The former Coronation Street actress has swapped fad diets for a fitness plan she can sustain
THE party season hasn't even started yet but we're already visualising the 2019 version of ourself who will emerge, butterfly-like and hangover-free, on 2 January. They will drink two litres of water a day, exercise five days a week, and consume nothing but cauliflower rice and bone broth. They will be pure and healthy and full of energy. At least until about 12 January when, fed-up and hungry, they'll revert back to two litres of wine at the weekend, and cheesy pasta five days a week.
Because as we all know, long-lasting behavioural change is difficult to achieve. Most diets don't last. Most exercise regimes fizzle out. Most of us start the year with identical resolutions to the year before.
If you think you can sustain a shake diet for the rest of your life, that’s going to get you nowhere. You’re not going to get the nutrients you need and it’s super unhealthy.
So what's the secret to creating a new you that lasts longer than the new year? Actress Catherine Tyldesley lost weight, shed body fat, and built strength and lean muscle on a 12-week programme at Ultimate Performance Fitness (U.P.) at their world-leading gym in Spinningfields.
But the gradual transformation in her diet, lifestyle and exercise habits over a number of years working with U.P. were, perhaps, more life-changing.
Catherine was extremely overweight as a teenager, weighing 95kg and wearing size 22 clothes.
Here she talks about why her old diet and lifestyle were making her overweight and unhappy, what she did to change that, the key lessons she learned, and how becoming a mum has enabled her to pass these invaluable lessons on training and nutrition onto her son, Alfie.
Thinking back to the bad old days, what was your diet and lifestyle like?
When I was obese, my diet was terrible. I would start the day with a sugar-laden cereal, sometimes followed by a bacon butty probably around 11am.
I would snack on biscuits and all the junk food. It was the decisions I made.
My parents were wonderful cooks and I had wholesome foods at home. As I became a teenager, and I was at high school, I would often call at the tuck shop.
It was just completely the wrong decisions and I wasn’t exercising. I was lazy. I will hold my hands up and say I was lazy and I was greedy.
But I also didn’t have confidence. So the suggestion of doing PE or playing netball or anything, I felt like I couldn’t do it because of how I felt mentally and physically about my body.
I’ve now done a complete turnaround. I’m completely the other way. I don’t want to put those foods in my body because I’m a mum now and I want to be around for as long as possible.
How has your lifestyle and health changed from those days by training with U.P.?
The difference from when I was really big to now is completely different. I used to get breathless walking up a flight of stairs.
I didn’t have any knowledge about food. I was sucked in by the diet industry.
These faddy diets and faddy shakes that promise you the world, don’t work. U.P. has made me realise that faddy diets don’t work and that it is absolutely about a lifestyle – and a lifestyle that you can sustain.
If you think you can sustain a shake diet for the rest of your life, that’s going to get you nowhere.
You’re not going to get the nutrients you need and it’s super unhealthy.
U.P. just teach you that, if it ran, swam or grew from the earth, eat it. Anything else probably isn’t that good for you.
How do you feel day-to-day now?
For my job, I need to feel my best. My tools are my voice and my body and I need to feel prepared for anything as an actor.
I need to feel confident that if I do need to walk around in a little nightie in a play, or whatever, then I want the confidence to do that.
If I need to play a soldier then I want to embrace that side of it.
Then just as a mum, Alfie is three and he runs rings around me.
It’s wanting to be fit and healthy for him and to be on this earth for as long as possible.
Has working with U.P. given you the knowledge you need as a parent to give your child the best?
The knowledge that I have gained from U.P. over the years is absolutely priceless.
I want to make sure that as a family we stay active and we look after our bodies and that we’re eating the right things, and you really get that education from U.P.
It’s not the case that you come in and train and that’s it. The trainers are always there to give you that help and advice whenever you need them, be it in the gym or in the kitchen.
I think that it is priceless. It’s life-changing.
Moving forward, I would never go back to my old lifestyle because I feel so much better now.
Read how Catherine changed her diet to achieve a lasting body transformation.
Has that changed how you eat together as a family?
We make a real point as a family of keeping active. We love going out and on long walks.
In terms of food, we will make a paleo picnic when we go on a long walk and we get Alfie involved with that.
We have started growing our own vegetables, believe it or not. It’s so much easier than I thought it was going to be, we’re saving ourselves loads of money and we’re eating our own produce.
Alfie gets to see the whole process and he’s so excited.
I think it’s just proving to yourself that it’s not rocket science. It’s small changes and simple little things that can just help you and your family feel better.
I’m really passionate about sharing the knowledge that I have, as most people are who come to U.P. It’s just so fascinating and because it’s a lot simpler than you think, you do want to share that with people and other families.
Read about the training plan behind Catherine's body transformation.
How does training and the knowledge you learn here about keeping fit help you in everyday life?
You can do three sessions a week and maintain what you want to maintain and just keep active in between, which we love as a family anyway.
There is so much that you can do outside of the gym, and U.P. give you the tools to do that.
I know if I can’t get to the U.P. gym, there are quick and easy sessions I can do at home.
We want to encourage Alfie to be outdoors. We don’t want him to be sat indoors on the iPad. We want him to be coming on long walks with us or playing football with us in the garden.
We started to do what I call ‘hench momma workouts’ where I take him to the park, and he’d be on the swing, and every time I pushed him I would squat, which sounds ridiculous, and you might get a few funny looks, but after three minutes of doing those squats, you start to feel the burn.
We make recipes together now that have been massively inspired by U.P., but they are family recipes that are easy to make, they don’t cost the earth, that I can get Alfie involved with, that I can stick in the freezer, that I can take to lunch the next day.
It’s about taking what you need from this place. I feel that they are life-skills and I just want to share it with everybody.
Want to create lasting lifestyle change in 2019? Get in touch with U.P.
Offer: Quote Man Con to get six weeks of Group Training at U.P. for £349 instead of £399.