Here’s a A Q & A session with Natalie Cassidy, where she discusses slimming, exercise, being a mum and Thisilyn Artichoke.
Q1 What made you decide to start a fitness and diet regime?
For me, jobs have always spurred me on to look at my health and fitness regime, but for the last year, I’ve been very comfortable in my own skin and thought I would like to drop a dress size, which wasn’t a lot of pressure and good to do before Christmas when we do overindulge!
Q2 What were your weight loss goals when you started? What did you want to achieve?
My goal before I started my 6 week plan was to drop a dress size from a comfortable 12, sometimes 14, to a size 10, where you can walk into any shop and it fits. There’s nothing quite like being able to pick up the size you like being and knowing it will fit you. I also wanted more than anything else to get back into fitness again, but in a sensible, healthy way. That’s where Life Change Fitness and Rob Horslen come in, as I have found in him the perfect trainer and great person to keep me on track with sensible, maintainable goals.
Q3 So how did you do it? What changes did you make to your diet?
I did it by saying to myself, ‘Ok, this about a life change. It was making my brain and body work together and get fit properly, with the help of my personal trainer, good healthy food and a supplement called Thisilyn Artichoke to help beat the bloat, I lost weight, gained muscle and feel great!
Q4 What was your diet secret?
A few secrets really: 1) You need to be committed and need to want to lose weight and stay slim and toned 2) Eat well but fresh and organic 3) Taking Thisilyn Artichoke which has helped me to ‘beat the bloat’ so my stomach looks much flatter.
Q5 Is there any food you’d call your weakness or guilty pleasure?
My weakness when it comes food would have to be cheese and crackers with a glass of red wine. Especially around this time of year when there’s nothing better than to sit with friends and gossip and nibble away!
Q6 What do you eat on an average day?
Breakfast – Small bowl of Special K with raspberries/blueberries or slices of melon & boiled egg
Lunch – Small chicken salad in pitta bread with no dressing
Snack – Banana with four oatcakes and few slices of chicken
Dinner – Baked salmon with steamed vegetables or chicken breast with big salad consisting of chickpeas, avocado tomato and greenery and low fat dressing. If I’m missing bread and potatoes I have a couple of crisp breads for crunch!
Q7 Do you have any intolerances/diet restrictions?
I have no restrictions or intolerances in my diet, although I used to feel extremely bloated when I eat carbs or late at night. Sometimes after a heavy meal, I could look like I was pregnant again, which isn’t great with the photographers ready to get that awful, unflattering shot as I step out of the restaurant. That is where the Thisilyn Artichoke has really helped me out. I feel like I can eat now and not feel like my stomach is going to bloat straight out. I feel it has helped my weight loss journey and now I feel confident to wear my little black dress with pride!
Q8 Which 5 food items do you always stock up on at the supermarket?
1) Berries – I never go without blueberries/raspberries which are great for snacks when everyone else are sat eating sweets
2) Tea bags – I couldn’t live without tea which is my love
3) Salmon – so easy to wrap in tinfoil and bake and my daughter Eliza adores it too!
4) Fresh vegetables – I always have lots of different varieties from turnips to butternut squash to asparagus and find when you have it there’s no excuse.
5) Crispbreads – If I need something to crunch on to steer clear of the crisps
Q9 Do you find time to eat healthily and prepare your own food?
It’s not easy being a working mum and home maker as well as preparing healthy food for me, but I try. Adam loves his meat, potatoes and two vegetables type meal, so where I can, I will make same dinner, but leave of the carbs and sauces from my plate.
Q10 Do you exercise? If so, how often and what do you do?
I exercise as much as I can each week, depending on life. It’s all about balance. If I’m not too busy with work commitments, I will train harder. This will involve a run, some boxing, interval training and a swim, spread throughout the week, along with a session or two with Rob. Personal trainers are great, but you have to be able to work hard on your own to feel the benefits. I walk a lot too, having Eliza in the pram and briskly walking to the shops and back are always great ways of incorporating exercise into everyday life. I skip a lot too, it’s really hard but very good for you. I’d say on average I exercise between 3 – 5 hours a week depending on my time.
Q11 Do you have any exercise tips for people wanting to lose weight?
You have to enjoy what you do. Find something you like, be it squash with a friend, a power walk with the baby, a class and once you find different things, mix them up so you don’t get bored.
Don’t stress about weight. Use a tape measure and go by how your clothes fit rather than weighing yourself all the time
Q12 What’s the best piece of health advice anyone’s ever given you?
The best piece of advice that I have learnt from myself is that fitness should be a way of life, not a blitz of yo-yoing.
Q13 You have previously come under criticism from the press for being both too big and too skinny, how has this affected you?
I have been every shape and size from a big 16 to a 6. I’ve struggled with my weight over the years. The criticism from the press has been hard, but also self inflicted as i have chosen to lose/gain weight at a abnormal rate sometimes. I feel very strong now, and feel that I will keep within a healthy weight range for me and prove everyone wrong.
Q14 What is your favourite part of your body? And what’s your least favourite bit?
My favourite body parts are my arms and hands, that’s down to good hard weight training to get rid of flabby arms.
Q15 Do you have a tip for body confidence?
My tip is to stand tall and smile. If you hold your head high wherever you are, people will see you and feel the confidence and that turns into attractiveness.
Q16 Do you think women worry too much about their bodies?
Of course we do! Everyone worries about their appearance far too much, but it’s the world we live in. I think it’s healthy to want to look nice, but it can get too much if you’re not careful!
Q17 How did you feel about your body while pregnant/after you had your daughters and how do you feel about your body now since losing weight? I loved every minute of being pregnant. As I said, my saggy tummy isn’t great, but I have the most beautiful little girl I could ever wish for so my body never matters when I think of her. She has made me realise what life is really about and by not obsessing over my shape and size, I have finally evened out. Losing weight and dropping a dress size this time round has been for all the right reasons, the right way!
Q18 Are you pleased you had surgery and how has that affected your confidence?
I had my Breast enhancement when I was 21 and couldn’t have wished for a better result. I was very pear shaped, having the augmentation meant I was evened out into more of an hour glass figure. It made me feel much more confident.
Q19 Do you think your drinking habits have changed over the past few years and how?
My drinking habits have certainly changed over the past few years. When I was 22, 23, I would be out most nights boozing it up and feeling fine the next day. Since having Eliza and realising that there was someone to put before myself, drinking has become very unimportant in my life. I still enjoy a drink, but I’d say I drink at home very rarely nowadays, even more rarely when I’m on a fitness kick. I still love a girl’s night out if only very occasionally.
Q20 Would you say your hangovers have become worse as you have got older?
Hangovers were things I didn’t understand before I had Eliza. Since having her, whenever I do go out drinking, I end up feeling so bad the following morning and vow never to drink again. I do, of course! I feel so tired after a night of drinking. I feel my body trying to cope, but it can’t!
Q21 What is your favourite drink on a night out?
My favourite drink on a night out would have to be a really good wine. I love going for a really nice meal and letting a Sommelier choose different wines for each course, but boy that gives you a hangover the next day! if I’m on a ladies night, I always go for a Bellini, an old classic which never gets boring!
Q22 Do you mix your drinks?
I have to say if I’m out for a drink, I drink whatever I feel like. Say we start at a restaurant, it’ll be gin and tonics followed by wine, then a desert wine, then onto the cocktails, which can end up rather messy!
Q23 How do you cope with your hangovers – do you have a hangover cure?
Since having Eliza, I don’t cope well with hangovers. I used to find them so bad, I really thought I’d never drink again. Finding Thisilyn Milk Thistle has been a godsend. It is a herbal remedy which is said to help support your liver and really has helped to get me through that morning after feeling, the heavy night before. What’s more, I now take it even if I’m just having a couple to ensure I don’t get that heavy head the next day.
Q24 What are your favourite non-alcoholic drinks? How often do you drink them?
My favourite non-alcoholic drinks are the Marks and Spencer’s range. They do such a fab selection of tasty, non-alcoholic treats from White Grape Fizz to Raspberry and Pear Presse, Soft Ginger Brew and a gorgeous range of ice teas. We must not forget my most favourite beverage in the world…TEA!
Q25 Do you have any tips and tricks for de-stressing after a busy day or difficult period?
When life is very stressful or busy, I say get out and train hard in the gym for an hour. I never thought I’d say that but it works wonders for me. Also, an old favourite, the hot bath, BBC Radio 6, a Jo Malone candle and then relax!
Q26 Do you find it hard, finding a balance between work, family and relationships?
I see myself as a busy working mum and partner. Anyone that knows me says I should sit down a bit more, or watch the TV, but I always have so much to do. If I’m not cooking, I’m washing or ironing, if Eliza is around I’ll be playing and spending quality time with her. Work is very sporadic for me, which is how I like it. I’m so lucky that i have time to be at home as the mother and housewife figure and go out and work.
Q27 What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?
It’s nice to be important, it’s more important to be nice.
Q28 What three things do you like to do on Saturdays?
Have breakfast as a family unit with no rushing around by Adam and I for work
See some family for a coffee and gossip
Go to work Saturday evening for a rest! (Health Lottery Channel 5 – buy a ticket!)
Q29 How did your career as an actress get started? What was your first role?
My career as an actress began when I was 8. I was picked from my primary school to be in the Beggers opera by John Gay at the Barbican. I fell in love with acting and haven’t looked back since.
Q30 What or who is your biggest inspiration in life?
My mum and dad for having me, nurturing me and keeping my feet firmly on the floor. I lost my mum ten years ago, so my wonderful daddy has been a constant rock in my life.
Q31 If you weren’t in this career, is there anything else that you would like to try?
I would love to be a primary school teacher or a writer. I love children and find it joyful to watch learning first hand.
Q32 Have you got any more acting roles in the pipeline?
I certainly have.. Not telling you yet!!
Q33 What is in your medicine cabinet?
My medicine cabinet has mainly kid’s Calpol and Nurofen. For me, medicines include herbal products mostly, like my Thisilyn Artichoke, as well as natural bath oils. I’m a sucker for lotion and potions!
Q34 Are there any products you couldn’t live without?
I couldn’t live without Thisilyn Milk Thistle, after a big night out, or my Jo Malone scents and gels, she’s a goddess!
Q35 What’s the best tip you’ve been given about being a successful parent?
I haven’t really followed any tips from anyone about parenting, I believe we all parent in a different way. I just feel each parent should enjoy their child as much as possible.
Q36 What book would you recommend and why?
I would recommend The Understudy by David Nicholls, it’s very funny and close to the bone about a jobbing actor. Also I recommend The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho, just magical and life changing.
Q37 Name three tracks on your iPod
Music is such a passion of mine, 3 tracks is near impossible but here we go:
I Hate Seagulls – Kate Nash
Where do you go to my lovely? Peter Sarstedt
Free – Ultra Nate
Q38 How would you describe yourself in three words?
Caring, house-proud and ambitious
Q39 What are you 5 favourite beauty buys:
1. Touche Eclat 2. Chanel Vita Lumiere foundation 3. Vaseline 4. Creme de la mer eye gel 5. Chantecaille Mascara
Being a mum
Q40 What has been your toughest moment as a parent?
Every day is a challenge when you become a parent. You want perfect days, with no tears
or moods. You want to sleep. You want them to eat. It’s tough. But there are so many
amazing moments in each day too, that good overrides the bad tenfold.
Q41 How has being a mum changed you? In every way. I’m no longer selfish. I do everything for her and my little family, as well as treating life as a very special gift. I look forward to every day, and don’t take myself at all seriously.
Q42 What skills have you developed since becoming a mum? I have learnt to survive with very little sleep. I have learnt to cook a meal, mop the floor and do jump squats simultaneously. Obviously I haven’t, but I feel that I don’t ever stop multi-tasking. I have also learnt to be more patient and I had none at all before Eliza.
Q43 What do you most miss about her pre-baby days? I miss being able to browse in a bookshop for hours and hours, whenever I wanted
Q44 Have your priorities changed now you are a mum of two? Of course they have! And I only have one. To be fresh and awake in the mornings are a must when you have a toddler. It isn’t fair on the child if you’re rough as an old boot.
Q45 Would you have any more children? I want to have at least 3, if I won the lottery I’d have 5 though!