WHEN Francesca Ives overheard catty girls insulting her weight at a friend’s birthday it was too much for her to stomach.
Having just lost her job, the callous comment led to her spending her £4000 redundancy payout on a gruelling four-week boot camp where she lost more than a pound a day.
But curvy Francesca, 24, from Murrayfield, is now fighting off the fellas after eating and exercising her way to 12st 12lb.
She ditched her takeaway habit and has embarked on a new healthy eating programme in a bid to continue to shed the pounds.
“I used to eat a lot of fast food, I think I got the habit from university,” she said.
“I would eat Indians, Chinese, I’d have McDonald’s at lunch time, everything that was bad for you.
“ I rarely cooked for myself and would just get takeaways. I have never been totally lacking confidence but I think I overcompensated for the fact that I was unhappy in myself.
“But when I was subjected to some horrible remarks I thought “that’s it, I’ve had enough”. I knew I’d have to throw myself into something so I started looking on the internet for boot camps.”
Weighing more than 15 stone, Francesca wanted to enrol somewhere that would force her to exercise and take away the temptation of junk food. She found the No.1 Boot Camp, based in Norfolk, and signed up to a 28-day programme of hard exercise backed up with nutritional food.
The camp, which is popular with celebrities including Celebrity Big Brother’s Chantelle Houghton, who shed 14lb, promises clients will lose a pound a day.
“It was very hard, mentally and physically. It was very mind over matter as your body can do far more than you think.
“I’d be getting up at 6am and going for a two-mile jog before breakfast and then it was boxercise and circuit training before lunch and similar in the afternoon.
“You’d need an ice bath at the end of every day. A memorable part was sharing one with Mark Wright from The Only Way is Essex. I think he was just there to tone up, he didn’t last long.”
She lost 11lb in the first week and continued her weight loss the following week but was devastated when she put on half a pound in week three.
The unexplained blip was short-lived and Francesca was relieved to learn she had lost 30lb in 28 days, breaking her target.
She is keeping up the healthy lifestyle by walking to her new job as a property manager at Rettie and takes a home-made healthy lunch to avoid temptation.
Emma Conroy, of Edinburgh Nutrition, said a good boot camp would monitor an individual health and fitness and push them within safe boundaries. And she said that for many, weight loss and health improvements were easy to achieve with a few adjustments to lifestyle – but that some people cannot do it alone.
She said: “At a time when drastic, expensive surgical interventions are increasingly promoted as the answer to obesity, it’s great to see some attention given to an inspiring, empowering example of success like Francesca’s.
“How many people now suffering adverse consequences of gastric surgery could be physically and mentally thriving had they attended a boot camp instead of going under the knife?”
Francesca said she planned to return to camp for a weekend to get to her ideal dress size. “I would recommend it to anyone and will definitely go back. I‘m still not at my goal as I really want to get to a size 10 or 12 but it’s much more about toning now.”
Weight: Francesca was nearly 15 stone.
Diet: Regular Indians, Chinese and fast food meals left her bloated. and with little energy.
Job: Was property consultant, made redundant.
Weight: A lighter 12st 12lb.
Diet: Healthy cereal, homemade vegetable soup, fresh chicken salads.
Job: Works at Rettie & Co.
Exercise: A 45- minute walk to work and back, exercise class 2-3 times a week and 5k Saturday runs in Cramond.