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Strong women stay slim

Find out how Joanna Vuranel went from a size 20 to a size 8 with the Fit Squad team
When Joanna Vuranel’s three-year-old son started wanting to copy her bad eating habits, she realised she had to get a grip on her diet.

The 36-year-old solicitor was a size 10 before having Zac, but piled on three and a half stone during her pregnancy.
By last June Jo, from Hastings, East Sussex, weighed 14st and, at 5ft 4in, was a size 20. She says: “I didn’t want Zac growing up eating the kind of junk I did.
“Also, my doctor told me that I was borderline diabetic and I really didn’t want to end up taking drugs all my life and to always feel so lethargic.
“That was the turning point. I’m now down to 8st 12lb and am a size 8 which feels great.”

Jo says: “I’d start the day with a sugary breakfast cereal like Crunchy Nut Cornflakes then by break-time was chomping on chocolate wafer biscuits. Lunch was a big cheese and pickle sandwich from the bakery with crisps and a chocolate bar.
“I’d snack mid-afternoon and dinner was like a roast chicken with Yorkshire pudding and lots of roast potatoes.
“Evenings I’d eat half a packet of Custard Creams, ice cream and chocolate wafers.”
Diet expert Amanda Ursell says: “The good news was that Jo was already eating three meals a day.
“We just needed to tweak the contents to reduce the calories and choose foods that would keep her feeling full.
“Breakfast needed to be a slowly digested cereal like porridge or boiled eggs with toast.
“At lunchtime her big sandwich needed to be swapped for something like a lean ham and salad roll or a big tuna salad. For dinner, her roasts could stay but with baked potato and lots of veg instead of Yorkshire puddings.
“Baked potatoes with beans and salad always make an easy, healthy, low-GI supper. As Jo loved fruit salad, this was a great pudding option.”
Before she started her new healthy-eating plan, Jo wanted to kick start her weight-loss by following a meal-replacement plan.
Amanda says: “Once she had lost a few stone then it was time to get back on track with real food.”
BREAKFAST: Two Shredded Wheat with semi-skimmed milk
LUNCH: Big tuna salad with low-fat dressing and big fruit salad
DINNER: Salmon or Quorn with vegetables or a jacket potato with tuna and another big fruit salad

Jo says: “I’ve always been a yo-yo gym goer. But after having Zac via Caesarean section I stopped doing any activity because I was constantly exhausted.
“I’d managed to gain more than four stone — especially around my middle. I was trying to walk every day for at least an hour, but I was so worried I’d never get rid of my jelly belly.”
Fitness expert Nicki Waterman says: “Jo needed to get to the root of what was keeping her overweight.
“It’s not always easy to pinpoint why it can be difficult to lose weight, especially round the tummy, because so many factors can play a role.

“On the surface, Jo seemed to be doing plenty of exercise. However, she was probably exercising at an extremely low intensity.
“So though she was walking for an hour, her pace was slow and that minimises the number of calories you burn during each workout.
“For example, at Jo’s weight you might burn around 400 calories walking at 3.2mph. But if you walk at 4 to 4.5mph, you could burn 600 to 750 calories in the same amount of time.
“As Jo is 5ft 4in, her stride was long enough for her to walk faster and take bigger steps. If you’re not used to walking fast, you’ll need to work up to speedier paces gradually.
“Jo also needed to incorporate some new forms of cardio into her routine such as cycling, boxing, horse-riding or dancing.
“Boosting her walking intensity by incorporating intervals of climbing, walk-springing and jogging could trigger better results, too.”
Jo says: “I’m really conscious about my belly because I have quite a bit of loose skin from when I had my baby.
“I just want some tips on how I can get over this and find outfits that will flatter me, though everyone else thinks I’m mad to worry about it.
“I just need advice on how to improve and update my wardrobe because I feel I’ve become stuck in a bit of a rut.”
Fashion expert Erica was quick to point out Jo had nothing to worry about. She says: “What tummy? Then again, everyone has their own body issues.
“We started off by giving Jo a bit of support — literally, by showing her the best tummy-flattening pants out there.
“In our opinion, the best are Trinny & Susannah’s tummy-flattener thongs, which are brilliant underneath trousers and really pull in any bulges. Then we showed her how to update her look and show off her shape at the same time.
“This colour block dress from Matalan is bang on the trend but did little to excite Jo on the hanger. Once she got it on, though, and we teamed it with these fab shoes from Dune, Jo had to admit that the shape was perfect on her.
“As she’s so small, it showed off her legs and kept the look chic and streamlined. And for a cool look, we showed Jo how to work this season’s high-waisted trousers. The fact they are so wide makes them perfect for wider hips. And this pair from Matalan look ultra-expensive, despite being only £18.
“Worn with a cool waistcoat and plain vest top, this is the perfect outfit for either work or a day out.”
Main Picture: Dress £14, Matalan; shoes, £85, Dune
Above: Wide-leg trousers, £18, Matalan; white top, £5, M&S; waistcoat, £8, Primark; silver cuff, £8, Topshop; silver platforms, £69, Office
Joanna's verdict
Jo says: “I am no longer at risk of diabetes and Zac sees me eating great, healthy food.”
Her husband Mem, 33, who runs the bar they own, is happy too. Jo says: “He loves getting the old me back and I feel full of life again. It’s fantastic.”
Here are Jo’s top dieting tips:
Drink loads of water. It fills you up and hydrates your skin so you look better. It also makes you feel alive and full of vitality.
Become aware of your danger foods. Mine are anything sugary and high carbohydrate. I can’t say: “I’ll just have one” so I avoid them.
Try on clothes regularly while you are dieting. It gives you the incentive to keep going and weight loss can show in your clothes even when the scales don’t register it.
I did the Cambridge Diet for the first six weeks to get my weight loss going. It was hard to do but made my initial loss pretty rapid, which I wanted.

Find out how solicitor Joanna Vuranel went from a size 20 to a size 8 on the Fit Squad Diet

Cutting back on salt will improve your health and can help you drop up to 3lbs in a week

Get WEEK FOUR of Lorraine Kelly's delicious, healthy meal plans when you join the Fit Squad Diet

Lorraine Kelly is seeing fabulous results since starting the Fit Squad Diet five weeks ago



Strong women stay slim
found you lol , well done girl !!!!!
Fantastic Jo - you have worked so hard and been so committed. You deserve every happiness and you are an inspiration


Staff member
Congratulations Jo!!!

Well done!

Love Mini xxx


Just about on the wagon!
You are fantastic! What an inspiration!!!

page 3 tomorrow???????? well done x


Cambridge Diet Counsellor
Jo...you look gorgeous, a real inspiration! Well done :D :D


Back On CD.......
Well Done Hun, You Look STUNNING.. :D:D

What was your day like with the Sun, U enjoy yourself???

You look truly wonderful JJJ, so thrilled for you, simply stunning!


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