Small steps lead to big gains, just ask Nadia

Undated Handout Photo of Nadia Sawalha. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins1. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins1.
Undated Handout Photo of Nadia Sawalha. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins1. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins1.

Former EastEnder and Loose Women panellist Nadia Sawalha is a mum of two and a healthy cooking guru after she won Celebrity Masterchef and lost two stone. As she teams up with SPLENDA for their Small Steps Campaign, she discusses body image and how to keep up the dieting morale.

WHAT’S THE SPLENDA SMALL STEPS CAMPAIGN ALL ABOUT?

I don’t like diet as a word because it suggests you will come off a diet lifestyle and that means you will go back to the same old habits. I’m all for the small swaps, like [swapping sugar for] Splenda. I eat pork instead of steak, brown rice instead of white and, by making small swaps, you will lose weight, you don’t need to starve yourself. I have a portion control plate too; quarter of protein, quarter of carbs and the other half is veg.

HOW HAS YOUR ATTITUDE TO YOUR BODY IMAGE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

Every year that’s gone on, I’ve learnt so much and realised that actually I’ve got a great figure. When I was in my teens, twenties and early thirties it was all about what I’m not and what I couldn’t be and I think a lot of women use that reason not to go for things they want to do in life. They say, ‘If only I was a size eight, or a few stone lighter, I would do this or that...’ I have a great, healthy body, a curvy figure. The kids love to cuddle on it, and men don’t seem averse to it either.

YOU LOST TWO STONE A FEW YEARS AGO. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO LOSE WEIGHT?

Don’t put up a hideous fat photo of yourself or one of a celebrity you’ll never be. Put up one of yourself where you looked really good and you will get back to it. You are the best person to motivate yourself. I’m not supposed to be skinny. I will now be a size 12 for the rest of my life and I’m really happy with that.

BEFORE HAVING YOUR KIDS, YOU TALKED ABOUT BEING AN EARTH MOTHER TYPE. DO YOU THINK YOU IDEALISED IT?

Yes I did and you find a few days after having a baby when you still can’t stand up or walk without holding everything together, it does shock you. I found breastfeeding incredibly hard. I was definitely going to do it and [thought] anyone who didn’t was awful and then of course, wham, there I was trying to do it and I found it so hard. I cried and cried and was in pain, it was just awful. In fact, I didn’t even lose weight breastfeeding like you’re supposed to because I was living on milky drinks and sugar to keep me going. I piled on the weight because I was so stressed and worried.

WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER COSMETIC SURGERY?

Every single week I say, ‘If only I could have my neck lifted and dragged back and stuck with gaffer tape’. I think one day I probably will have a face lift.

lFor more information about SPLENDA Sugar Alternative and the Small Steps campaign with Nadia Sawalha, visit www.splenda.co.uk