- Bodyweight training
- Abdominal training
- HIIT workouts